My partner Albert wrote a post about email today. In it he says:
I just don’t see a way anymore of answering everything that hits my inbox and theoretically should get an answer.
It's a familiar tale and I sympathize with Albert. I have been struggling with this issue for years. I've blogged endlessly about it and you all have been very helpful with suggestions. I moved to gmail which has helped. I use labels and shortcuts which help. I use priority inbox which helps. But everytime I make a productivity gain, the volume eventually overwhelms me.
One of our portfolio CEOs told me an entrepreneur complained to him that "fred wilson never returns my emails." That hurts to hear but I suspect it is more true that I want to admit.
Like Albert, I am sorry. I wish I could return every email I get. But I can't and I don't. In the past I've suggested everyone out there just keep trying. I'm beginning to wonder if that is good advice.
I've thought about getting an email assistant. But I am worried that putting more capacity into the system will simply create more volume that will eventually overwhelm the increased capacity.
So I've decided to adopt other approaches to be more available to entrepreneurs, like office hours, meetups, more skype chats, more blogging, more events. I'm not sure if that is better either, but it's where I'm headed at the moment in my never ending effort to solve this problem.