“I love my devices and services, and I love being connected to the global hive mind. I am neither a Luddite nor a hermit, but I am more aware of the price we pay: lack of depth, reduced accuracy, lower quality, impatience, selfishness, and mental exhaustion, to name but a few. In choosing to digitally enhance, hyperconnect, and constantly share our lives, we risk not living them…”
“There were movies, there were food trucks, there were friends, there was mulled wine. There was brief consideration of a mulled-wine food truck. Above all, there was an expansion of sensations and ideas.”
After you die, the letters you keep in a box in the closet will no longer be private. But the letters in your email account are a different story. They might remain private, or they might remain forever inaccessible—it all depends on the whims of the email provider in question…
Bringing people together is awesome. But like most social interactions there are unwritten rules. First Round Capital partner and ‘superconnector’ Chris Falic spells them out here.
Like any good scholar (or leader), Fralic lays out the over-arching goals for email intros: they should help everyone involved, they should make it easy for them tohelp you, and they should build your relationships and reputation along the way. Important stuff, right?
Here are some of his tips:
Always ask “May I?”: Fralic says to first ask permission from the parties involved before you fire off that connecter message. Why? “This makes it a choice for the recipient and doesn’t create an obligation,” he says.
Be personal, not lazy: If you don’t know these people well, then at least do a bit of good-natured Google-stalking before you pelt them with generalities and requests. While in the days of handwritten letters it might have come with the inky territory, you should make sure your recipients know that you are writing for them, not some generalized nonperson.
Tell them why they care: In journalism we call it a nut graf—the paragraph that’s the heart of the story. The reason that you care. An email will be (or should be) shorter than an article, but you still need a few sentences for why your reader cares and what’s in it for them.
Respond tactfully: Give the other person some room to breathe, Fralic says. If you’re being introduced via email, don’t inundate them with another message two minutes later. It gets a little overwhelming.
Close that loop: If someone’s taken the time to introduce you to a contact of theirs, the least you can do is keep your karma clean and let them know what came of the connection.
Copy and paste the entire email to a word document and file it there for safekeeping. Word docs are designed to be saved and stored but emails are not. There is an emotional attachment to every email in your inbox so get it out of sight so that it’s out of mind.
2. The Offline Attack
Nothing is more emotionally defeating than spending 2 hours in your inbox and having a net gain of only 2 emails completed because responses were coming in as fast as you were sending them out… Instead, work “offline” every single time you answer emails.
3. The Extended Out of Office
When you go out of town for vacation or a work conference, turn your “out of office responder” for one day longer than you’re actually gone. The magic—which I discovered by accident—is in adding one extra day to it so that you legitimately have a catch-up day to get your feet back under you when you return.
4. Multiple Strings
Unfortunately a large number of people lack what should be required prudence in using the “reply all” button. Therefore it’s incredible the number of emails in your inbox that will be “strings.” In other words, you’ll have 10 emails that are all the same conversation. …Quickly glance at your email list for emails with the same subject line and delete the oldest ones, leaving the newer ones for you to read later. This is a quick way to process several emails all at once.
5. Email Date Night
Create the same protected time every so often with your inbox. It’s astounding how much you can get accomplished in four uninterrupted hours of office time.
6. Scan and Flip
When you sit down to finally catch up on email, work with a 2-minute drill. Per #2 above you should be offline and start to build momentum by first tackling any emails that can be processed and completed in less than two minutes. If it will take longer than two minutes to deal with then skip it for now and just continue scanning—get through the easy ones first. Then once you get to the bottom of your inbox (you will likely have made a large dent) “flip” your emails so that the oldest are at the top and the newest are at the bottom. By eliminating the base of emails at your inbox you’ll find that it’s less likely to pile up on top of itself.
7. Learn the “Let Go”
Truly one of the most substantial growth areas for me in managing my office work was learning to let go of my own deep-rooted desire to share my opinion on everything. And even fewer items yet will be handled significantly different in our organization solely because of my one additional insight. People are generally capable of making good decisions and often things end up being better than they would’ve been had I stuck my nose in it. This mental shift in your attitude will show up pragmatically in your inbox by you learning to enjoy the delete button—without needing to share a response.
Last year, in his father’s memory, Reagan’s son Michael launched an email service to end the monopoly of left-wing Internet companies. His charge was simple: “Every time you use your e-mail from companies like Google, AOL, Yahoo, Hotmail, Apple and others, you are helping liberals,” Reagan wrote at the time. “These companies are, and will continue, to be huge supporters financially and with technology of those that are hurting our country.” For only a small $39.95 annual fee, conservatives around the country could purchase an @Reagan.com email address, and rest easy knowing their money was going only toward conservative causes.
Skeptical? Check this out:
And Reagan has a lot to sell potential investors on. Apart from the roughly 4,000 accounts already sold—at an astonishing $40 each—the rate of growth is increasing, Reagan boasts. “There was like 5 [sold] yesterday,” he says. “It’s like three or four or five a day—they just keep on trickling in.” Reagan also describes to me the innovative features of Reagan.com: “We got the calendar. We got everything going for it. Our search engine—I think we have the only search engine that gives you both [results from] the left and the right.”
We’re wondering if anyone’s registered firstname.lastname@example.org for the obvious trolling opportunity.