Monday, December 19, 2011

Reducing the eMail Firehose

In a recent discussion with a colleague he recommended that I read the book “The Hamster Revolution: How to Manage Your Email Before It Manages You”. This book has a humorous approach to explaining what we all know but are not able to do much about: eMail is wasting not hours but weeks of each of our productivity time per year. The techniques in this book seem logical so I am going to use them in 2012.

As such you will see the following changes in the email you receive from me:
  • the subject line will be formatted in this way:
    ACTION: descriptive subject (-eom)
    • ACTION will be one of:
      • ACTION
      • INFO
      • REQUEST
      • CONFIRMED – I have completed the subject action
      • DELIVERY – this email contains a response to a request you have made
    • The subject will be descriptive of the contents and never blank
    • If “-eom” is included then the complete intelligence of the email is in the subject and you don’t need to open the email. Just read the subject line.
  • The body will normally have 4 sections (this may take a while to work into):
    • Brief greeting
    • ACTION: context, specific action, purpose and response time
    • BACKGROUND: clear, concise and relevant background.
    • CLOSE: next steps, signature block
Additionally, I’ll reduce the number of “thank you” email. If sent it will more than likely be just a brief note with “-eom” in the subject line. If your email does not require a reply then it’s more likely that there won’t be a reply at all ... thereby reducing the amount of email you receive. Know that I appreciate each value-added email received.

This information will be revised as the new method develops.  Check back here if you have any questions  OR send me a “REQUEST:”  email.   

We would all benefit if each of us applied some simple email structure to this important communication tool. 
I highly recommend that you read “The Hamster Revolution …” and consider it for your own email process. 

Saturday, March 26, 2011

AT&T's buyout of T-Mobile

I have mixed feelings about the recent announcement AT&T's acquisition of T-Mobile USA. On one hand it will consolidate the GSM network under one provider. The combined physical network will provide better coverage than either company has alone. That is a good thing.

However, the loss of competition in the USA GSM world will allow AT&T to have a monopoly in that space. GSM is unique in that the chip can be moved from phone to phone giving some flexibility in changing devices.

Back in the mid 60s it wasn't possible to own your own phone and connect it to the phone network but rather paid a monthly cost to Bell for them.. that over time changed to where the customers owned phones. That gave rise to many different types of low cost phones. In the early 70s the Bell System was split up into 7 Regional companies. Ironically, at least 4 of those are now part of AT&T!! Seems that the old Bell System is rebuilding itself.

IF the FCC and FTC allow this merger to go through then they should put some controls in place to ensure that the combined company acts in the best interest of the consumer. They have not proven that so far (recent example is the DSL to U-Verse conversion where at their discretion they will change the service and payment plans).

If the merger is NOT allowed to be completed then that opens the door for Google to then acquire T-Mobile USA and become a carrier. This could prove interesting as Google does operate in the interest of the consumer.

Only time will tell....