Even as a massive fan of email (and as aware as I am that this is just a good joke), I feel like meetings should be documents. Living, editable (at least comment-on-able) documents that are easy to find.
Clever to use a
Fwd: subject line for a (probably?) marketing emails. Dan Frommer called it “messy” marketing in his last email.
A forwarded email chain follows, quoted-message lines and everything: “Ok, let’s do this,” Michael Preysman writes. Do what? Scrolling down, a voyeuristic puzzle unfolds, leading back to an original Everlane promotional email from 2014.
What is this?
It took me a second to figure out what was going on, and that I hadn’t actually been forwarded actual internal emails from a company CEO. That’s been particularly top of mind lately, after The Verge published “leaked” embarrassing Slack screenshots from Away, the luggage startup, which went viral and created a PR crisis.
Probably only works once.
I picked up an office trinket in honor of Pepe.
I saw these two things back to back and thought it was funny.
- 98 Voices is a plea from thought leaders who are sick of their emails going into Gmail’s promo inbox, so they built an app that manipulates your Gmail filters to make sure their emails go into your main inbox. So far, Google isn’t allowing it.
- mute.vc is a little app to help you mute a bunch of platitude-spewing VC people on Twitter.
One, a bunch of thought leaders not wanting to be silenced, the other, intential silencing of thought leaders.
I’m not particularly bothered by either problem, I just enjoy a good contrast.
In the past I’d get an email from some company, and I’d be like who are they again? I can’t remember what they do. I wonder if I have an account there or something.
If I can’t recognize immediately who this company is and why I’m getting this email: unsubscribe.
Email is such a personal space and tending to it so important, there is no way a company that I don’t even recognize is worth all that parsing time.
How much of your inbox activity is initiated by you? What percentage of your email threads started with an email you wrote?
And how much is spent replying to others?
And finally, how often are you bccing or being bcced?
I hope we can agree that the percentage for the third category should be close to zero.
But for the first two, the simplest way to change your day is to dramatically alter the percentage of the first two categories so that you’re adding way more value for others. In whatever way works best.
WE ALL NEED TO GET GOOD AT EMAIL
I’m right there. Are you my family or paying me? Let’s use the phone! The phone is great, very direct, plenty of nuance, grabs my attention strongly.
But for those same reasons I hate the phone for anyone outside that small circle. I won’t even order a pizza with the phone anymore. The disconnect is that my job is things like writing and coding, not so much sales or brainstorming (things that are great over audio). Phone calls steal that time away from me in a big way. Extra disconnect comes in because it’s some other peoples job to get me on the phone, because it’s so effective. So, we (metaphorically) fight.
This is a whole cultural thing:
With the pushback being:
Yeah but you wouldn’t have read it.
Fair enough. Moreso than email though, any given meeting probably could and should have been documented in a written fashion. I’m a big fan of Notion. There is a ton of clarity with writing, and helps foster remote cultures. But emails are a little transient. It’s great they can be searched, but it’s not the same as a real organized document with the main goal of information sharing and same-page-getting.
I’ve done it a few times, like this and this, but I almost thing I should do it more. There is something appealing at looking at how other people actually write and respond to emails, outside our own direct circle.
Here’s one between Jeremy Keith and Manuel Matuzovic that led to a little conference happening. That’s my central thesis behind this site. Email leads to big good things happening.