The Reply `cc` Tango

Say you cc someone on an email. We’ve talked about the expectations there before, but that was largely from setting expectations as a sender. As a receiver, who then replies, what are those expectations?

In my experience, it’s random whether the people replying include the cc’d people or not. I’m not entirely sure if this is a technical thing. For example, different mail clients might choose to include the cc’d recipient in the most prominent reply-button functionality. It could be a brain thing too. For example, someone thinking “the sender here cc’d some people, but that was a one-time thing, I’m not going to reply to all of them because it is nobody’s intention to continue hitting those people’s inboxes”.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t usually jive with what I’m hoping. When I cc someone on an email response, I’m hoping the next response also includes those cc’d people. If that doesn’t happen, I gotta do something awkward like this:

I’m including Quinn and Jake on this email response again. I looped them in last time because they’ll need this information too. Let’s keep them on this email thread for now.

To prevent that, it might be work doing this pre-emptively:

I’ve included Quinn and Jake on this email. Please reply to all of us for now as they’ll need to be looped in on this information as well.

The clarity probably doesn’t hurt there. Also might be worth just adding them as additional recipients rather than literally using the cc function.

Decays over time?

Automattic makes a thing called P2 which is the way communication happens there. I think they use Slack and other things too, so I’m not 100% sure how it all works. Maybe it’s more “official” than those other things? More like public forums than chat.

There is a quote from Matt Mullenweg on the homepage of it:

That’s from a 2014 article. But the P2 homepage looks to be a pretty fresh design, so I imagine he largely feels the same way.

I’m curious what “decays over time” means there. Like an individual email becomes less useful as it ages? Maybe? Or the overall global concept of email is degrading? Seems less likely. I would think he means an email thread can be hot-and-important on a given day, and then fade into obscurity, only to be found via search, later on.

“Empowering the sender” is even more interesting. Is that true? It feels kinda true at first though. If I’m the one asking things of people, I’m the one getting those asks. But I’d also think the power dynamics at play here exist well outside email itself. Probably a lesson there in being the person sending email rather than the hamster on the reply wheel.

“Empowering the group” sorta feels like marketing, but I take the point. Perhaps just the existence of this platform, if used, becomes a place of equal voices?

Ultimately I don’t think having some forums for your group, whatever form they take, is terribly at odds with email. I don’t think email’s strength is typically from within tightly formed groups.

Email is your electronic memory

Bron Gondwana, CEO at Fastmail on the Fastmail blog in 2018:

The email in your mailbox is your copy of what was said, and nobody else can change it or make it go away. The fact that the content of an email can’t be edited is one of the best things about POP3 and IMAP email standards. I admit it annoyed me when I first ran into it – why can’t you just fix up a message in place – but the immutability is the real strength of email. You can safely forget the detail of something that you read in an email, knowing that when you go back to look at it, the information will be exactly the same.

If you’re going to put an image in your signature footer, at least make sure the dimensions are set correctly so they don’t squish your face.

I literally despise SEO garbage people, so allow me virtually punch Sujith here:

Sujith, you and other SEO garbage people fill my inbox every day with your requests to “review your article” or “write high-quality content for me”, when what you are actually doing it literally actively harming the internet with spam garbage and forcing smart people to invent ways to circumvent your pollution.

So here you go: haha, you look like a dork.

Dissecting a Sales Email

I received this email a few days ago:

I know who Gary Vaynerchuk is. He’s the CRUSHING IT! guy. He’s done more stuff in his life and made more money than I will on either account. Along the way, he’s gained some huge fans. He’s also said some stuff that is was incredibly cringe-worthy and, to me, things that came across as wildly disingenuous. He makes me cringe in the same way I cringe at Corey Feldman. It’s Trump-like in that how did you get so far but are seemingly so dim?

I feel like I would get it more if, for example, I knew him in real life and he was a real charmer. Or if I had some email correspondences with him and I could feel his business savvy oozing out of it. But based on the email above, well, I just don’t get it.

WARNING: I’m doing a bit of bridge-burning here I suppose. By way of general advice, this is a bad idea. But I’m rather fed-up with bad email so I’m calling it out.

Allow me to translate bit by bit.

It’s Gary Vaynerchuk and I’m interested in your brand.

I have literally no idea who I’m emailing. I used to tell people that personally interacting with people was part of the secret of my success, but now I just send out impersonal mass-emails.

We at VaynerMedia.com do $125 million dollars in annual revenue managing digital marketing campaigns for some of the biggest companies in the world. 

I’m flexing. I want you to be super impressed and feel honored even to be reading this email. My Lamborghini is red and my penis 12 inches soft.

We’re expanding our services by offering search engine optimization or backlinks for entrepreneurs and corporations which has had huge social media success. 

I’m hoping you don’t read this too closely. I just said a bunch of buzzwords and you should bask in them. Please don’t think about the fact that SEO is… for… websites, and not social media? And that backlinks is a part of SEO not an “or” thing.

I’d like to ask to pay you by sending an email out to promote it at $5 per every contact email address you can send out. 

I’m trying to get you on the hook for something here, but don’t try to understand what it is. I’m sort of making it sound like I’ll pay you $5 for every single email address on a newsletter mailing list, but there is no way I’m actually going to do that. Like I know some people have multi-million user emails lists, and there is no way in hell I’m cutting a 10 million dollar check for a 2 million user email. Even though it sorta sounds like I will, just wait for this next paragraph that makes more clear that I will not.

I’d be sharing the campaign results with my 15 million plus social media followers which means your business gets exposure across all of my social media channels which means more exposure for you. 

Exposure! You little dingleberries listen to me. Cough up your email lists, I’m gonna put those emails in my motherfucking CRM and email them myself. Then I’m gonna make a fake chart about how good it did and email you that back and tell you that you did dun good, child.


😂

OK sorry sorry—I got off the rails there. I literally have no idea what he’s trying to do here. I’m not going to find out, because I don’t like any part of what I read. But I don’t actually know if it’s actually nefarious, just accidental poor communication, or what. Although I would say buying email addresses of people and sending them shit they didn’t opt into is nefarious territory. Which actually makes some sense. That’s certainly one path to getting rich.

End of Mailplane?

I was a little sad to get this email:

I’m a Gmail user and I really like the Mailplane tabbed interface for doing email on different accounts. There are alternatives (like Shift), but it sounds like all the apps similar to Mailplane will be affected by Google’s changes which they say are trying to fight man-in-the-middle attacks.

But I’m not that sad. I’ll find a new workflow. It won’t make me worse at email.

On the Gmail mobile apps, I can be logged in to multiple accounts in one app and then use the “All Inboxes” feature to see them all at once. I’d like to see that come to the web client (I’m not missing something, right? You can’t do that on the web?).

I’m also thinking Firefox Multi-Account Containers might be a fairly easy way to replicate it. I just have doubts it will be as nice as a dedicated app just for this. For example, I really like how I can just close the whole damn Mailplane window and it doesn’t unload the apps, it just hides the window, and I can bring it back to the exact state it was in just be clicking the icon in the dock. Browsers don’t really work like that. I’d have to more explicitly Command-H hide. Oh well, just some new muscle memory to build.

The One Way

You know what’s a weird email archetype? The one way.

It’s when you get an email from someone that very much wants to tell you something. Maybe they read something you wrote. They saw something you made. They cross paths with some part of your life. They type it all up and send it to you. You get it, read it, and respond to it, but then never hear back ever again. That email they sent was a one-off one-way anomaly.

One-ways feel weird because email is this highly established two-way street where communication flows easily both ways. But in this case, it behaves more as they sent you a letter with 123 black hole avenue as a return address.

If that’s the intention of the email, the respectful thing is to say so.

No need to reply to this email. I probably won't see/read the reply if you do, because of [insert legitimate reason here]. 

Unfortunately.io

Get well-written AI-generated rejection emails that reduce your writing time by 95% so you can focus on the things you love.

🔗


Hi (Founder name),

Thanks for waiting! We had the chance to sync up internally after our conversation.

I personally find what you're building awesome, but unfortunately, we're struggling to gain conviction as a result of some of the metrics, but it's great to see a significant improvement since launching.

This is the only thing that matters for you to be a multi-billion $$ business.

Best of luck with the round. Here’s a Medium article we wrote that might be helpful.

(Your name)