Convenimus ergo es

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Conference Call Anatomy™

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Büchstein’s famous maxim, loosely translated as “we are in a meeting, therefore you exist”,[1] which he formulated to disprove Descartes’ central thesis in the Discourse on the Method and thus establish the non-existence of an omnipotent benevolent god, for no such deity could exist in a universe where all-hands conference calls are an inevitability.

If there is such a thing in our world as a business meeting[2] (“and,” said Büchstein, “take it from me, there most definitely is”) — then it is not, as Descartes contended, self-evidently true that the only certain thing in the universe is the incorporeal “I” as a thinking thing (“res cogitans”).

“Just as one cannot clap one-handed, one cannot have a meeting by oneself, however appealing that idea must on cursory examination seem. I must exist — no quibble with that — but so, in the context of a steering committee, operational failure remediation work stream, weekly line manager one-to-one or conference call must you.”[3]

Büchstein went on to consider the nature of a “meetee”: “You” must also exist, as a talking thing (“res verbositans”), and so must the project manager as an action-assigning thing (“res bossitans”)

Büchstein’s convenimus principle was an important plank in the JC’s subsequent formulation of the first law of worker entropy:

The JC’s first law of worker entropy (also known as the “meeting paradox”):

(i) The probability of a meeting starting on time can never be 100%;
(ii) As the number of scheduled participants increases, that probability tends to zero.
(iii) The more participants there are the more retarded the starting time (and content) of the meeting will be.

This is true of any meeting containing more than one person. (A single-person meeting, of course, ought not, in a sensible mind, count, at least since Otto Büchstein asserted its incoherence through his maxim “convenimus ergo es”).

See also


  1. The JC is, as ever, grateful for the intervention of his secret Latin advisor in formulating this maxim.
  2. Translators note: Modern translations of this work render “business meeting” as all-hands conference call
  3. Büchstein, Discourse on Intercourse, §3,425.