I recently attended the WordPress Meetup Group in Seattle. At that particular meeting Scott Berkun was giving a talk about his book, “The Year Without Pants,” which chronicles his roughly 18 month stint at WordPress. Somewhere in his presentation he said something interesting:
WordPress employees don’t don’t use e-mail internally.
He pointed out that the only e-mail he utilized while at WordPress was to communicate to people outside the company. Everyone else used a combination of Instant Messaging, and phones routine work.
That got me thinking. Do we (and by that I mean me) really need e-mail at all? If I had to replace e-mail today what would I do? I mean, after all my e-mail archive can, when necessary, serve as a legal archive for contracts, promises, and agreements.
The short answer: I’m certain I can live without e-mail.
- docusign.com provides a document archive.
- dropbox.com allows me to exchange documents with anyone who I really need it.
- instant messaging for communications. They can be archived just like e-mail can.
What do you think?
Messages don’t need to be more than 140 characters long anyway- cell phones and IM systems are now integrated enough. So, here’s my farewell letter to e-mail:
September 25, 2013
I have been with you since before the dawn of the Interweb. You first let me download NASA pictures in times before the first web browser was created. I mean it was great – I could send an e-mail to NASA requesting a directory of files to download, and then send another e-mail to request a specific picture. When the picture came back I was able to save it on my computer and view it. That was cool! You gave me this first experience of it’s kind – and so willingly! I’ll never forget it.
Things have come a long way since then. E-Mail has been the backbone of my communication capability for the past 20 years. You have even helped me resolve some pretty huge debates. But what I’ve come to realize is that my affair with you has come at a cost. A very high cost.
Every telemarketer in the world seems to think they can abuse you to send irrelevant e-mails and worst of all spam. I have to constantly log into you and sift through hundreds of messages (many not-so-short) just to get what I need. Perhaps for you it’s like some kind of exotic foreplay. But often lately it makes me feel like a dirty guy.
I’ve had a wakening of sorts, and have realized that it’s best that we start to part ways. I will still need to keep you around until other people in the world catch up. Just know that for the most part my life has changed and I’m going to be putting some distance between us. Eventually we’ll grow so far apart we just won’t be an item any more.
Please don’t feel bad. I wish you the best of luck and you will always know that for some you have an important purpose on this planet. One which I am confident you will continue to find.
It’s not about you. And it’s not because of you. It’s not you.
(alright, fine – it really IS you)