There's an obvious problem with Shopify's gimmicky calculator that claims to calculate the true cost of meetings

There's an obvious problem with Shopify's gimmicky calculator that claims to calculate the true cost of meetings
The Shopify logo is pictured outside the The Well building on Spadina Ave. in Toronto.Lance McMillan/Toronto Star via Getty Images
  • There's a big problem with Shopify's calculator for the true cost of meetings.
  • Shopify's COO says the salary indicator on each meeting just reflects the average salary for the role.

Look, some meetings could be emails. We know that. And Shopify has swooped in with what it says is a solution: airing the cost of meetings to scare bosses into scheduling fewer of them.

It works on paper. If there's an hour-long meeting, everyone's hourly salary will be factored into a Google calendar invite. The sum of their salaries is presented as the cost of the meeting.

But that's also where the tool's biggest problem becomes painfully apparent. Shopify COO Kaz Nejatian told CNBC that the calendar's list of salaries is just an approximation, not an actual reflection of how much each person earns.

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"What we did was we took the average compensation for the average employee in a bunch of disciplines across the company. Engineering, design, sales, customer service, whatever that was," Nejatian told CNBC.

"And we just applied that to the people who were invited to the meeting," he added. "So the person doing the inviting, knowing how much they were costing the company, and the people who were invited, could say, 'You know what, this meeting isn't that important.'"


People with the same job title, however, can take home a different paycheck based on their job scope and skill set. So unless people are willing and comfortable with having their salaries aired, there's no way for managers and employees alike to use this tool as anything more than a rough cost estimate.

The truth is? Most people are going to hate the idea of having their payslips laid out for everyone to see.

Sure, Nejatian's point to Bloomberg that "no one at Shopify would expense a $500 dinner," but "lots and lots of people spend way more than that in meetings without ever making a decision" makes sense. And if "time is money," it should be saved, per Nejatian.

But if we can't even get a number that accurately reflects how much each meeting costs, one has to ask — what's the point of launching the thing at all, Shopify?

At least one thing's for sure: The calculator generated a flurry of positive press for Shopify on the heel of job cuts and as it enters a midlife crisis.


Nejatian did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider sent outside regular business hours.