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

Move over, meat market and, um...hello, meet market.

A two-person team made some waves 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 swipe mechanic from dating apps. It tasks users to swipe left on meetings they consider a waste of time, or right on meetings they'd like to keep around.

Cala cancels meetings only if everyone who's invited to a meeting swipes left, and that's about where its similarity to online dating ends. While Tinder is more about squandering time in modern dating's gamified hellscape, the ideal outcome of Cala is some additional "focus time," per its website.

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

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

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

"To be honest, we built it because a prominent investor at Sequoia tweeted the idea and it went viral, haha," Hargett told TechCrunch.

"Also, as exciting as AI is right now, it's exhausting," the co-creator added. "Something oddly comforting to work on boring problems with simple technology."

While Cala only requires one person to set up 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 could get awkward fast, which may be why Cala's creators recommend using the app for internal work meetings only.

Another catch: You might need to get approval to link Cala to your work calendar if your employer's IT department has restrictions in place. When I tried to give Cala access to my TechCrunch calendar, Google spat out an error citing our G Suite integration rules. With that kind of red tape, it could be easier to just directly ask your team to cool it on all those dang meetings.