Work Culture

The Forgetting Curve in Business

By Hunter McKinley

Published on Sep 22, 2023

Forgetting Curve in Business: Why Meetings Don't Always Stick

In today's fast-paced business world, meetings are an integral part of the daily routine. With over 50 million meetings taking place every day, the sheer volume of information exchanged is staggering. Yet, how much of that information do we actually retain? Enter the Forgetting Curve, a concept that might be affecting your business more than you realize.

What is the Forgetting Curve?

The Forgetting Curve, coined by Hermann Ebbinghaus, demonstrates that without reinforcement, 50% of new information is forgotten within an hour, and up to 90% by 1 week. This rapid memory loss can cause businesses to miscommunicate and miss crucial insights from meetings, leading to inefficiencies.

The Forgetting Curve - 50% of information is lost within an hour, 70% within 24 hours, and 90% within a week

The Impact on Businesses

Imagine this scenario: An executive shares a groundbreaking strategy in a meeting. Everyone nods in agreement, understanding the importance. But a week later, only half the team recalls the specifics, and by the next month, it's almost as if the meeting never happened.

This isn't just about forgetting the details. It's about the cumulative effect on business operations:

  1. Loss of Productivity: Repeated meetings to cover the same ground waste time and resources.
  2. Misalignment: Different team members might remember different parts, leading to inconsistent execution.
  3. Missed Opportunities: Forgetting crucial details from client or stakeholder meetings can result in lost deals or partnerships.

The Reliance on Notes and Memory

Traditionally, businesses have relied on handwritten notes or memory to recall meeting details. But both methods are fallible. Notes can be lost, and they often capture only a fraction of the conversation. Memory, as the Forgetting Curve shows, is unreliable.

Moreover, in tech-driven sectors where precision is paramount, relying on memory can be especially detrimental. Whether you're an engineer discussing code, a salesperson reviewing client feedback, or an executive plotting the company's next big move, accuracy matters.

Introducing Backtrack: A Solution for the Modern Age

In the era of technology, why rely solely on our brains and scribbled notes? Backtrack offers a revolutionary solution to the age-old problem of forgetting.

How does Backtrack work?

  • Like a Dashcam for Meetings: Backtrack is a Mac menubar app that can record up to 5 hours in the past. Whether your meeting is online or in-person, or even if it's a call, Backtrack ensures you never miss a beat.
  • Local Storage: Privacy is paramount. All recordings are stored locally initially. You can then choose to generate transcripts locally or upload them for sharing.
  • AI Summaries: Don't have time to go through the entire recording? Generate AI-powered summaries to get the gist in minutes.
  • Zapier Integration: This feature is a game-changer for those in sales and customer success. Imagine being on a call with a client, and by the end of it, the transcripts are not only generated but action items are also integrated into your task manager and CRM. Efficiency redefined.

Benefits for Tech Professionals:

  1. Precision: Engineers can revisit discussions about specific code or technical challenges.
  2. Accountability: Sales and customer success teams can ensure they deliver on every promise made during a call.
  3. Strategy: Founders and executives can revisit key meetings to ensure alignment and execution on company goals.


The Forgetting Curve is a reality that businesses can no longer afford to ignore. With the volume of meetings and the importance of the information exchanged, relying on memory or handwritten notes is no longer sufficient.

Backtrack offers a modern solution, ensuring that every detail, every insight, and every decision is captured and easily accessible. For tech professionals, where precision and efficiency are paramount, tools like Backtrack are not just beneficial; they're essential.

Want more?

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Tip: As always, follow your local laws to ensure compliance. It’s always a good idea to ask all participating parties if it is okay to record the conversation