Email schmemail...

Stephen D. WIlliams sdw at
Fri Sep 19 18:09:18 PDT 2003

People have cut back on time spent talking to customers, faxing 
customers, traveling to customers, and dictating letters to secretaries 
to customers.  (Most of you don't really know what secretaries were...)

That doesn't mean, necessarily, that people have cut back on actual 
effectiveness of talking to customers, fax-equivalents, traveling or 
equivalent (VTC, collaborative spaces), etc.

The thing that people seem to forget is that people have always had 
personal interruptions, need to make appointments, discuss plans, etc.  
People were Always on the phone making personal phone calls, that was 
over half the point of having your own phone in a workspace.  For a 
while, IT shops would forbid personal use of email and, of course IM, 
because of some idea of wasting company resources, but that was just 
trading the use of a very efficient, and a 
more-you-use-it-the-cheaper-it-gets resource for phone service which has 
always been a hard cash expense.  It used to be that every phone call to 
or from any commercial business cost $0.08 and there were no flat rates 
for business.  I'm sure that it's different, but it still is expensive 
comparitively, not even considering long distance.

If you studied the overhead of an average interruption of various types, 
you would find that IM interruptions are very efficient, email next, 
phone would be pretty bad, and of course in-person (lunch, meetings, 
travel) is astronomical.  There are of course differences in both people 
and task types that give different results for multitasking, task 
switching, multiple communication threads, etc.

A telecom executive that has yet to send an email message?  Yea, he's in 
touch.  If he doesn't do it, it must not be worth doing or contribute 
anything to the work effort.  At least he's not fit to judge whether it 
does or not.  At least some of those messages were work related and it's 
certainly not going to be more efficient to generate a stack of memos, 
route them via inter-office mail, and call meetings constantly.  I think 
it's safe to say that this company will not now rocket to the top of the 
market due to its new found efficiency.


Adam L Beberg wrote:

> On Friday, September 19, 2003, at 01:37  PM, Gregory Alan Bolcer wrote:
>> IT staff spends 8.9 IT hours a week per 1000
>> email users resetting passwords.
> That's stupid users, not bad IT staff.
>> With the introduction of IM, the typical user has
>> reduced email use by 12.6%, telephone use by 14.4%,
>> fax by 11.3% and travel by 13.4%.
> I agree completely. Employees have cut back on talking to customers, 
> faxing customers, and traveling to see customers to IM their friends.
> Don't try to pretend you don't know that.
> - Adam L. Beberg - beberg at
> _______________________________________________
> FoRK mailing list

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Stephen D. Williams 703-724-0118W 703-995-0407Fax 20147-4622 AIM: sdw

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