Talk to me for God’s sake


If you remember this, you're old
If you remember this, you’re old

E-mail is a great tool, it was the first killer app of the Internet, that directly demonstrated the intrinsic value of the network well before the web became useful.

Before e-mail, people that lived far away could communicate through slow traditional mail, expensive phone lines or simply travelling and meeting each other somewhere. The competitive advantage of e-mail was huge and as a consequence its adoption was fast and furious.

It was a no-brainer for any company to use it. We can save time and money with little or no effort, yippeee!

Being an e-mail salesman was the easiest job in the world, I was one.

But, hang on a second, why the hell would you use e-mail if you have to ask a question to your team mate sitting next to you?

A conversation is cheaper than e-mail, a conversation is faster than e-mail, a conversation includes much more information than e-mail, a conversation will finish there and then with a solution.

Let me try to sell my new product: Internal e-mail For Lazy Asses©

Send mail one more time
Send mail one more time

Dear co-located colleagues,

Internal e-mail For Lazy Asses© will allow you to avoid getting up your arse all day while you’re comfortably coding and watching the deep youtubes

In the likely event you suddenly lost your tongue or had your mouth welded by accident, you will still be able to communicate with your team mates and be productive!

You will be able to demonstrate you are working on something while actually not giving a shit about it, because, let’s be honest, if you did, you would go and talk to your colleague and not sit on your arse for days waiting for an answer that you haven’t got in 3 days.

You will be able to avoid troubleshooting or even bother thinking about a problem if you forward it to your full team!

You will be able to conceal your body language so that nobody will know you haven’t got a clue about what you’re talking about; when suspicion arises, you can attach old confusing and obscure threads that will implicitly demonstrate you have known the topic all along

Somebody else will eventually do your work, yippeeee!

So, are you buying it?

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One thought on “Talk to me for God’s sake

  1. An interesting speech, but I think I don’t entirely agree with your message – an email might be cheaper than just asking the team-mate sitting next to me
    – If my question is not as urgent as the task my team mate is working on, the email will wait.
    – If the answer should be shared with others, it’s cheaper to have this written in the first place.
    – If the question is leading to some action items that should not be forgotten, the email is a nice reminder.
    – If that particular team member is being constantly bombarded with questions, having them in writing enables filtering, and dealing with them in a predefined time-slot

    The context switch those questions are causing has its own price, and while usually it is indeed easier and more productive to have the question asked in person, but I don’t think this is always the case.

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