Tinder-inspired Cala dares you to swipe left on useless meetings

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Move over, meat market and, uh… hello, meet market.

A two-person team caused a bit of a stir this week with Cala, a web app they’re marketing as “Tinder for canceling meetings.”

The free service integrates with Google Calendar and borrows the tried-and-true swiping technique of dating apps. It instructs users to swipe left on meetings they consider a waste of time, or swipe right on meetings they’d like to attend.

Cala only cancels meetings if everyone invited to a meeting swipes left, and that’s about where the resemblance to online dating ends. While Tinder is more about wasting time in the gamified hellscape of modern dating, Cala’s ideal result is some extra “focus time,” according to the website.

The tool is a response to excessive meetings, which have presumably plagued office workers since the inception of cubicles. Still, the explosion of Zoom and the meeting fatigue studies that followed give us more than enough reason to hate unnecessary huddles.

A screenshot shows Cala's website, which instructs users to swipe left or right during meetings.

Former colleagues Zack Hargett and Paulius Dragunas debuted with Cala last week. The pair previously worked at Loom, a video messaging startup that won over Instagram’s co-founders months before the coronavirus lockdowns began.

“Honestly, we built it as a prominent investor at Sequoia tweeted the idea and it went viral, haha,” Hargett told AapkaDost.

“And as exciting as AI is right now, it’s exhausting,” the co-creator added. “It’s strangely comforting to work on boring problems with simple technology.”

While Cala only requires one person to create an account, it’s not a hands-off experience for other attendees. Everyone gets an email from Cala with the option to swipe left or right on meetings. This can quickly become inconvenient, which is why Cala’s makers recommend using the app only for internal work meetings.

Another caveat: You may need to get permission to link Cala to your work calendar if your employer’s IT department has restrictions. When I tried to allow Cala to access my AapkaDost calendar, Google spat out an error citing our G Suite integration rules. With that kind of red tape, it might be easier to just ask your team directly to cool it down on all those stupid meetings.

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