E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez

From the blog

Giving up on Work e-mail – Status Report on Week 8

Last week Friday I mentioned how I was going to hold off on putting together the weekly progress report blog entry on giving up e-mail (At least, work related e-mail), since I was just too excited about the actual progress made and thought about writing it over the weekend. Alas, the lovely weather we have been having over here lately had other plans for me, and in the end, I skipped it. Till today, since, here I am at it again, commenting on what it was like last week and share with you as well some very interesting links I have bumped into so far in the last few years. It is going to be a long post, I fear, since there has been just too much stuff going on around the whole experiment. So we better get started with it.

To get things going, here is the weekly screen shot from the progress report where you can see how last week marked the second month running this particular initiative and with some really good progress!

As you can see from the above picture, last Monday was one of those days where I thought it would take the whole thing down altogether! I mean, 22 e-mails in a single day?!? Coming from a steady 5 to 8 e-mails? Things were not looking good, I thought, if Monday starts like that, but then again if you go further and check out what happened the rest of the week, you will get to find out where my excitement comes from!! Yes, indeed, the rest of the week went down tremendously. And steady! To the point where for the entire week I got the whopping number of 34 work related e-mails!! 13 less than last week, and, to date, the lowest number of e-mails I have ever received in the 11 years I have been working for IBM. Amazing stuff!!!

But it gets better, because one of the trends I have noticed from last week, is how more and more of the people I keep bumping into, or those other folks I have been connected with for a while, are starting to talk about the way they are going to get started themselves with re-purposing their processing of e-mail. Check out, for instance, this great blog post from JP Rangaswami, from Confused of Calcutta, where towards the end of it, he asks himself some really fascinating questions with lots and lots of implications:

"- What happens if I didn’t have a cc button, a bcc button, a Forward button?
– What happens if I didn’t have “attach document, attach spreadsheet, attach presentation” buttons?
– What happens if I did have “attach link, attach video, attach audio” buttons, much like Facebook?

Can you imagine that? Second item from that list is the one that resonates with me the most. I once heard from Dave Snowden that all e-mail systems should ban attachments and now that I have been two months without work related e-mail & processing those attachments, I know exactly what he meant!! It’s just a whole new experience, so I can only imagine what it would be link if the other two items that JP mentions above could be taking into play. Like I said, can you imagine that?

Another interesting link I bumped into was that one provided by one of my fellow IBM colleagues, and good friend, Mike Martine, who sent across this particular tweet in Twitter. It points out to a podcast of about 7 minutes long with Mike Rhodin (Who has now moved from GM of Lotus to General Manager of IBM North East Europe), where he is starting off saying such things as "E-mail is dead". Well, I am not really sure it actually is, but I think that all along it needs plenty of re-purposing, which is what I am trying to do myself with the internal e-mail I receive on a daily basis. Still, it is a worth while listen on what Mike really implies with that statement I mentioned above.

Another incredibly helpful and insightful blog post I bumped into last week, which has been, to date, the one that has described in the most clear way what I have been trying to achieve with my fight against work related e-mail has been coming from Jack Vinson who in Yours is bigger than mine, ha ha finishes up his short blog post with these couple of paragraphs with which I feel really identified all along:

"Email is an effective tool, but not when absolutely everything travels through email as it does today. We need to pace ourselves, and we need to work with our colleagues to set the standards.

** Yes, I know that there are many conveniences associated with the email tools we have today. But it’s time to agree that the technology has been overwhelmed with everything we try to do. Let’s move on."

Don’t miss out on the rest of Jack’s blog post, as you will be able to find some other gems that are so spot on with regards to why e-mail needs to be re-purposed. All good reasons. Really.

Finally, the last superb & timely link I bumped into last week was coming from another tweet in Twitter (Ha! Who said that Twitter doesn’t have any business value, eh?). This time around from Anol Bhattacharya who pointed me into a fantastic presentation put together by Matt Moore on the topic: Peak email presentation, which is then followed up by another wonderful blog entry by Patrick Lambe over at Green Chameleon: On Knowing Email’s Place and the Opportunity of RSS.

Both articles are just spot on in providing the means, through several hints, on how you, yourself, can start that transition away from e-mail into much more collaborative spaces from within the social computing field. It’s quite a fascinating read in both cases, since they have detailed quite nicely what are the different issues, and, much more importantly, how you can address and fix them.

Time and time again I keep being told by folks how brave I have been all along since I got started with this experiment, as well as how they would never dare to do such thing as move away from e-mail, since they didn’t know where or how to get started. Well, better than me telling you about it, since you have also been able to read it all along in these weekly progress reports, here are the two embedded Slideshare presentations that both Matt and Patrick have put together and which nicely would guide you on to a solid start!

Start which I will close off the loop on during the course of this week as I am now in a position to share with you the kind of social computing tools I am using and how I am utilising them to the best of their potential to help me fight work related e-mail. Thus stay tuned for more to come on this subject during the course of the next few days; For the time being, here you have got the slide decks:

Peak EMail by Matt Moore:

Squiki by Patrick Lambe:

I guess you can see now why I was all excited last week Friday and why I wanted to wait for a day or two, right? There you go. And today getting started with week 9 and on to a very very good pace altogether already on day one!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

0 votes


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *