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Hi, I’m Brad Feld, a managing director at the Foundry Group who lives in Boulder, Colorado. I invest in software and Internet companies around the US, run marathons and read a lot.

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More on Email Before A Day of Email

Comments (7)

If you are following along at home, a gang of us are getting together in NY today to discuss email.  Tom Evslin – one of the gang – has a blog post on his pre-meeting thoughts titled Thinking AloudI just read a pile of stuff about email in Slate including The Death of E-Mail.  Don Dodge (who I should have invited to this meeting) and I have had a fascinating exchange (pun intended) about this over the past few days.  This will undoubtedly be a interesting meeting.

  • http://advice.cio.com/blog/esther-schindler Esther Schindler

    @JohnMay: you already can categorize your mail into folders with the Mac mail client. Mostly I use it to find all messages from a particular recipient no matter what folder I dumped the message into, but it's far more powerful than that.

    Anyhow, my main reason for commenting was to exhort y'all to think about the seedy underside of "the next generation of e-mail," a.k.a. spam. Way too much technology is invested in fighting spam, on servers and clients; we struggle with it in managing our blogs, too. You can easily predict that no matter what "E-mail 2.0" you think up with social network technology, the spammers will be trying equally hard to… er, innovate is the wrong word, but I'm afraid you know just what I mean.

    Also, I worry that any replacement for e-mail will be just as hard for end users to figure out. E-mail administrators have confided all sorts of pain that they must endure in regard to teaching users (and managers!) to follow perfectly sensible rules about dealing with e-mail… starting with the easy stuff like "don't put everyone in the world in your TO header." The people who read blogs like this are inherently more technical (if not actively geeky); any solution for e-mail has to be so easy that my sister will use it (and she was my primary example for "do not attach 15 photos to your messages").

    Esther Schindler
    senior online editor, CIO.com

  • http://advice.cio.com/blog/esther-schindler Esther Schindler

    @JohnMay: you already can categorize your mail into folders with the Mac mail client. Mostly I use it to find all messages from a particular recipient no matter what folder I dumped the message into, but it's far more powerful than that.

    Anyhow, my main reason for commenting was to exhort y'all to think about the seedy underside of “the next generation of e-mail,” a.k.a. spam. Way too much technology is invested in fighting spam, on servers and clients; we struggle with it in managing our blogs, too. You can easily predict that no matter what “E-mail 2.0″ you think up with social network technology, the spammers will be trying equally hard to… er, innovate is the wrong word, but I'm afraid you know just what I mean.

    Also, I worry that any replacement for e-mail will be just as hard for end users to figure out. E-mail administrators have confided all sorts of pain that they must endure in regard to teaching users (and managers!) to follow perfectly sensible rules about dealing with e-mail… starting with the easy stuff like “don't put everyone in the world in your TO header.” The people who read blogs like this are inherently more technical (if not actively geeky); any solution for e-mail has to be so easy that my sister will use it (and she was my primary example for “do not attach 15 photos to your messages”).

    Esther Schindler
    senior online editor, CIO.com

  • http://davidduey.typepad.com David Duey

    I can't wait to read about the outcome of the meeting. You've gotten me all worked-up (in a good geeky kind of way) about email and the social graph.

  • John May

    In my past I worked for a Xerox PARC spinoff that did natural language processing. One of the apps we built internal but never external was automatic categorization of emails based on their content. Add this realm to the mix of the social network and you have the idea of auto generating topics and groups for people to become part of the network. Could be interesting.

  • Robert

    I must admit, I'm an e-mail addict.

    Radicati Research shows over 200 e-mail messages “sent or received” per corporate user per day [courtesy of Om Malik's Business 2.0 article].

    An unofficial poll on the online version of the article (+7,000 people) shows that 87% of people have little to no trouble managing e-mail. Only 11% are “snowed under”, and just 2% reported that they don't use e-mail at all.

    What's interesting is that 2% number… To me, that means e-mail isn't going anywhere soon… and most people are in fact happy with e-mail. I suspect the 11% that are having trouble are individuals who are heavy networkers with a thick Rolodex.

    http://money.cnn.com/magazines/business2/business

  • http://advice.cio.com/blog/esther-schindler Esther Schindler

    @JohnMay: you already can categorize your mail into folders with the Mac mail client. Mostly I use it to find all messages from a particular recipient no matter what folder I dumped the message into, but it's far more powerful than that.

    Anyhow, my main reason for commenting was to exhort y'all to think about the seedy underside of "the next generation of e-mail," a.k.a. spam. Way too much technology is invested in fighting spam, on servers and clients; we struggle with it in managing our blogs, too. You can easily predict that no matter what "E-mail 2.0" you think up with social network technology, the spammers will be trying equally hard to… er, innovate is the wrong word, but I'm afraid you know just what I mean.

    Also, I worry that any replacement for e-mail will be just as hard for end users to figure out. E-mail administrators have confided all sorts of pain that they must endure in regard to teaching users (and managers!) to follow perfectly sensible rules about dealing with e-mail… starting with the easy stuff like "don't put everyone in the world in your TO header." The people who read blogs like this are inherently more technical (if not actively geeky); any solution for e-mail has to be so easy that my sister will use it (and she was my primary example for "do not attach 15 photos to your messages").

    Esther Schindler
    senior online editor, CIO.com

  • Esther Schindler

    @JohnMay: you already can categorize your mail into folders with the Mac mail client. Mostly I use it to find all messages from a particular recipient no matter what folder I dumped the message into, but it's far more powerful than that.

    Anyhow, my main reason for commenting was to exhort y'all to think about the seedy underside of “the next generation of e-mail,” a.k.a. spam. Way too much technology is invested in fighting spam, on servers and clients; we struggle with it in managing our blogs, too. You can easily predict that no matter what “E-mail 2.0″ you think up with social network technology, the spammers will be trying equally hard to… er, innovate is the wrong word, but I'm afraid you know just what I mean.

    Also, I worry that any replacement for e-mail will be just as hard for end users to figure out. E-mail administrators have confided all sorts of pain that they must endure in regard to teaching users (and managers!) to follow perfectly sensible rules about dealing with e-mail… starting with the easy stuff like “don't put everyone in the world in your TO header.” The people who read blogs like this are inherently more technical (if not actively geeky); any solution for e-mail has to be so easy that my sister will use it (and she was my primary example for “do not attach 15 photos to your messages”).

    Esther Schindler
    senior online editor, CIO.com

  • Steve Bergstein

    Chad Lorenz didn't discuss the importance of the asynchronous nature of email. Teenagers are generally communicating with each other, electronically, at times when they are all likely to be available (after school, on weekends, etc.). Sometimes I use email precisely because I don't need or want an instant response – or because I don't want to burden the recipient with the implied request for an immediate response. Teenagers are more impatient than adults, so are less likely to see this as an advantage.

    Given the prevelance of email-capable cell phones, blackberrys, etc., email could become a more real-time medium than it is now but I suspect that it will always carry the implication that it's perfectly okay not to respond immediately. In fact, if you need an immediate response, it's just the wrong communications mechanism to use.

    If email is anlagous to letter-writing, as Lorenz suggested, then IMing and texting (not to mention old-fashioned phone-calling) are analagous to face-to-tace dialog and conversation.

  • Brandon Dingae

    Brad –

    I am very excited to hear what the follow up is on this topic as I neck deep in the email industry ; )

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/david_duey david_duey

    I can't wait to read about the outcome of the meeting. You've gotten me all worked-up (in a good geeky kind of way) about email and the social graph.

  • John May

    In my past I worked for a Xerox PARC spinoff that did natural language processing. One of the apps we built internal but never external was automatic categorization of emails based on their content. Add this realm to the mix of the social network and you have the idea of auto generating topics and groups for people to become part of the network. Could be interesting.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/robert960 robert960

    I must admit, I'm an e-mail addict.

    Radicati Research shows over 200 e-mail messages "sent or received" per corporate user per day [courtesy of Om Malik's Business 2.0 article].

    An unofficial poll on the online version of the article (+7,000 people) shows that 87% of people have little to no trouble managing e-mail. Only 11% are "snowed under", and just 2% reported that they don't use e-mail at all.

    What's interesting is that 2% number… To me, that means e-mail isn't going anywhere soon… and most people are in fact happy with e-mail. I suspect the 11% that are having trouble are individuals who are heavy networkers with a thick Rolodex.

    http://money.cnn.com/magazines/business2/business

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/steve_bergs2127 steve_bergs2127

    Chad Lorenz didn't discuss the importance of the asynchronous nature of email. Teenagers are generally communicating with each other, electronically, at times when they are all likely to be available (after school, on weekends, etc.). Sometimes I use email precisely because I don't need or want an instant response – or because I don't want to burden the recipient with the implied request for an immediate response. Teenagers are more impatient than adults, so are less likely to see this as an advantage.

    Given the prevelance of email-capable cell phones, blackberrys, etc., email could become a more real-time medium than it is now but I suspect that it will always carry the implication that it's perfectly okay not to respond immediately. In fact, if you need an immediate response, it's just the wrong communications mechanism to use.

    If email is anlagous to letter-writing, as Lorenz suggested, then IMing and texting (not to mention old-fashioned phone-calling) are analagous to face-to-tace dialog and conversation.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/brandon_din2185 brandon_din2185

    Brad –

    I am very excited to hear what the follow up is on this topic as I neck deep in the email industry ; )

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