Plaxo Tries Internal Unconference


A couple weeks ago I stopped by Plaxo, makers of the divisive online addressbook, and was told about a little experiment they had been trying since mid-August. Adopting the ethos of the web worker, the company is now running internal planning and product development as an unconference. Instead of littering meetings throughout the week, everybody reserves Tuesdays for meetings, and the management brings in breakfast and lunch.

They call it “Meataxo,” according to a company-wide cloying habit of using the -axo suffix on everything. As for “meat” versus “meet,” I haven’t gotten a straight answer on that.

Meataxo founder Joseph Smarr, a Plaxo senior software engineer, says it’s a good way to save the rest of the week for uninterrupted blocks of work, and to get a glimpse into what everyone else is doing. He thinks it helps Plaxo feel like it’s still a small startup.

But the experiment — assuming it’s still going — is more popular with engineers and product people than the management. “The jury’s still out,” said Todd Masonis, Plaxo founder and VP of products, explaining “most of my meetings are external.”



Glad to see that another business as adopted something I have been suggesting to my clients for a few months now. The all day meeting day is one of the most productive methods of keeping the entire week from being clogged with momentum breaking gathers to discuss something that needed to be talked abut weeks before.
I also promote the use of golf as a bi-weekly activity for a business’ complete staff where the round of golf can be used as a way for different groups to intermingle and get to know each other and then the after golf activity would be a full staff meeting or discussion of a topic that needs to be planned for or worked on by the group…I call this Business Golf.

Shannon Seery,

Hi Liz,

My guess is that it is “Meat” as in “Meatspace”. According to Wikipedia – – Meatspace is synonymous with the physical world and conceived as the opposite of cyberspace or virtual reality. The term originated in science fiction, especially cyberpunk, but it has become increasingly common in general usage, as a reference to transactions or interactions which physically occur, rather than online or electronically.

The term may be used in a derogatory manner as a conscious rejection of the connotations of the term “real life” and the implication that interactions in cyberspace are less real or important than physical interactions.

I only found this recently after clicking on the term ‘IRL’ (in real life) to see what a friend who is WAY cooler than me was talking about. :-)


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