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Archive for the “Email Tyranny” Category

Mitch Kapor, founder of Lotus, is reported to have said, “Getting information on the Internet is like taking a drink from a fire hose.”

I must admit I resent the Internet and its brilliant bastard children, social media.  I resent their time wasting omnipresence. I resent their unfocusing distraction.  I resent their inescapable intrusions. I resent their vitiation of the rich and fecund experience of a truly lived business life.  And I resent erasing 100 emails a day.  Keeping up with it all often makes me feel like a husk of myself.

But let me not descend into the emotionally satisfying, but not terribly useful, maw of a Luddite screed.  Suffice it to say that, pro or con, our manic connectivity and our cyber hyperactivity have major implications for the creative entrepreneur.  They are a grace and a damnation.  My struggle is how to get more of the former and less of the latter.

What’s a girl to do, my brothers and sisters?

I was intrigued to read one entrepreneur’s partial answer in Crains’ OnLine last month.  (Feb. 29, 2012)  Jessica Rovello, President and Co-Founder of Arkadium, a ten year old game developer states, “Email gives people a form of business attention disorder so that whatever comes into your inbox trumps anything else you’re working on.”  Her answer?  Only look at emails four times a day for 15 or 30 minutes and take one of four actions:

  1. Reply to anything needing immediate response.
  2. Forward messages that can be handled by someone else.
  3. Quickly delete irrelevant email.
  4. Postpone for future consideration when appropriate.

If you want to read more on this subject try The Shallows by Nicholas Carr or Hamlet’s Blackberry by William Powers, both published in 2011.

Alexander Graham Bell, who invented the telephone, wouldn’t have a telephone in his office. Said it was too distracting. Though I didn’t invent the Internet (Al Gore did that), I find Mr. Bell’s reaction to his own revolutionary and disruptive invention somehow comforting.

Thank you, Alexander.

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