Why are we building Kutamo?

Nov 16, 2016     By Matthew Proctor

Over the last 25 years in business, I’ve run countless meetings with staff, clients and vendors, with participants ranging from 2 people to over 30.

Typically, I’ve found that one-one-one meetings seem to be the most productive, but as the size of a meeting increases, productivity is lost.


Let’s start with how a meeting normally starts, to paint a picture before I explain.

Step 1 - The organiser schedules a meeting, and invites everyone he or she wants to attend via email.

Whilst many businesses use Outlook or Gmail, which have the option to decline a meeting or suggest a new time, most people begrudgingly accept, especially if the organiser is their manager or someone in a senior role.

Result - A productivity loss due to one or more participants not being enthused or motivated to attend, before the meeting even starts!


Step 2 – The organiser, sometimes, sends an agenda to invitees, seeking feedback.

At the risk of sounding *slightly* jaded, on the occasions I’ve personally sent out an agenda, I’ve never seen anyone suggest any changes or ask for additions.

Even less often is when a senior manager or executive sends an agenda – it is rare to ever see a response from their team.

More often than not, no agenda is sent, or at best it's just the subject of the meeting invitation.

Result - Another productivity loss, as important topics, questions or ideas may never be raised.


Step 3 – The meeting begins and people pretend to take notes

Back in the 1990’s, the organizer of the meeting would often ask someone to take notes and product a record of the meeting in the form of minutes. That someone was usually known to be diligent, so it was assumed that their notes would be thorough.

In the 2000’s, this practice seemed to wane somewhat, as laptops started becoming popular, and people started seeing meetings as a distraction. The era of “send me an email about it” had begun.

It seems that with laptops and tablets now ubiquitous and carried around by all and sundry, the expectation has fallen to those attending meetings to take notes for themselves.

There is some logic in this, as we are assuming everyone is an adult with and adult-like sense of responsibility.

In the real world, people are time-poor, and unlikely to make the effort to keep accurate notes and set themselves reminders.

Result - there are no consolidated notes or minutes anymore, and a high percentage of what was discussed and agreed upon is lost.


So what are we trying to do about it?

We, as a business society, have access to dozens of software packages, websites and tools to help run meetings more efficiently. They are all fantastic in their own right, but typically address just a single problem, or a single aspect of meetings. In fact, at Kutamo, we use many of these tools.

Let's look at some of these tools - this list is not at all comprehensive or overly accurate, it's just the tools we use every day.

Activity Tool or Software
Note Taking Microsoft OneNote, Evernote
To Do Lists Trello, WonderList, Outlook Tasks
Document Sharing Google Docs, Office 365
Audio or Video Conferencing Skype, Whatsapp, Viber, Facebook Messenger, Slack
Text Chat Slack, Skype, Facebook


How does Kutamo try to solve the problem?

Kutamo is a service that puts together the best part of all of those packages. We're not trying to re-invent the wheel, we're not trying to introduce a 'new paradigm' or any particular framework or methodology. We're just trying to simplify the process of running a meeting and generating outcomes that actually help a business and help individuals (you and I) become more efficient with our decisions and activities.

Personally I think it's easier if you try it out than look at dozens of screenshots and explanations, but to summarize what Kutamo does, here's a simple list:

  • Build an agenda with decision points (polls, surveys, etc)
  • Invite participants to a meeting
  • During the meeting, chat via IM or your preferred conferencing system
  • Share documents with remote participants, and let people mark up their changes or suggestions in real-time
  • Record the decisions made, discussions had, and outcomes agreed upon
  • When finished, all this is recorded, collated and shared with participants for final comment
  • Outcomes can then be tracked, ensuring the meeting's decisions are followed

To make life somewhat easier, Kutamo also lets you:

  • Manage teams and groups of participants (such as "sales team" or "marketing team")
  • Invite external participants - such as your clients or vendors (just imagine having a record of what your vendors promise!)
  • Enable everyone to use the software in real-time to collaborate


How can you try out Kutamo?

See the top right hand side of your browser - up there you may spot a little "Join" button - click it and follow the prompts. You can try out Kutamo for as long as you like, and it's free!

IT / Business