Pivotal Serves Breakfast Daily To Quash Programmer’s Bad Habits

Pivotal is a $2.8 billion start up enterprise software company with headquarters in San Francisco that is backed by huge names in business such as Microsoft, GE and Ford in their daily coffee meeting idea.


The CEO of Pivotal, Robert Mee has explained that there is a huge amount of thought that has been invested in the idea of morning coffee meetings, and how the meetings are held each and every day at 9.06 am on the dot. But what is behind the reason to host these meetings each day and why are other big companies following in their footsteps?

The company Pivotal discovered that when their programmers were left unsupervised and to their own devices they proved to be notoriously late risers of a morning. It became very apparent that the engineers working at Pivotal would eventually drag themselves into work somewhere between 10am – 11am each day. They would then spend time getting settled and organized for their day, fire off a few emails and then almost as soon as they had arrived they were off on their lunch break!

This regime resulted in the mornings being ineffective and far too short. It was for this reason alone that Pivotal devised a plan that meant employees had to arrive at the office at a certain time and also put in a place an incentive to ensure that they did. Formulating out of this plan was a daily 9am meeting that all employees were expected to attend, and the chances are if they were absent it would most certainly be noted. The incentive takes on the form of a generous breakfast buffet that caters for all tastes.

The 9am meeting was born. However, it soon became apparent that the employees were growing more and more anxious. If they got caught up in traffic, their bus broke down or any other type of transportation issue arose they had no flexibility. For this reason, the meeting time was moved from 9am to 9.05am. This time also proved to be problematic amongst the developers as they felt that the time was still too close to 9am and felt no later. After much deliberation the company settled on 9.06am which appeased everyone and the employees no longer felt as though they were rushing!

The standardising of time and agreeing schedules appears to have oppressed us. For some reason we all seem to place importance on the hour and half hour and all of the other times seem to be meaningless. It is easy to see why we may think in terms of hours and half hours, desk diaries are divided into half hour windows given us half hour chunks and any journey is estimated as multiples of the half an hour, even television programs start on the hour or half past. Time is just a convention and standardized time is a refinement that came about by the need to understand timetables brought into force by the early railways.

Reality has proved that making a slight change to your body clock is a good thing and can leave you feeling invigorated. By not relying on the hour or half hour concept you are immediately going to be in a better position whether on your commute to work or simply driving as so many people still rely on this concept of time.

This idea of the 9.06am breakfast meeting is being replicated by many big firms and appears to be the way forward. To find out more about this concept there is a particularly useful article that explains the 9.06am meeting.