So I have been getting a bit of flack from people about my no-email post from earlier in the week.
I want to explain my position in a little more detail.
Tools I work with other people with are:
loomio – for open collaborative decision making.
Around forty of us make decisions in an open and transparent online environment.
Trello / Asana / Basecamp
This again is an open and transparent working environment where we can all share files, updates and ideas. In a deliciously short amount of time you can see what is happening (or not happening as the case may be.) Best of all for me everything is in one place no matter what versions or if the file is in Dropbox, Google Drive or Box.
Slack all of the project tools above connect to Slack. As do developer tools and Mailchimp.
Stop! Mitchell you slacker – Mailchimp isn’t that an email tool?
I thought this was about NOT using email!
So the BEST way I have of really connecting with people and having them join an event or listen to a podcast is email. If you are a Start Up launching or working to build a community around your product THE best thing you can do is get people to give you their email address, then send them something ‘not shit’ – more on this a my Echo Blogging WorkShop here.
What I totally despise is people ‘chatting’ via email – I am sure that I have just offended at least 10 people that read this blog every year. Hands up I am a pedantic twat – but I am still amazed at people who send files as attachments via email, who need paper copies of documents.
There is a law firm that helped me out of a sticky situation a few years ago, nice guys – but the long winded way they communicate where everything is via email AND a paper copy does my head in. I am never sure if they are stupid, printing everything so they can bill me more or just covering their arse.
Anyway back to the chase here. A session I was part of this month that centered around a couple of cutting edge technologies – so cutting edge I can’t talk about them here. 34 emails in one chain and a few others in separate chains that came to around 50 emails (and I am being generous here) – my point is these 50 emails could have been one or two Trello cards.
When I am in this sort of corner I always jump back to this post of Avinash from 2010 – the link is here – the gist is this:
People at the top of companies are not dumb, the just lack imagination. How can you create the future if you can’t imagine it?
While I am having a micro rant about email here I am fully aware that there is more than one area of my life that could do with attention, being somewhere at the time I advertised for instance. If I was not checking email I’d have more time…..
But look at it like this – maybe I just can’t imagine being on time. Or more likely it is a habit I just can’t be bothered to change. (Of course that is not really the case 😉 Recently I LINK disabled a few things on my phone, like email and contacts, I have to go into the Nimble iPhone App to find numbers and email and communicate from there, not having 4000 contacts stored in my phone has speeded it up significantly and brought me closer to people because I spend more time in the Nimble CRM App. In fact I have just 10 contacts in my phone now and these are close family, the ‘Godfather’, our neighbours and the OuiShare London team – these are the only people I talk with via SMS and phone these days.
Until I did this was bilssfully unaware of how much auto-pilot I lived in. The habit of using the contacts on my phone and to automatically send emails to people or SMS when I could have sent them a message via Slack or a project tool where everyone could follow the thread.
Last of all – there is a leap to take to ‘work out loud’ and work on line in an open and transparent way, it is not the the spelling or typos I am worried about. It is people knowing how fast or slow I work, at first I found it humiliating asking for help in this kind of environment – which is dumb – really dumb. I have moved faster and learnt more in the time I have been working in Trello and Asana and collaborating openly than I ever have reading emails from managers.
I strongly think that when we connect to Trello and Asana as ‘Collaberation tools’ instead of ‘project management tools’ a much more exciting and engaging way of working together opens up. If you’d like to know more check out the Scrum site here – this is what Trello is based around.