Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Assume they know already.

Friday, June 27th, 2008

I just received an email from an old friend, with a link to If I Did It on Amazon.  He asked me, “Can you believe this guy? What will the publishers think of next?”  I wondered if my friend had been in a coma for the last week.  Had he not read the reader responses (eg. “we did it!”)??

When something happens at Yahoo; the stock drops, a disgruntled exec writes a manifesto — I get the announcement through email up to a dozen times from well wishers.

Every day our email inbox gets cluttered with two kinds of spam: commercial spam and friendly fire.  Friendly fire is when you are buried with well-meaning but highly redundant content.  Even in our family we have one netcaster who sends us dozens of emails a week – we call him Uncle Spam.

We focus on reducing spam, yet become spammers ourselves when we play towne crier and send out dozens of emails/videos/etc. every day to our mailing list (often in CC, where anyone could reply to all and start a vicious cross-post).  Most of the time, we accompany it with “thought you’d like to know” and they usually just delete it (after it finally downloads on their black berrys at the airport).

Let all try a different approach.  If it is on the homepage of Yahoo in the news box, everybody knows.  Deal?  If it isn’t a piece of strategic information (your competitor is in play), lets err on the side of silence.

In the future our best email pals, like a good blogger, will surprise us with useful insights that we haven’t already been exposed to.   Hopefully we’ll learn from them and start to give our email partners in life “good return on attention” and be part of the solution instead of the problem.   It’s good to be a maven, we just have to give people more credit.

Recommended read:  Simplicity by Bill Jensen

On the go? Answer emails with a phone call.

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

I read an article recently about a new work related illness — Black Berry Thumb.


I could see this one coming.  There are millions of people that are as obsessive compulsive as church rats when it comes to their emails.  Six or seven years ago before mobile email, you hit the F5 (function 5) button fifty times a day to check your email.  And for what?

People that carry Crackberry’s around and use them to immediately answer all comers write the worst replies, often cryptic and full of spelling and punctuation errors.  And according to this article, they end up with an injury to boot.

Don’t get me wrong, you need to know when an important message is out there (on email, voice mail, etc.).  I’m not saying to be out of touch.  What you need to do is find balance and write mobile email communications as a last resort.  You should only respond to emails that need an immediate answer when you are in transit.  The way I do this is simple;  I treat my Crack Berry as read only.  If I see an email that needs my immediate attention, I call that person on my cell.  First of all, it is way quicker, especially if the answer needs to have some sophistication (they all do).

In rare occasions (maybe 10% of the time), I can email back a word like “approved”.  But most of the time I read and respond by phone.

Try this approach out next week and give your thumbs (and other people brains) a rest.

PS– You should also respond to emails with a phone call when someone is upset (poor service, misunderstanding, etc.).  It will surprise them that 30 seconds after they hit the send button you called them to deal with it.  It will also help you communicate your intentions via your audible tone of voice.

What ever you do, don’t live like a rat in a cage on an endless thread.  How do you answer emails on the go?

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