Gmail Meter

I tried out a new service this past week called Gmail Meter. It's a free analytics service that tells you stuff about how you use Gmail. It is brought to market by the folks at ShuttleCloud, which does archive and data migration for cloud services. It's a way for them to get to know folks who might become ShuttleCloud customers in the future.

I learned a few things. I get 6,470 legit emails a month from 1293 different senders. I send/reply to 2,676 emails to 777 people. So the send/receive ratio across my inbox is 41% which is higher than I thought. I feel a tad better. But there are also at least 516 people who sent me an email last month that did not hear back from me. That makes me feel a bit worse.

The single highest send/reply ratio in my world is the Gotham Gal who sent me 133 emails of which I replied to 100, for a 75% return rate. I've got work to to do there. Sorry Jo. My partners Albert, Andy, Brad, and John get between a 50% and 70% reply rate. Sorry USV folks. The one cohort that I send more mail to than I get replies from is my three kids. I get a worse response rate from them than all of you get from me. Not sure how I feel about that.

This chart will not surprise anyone here at AVC but it does show that the one time I reply to more email than I get is the 5am to 7am time frame.

Daily traffic

Here are a few more interesting charts:

More gmail meter charts
The first chart shows that I get to most of my email within 24 hours but there is certainly a meaningful percentage that takes longer.

The second chart shows that I send a ton of short emails. 80% of my email is less than 30 words. Whereas greater than 50% of the emails I get are longer than 100 words.

I've asked the Gmail Meter folks to add a chart showing reply ratio on emails less than 30 words versus emails greater than 100 words. When I get that chart I will publish it here because I think that is single best secret to getting a reply from me.

Anyway, I found this data valuable. Maybe you will to. You can try it out at Gmail Meter.

#email hacks

Comments (Archived):

  1. Anne Libby

    I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about how blunt email is, as a tool. In my work, I see people try to manage employee relationships by email. As a “salesperson” for my own services, I see how sending people another thing for their to-do list is burdensome: it puts two “open loops” into the world, in GTD terms.I don’t have a solution. Though I’m picking up the phone far more frequently, striving to send emails of 8 sentences or less, and with only one topic/question. This has helped, but it’s not the answer.I’m developing the thought/opinion that most organizations should have an email process owner.Does anyone know of an organization who has this sort of role?

    1. fredwilson

      NopeBut I love your 8 sentences or less rule

      1. William Mougayar

        I thought it should be even shorter down to 3 bullets.

        1. Anne Libby

          Yes, even better! Particularly if it requests/requires action.

        1. William Mougayar

          3 is better than 5.less is more

      2. LE

        “I love your 8 sentences”One of the mistakes that customers seem to consistently make when sending “help” emails is the following:a) Giving to little info. Literally “it doesn’t work for me”. (What doesn’t work? What is your domain name? Who are you?)b) Giving to much info. An email that is 15 paragraphs long and goes into way to much detail is almost certainly going to be answered after all the shorter emails are taken care of (we’re not a bank, we don’t have to waste time on the little old lady while other customers wait in line.) (Hey, what ever happened to @sigmaalgebra ?)c) Going into multiple issues on the same email. Even though this would seem to make sense it actually slows things down. The person answering may wait to be able to address all the issues. If you break the questions down into discrete emails (that are thereby shorter) you are more likely to get a quick answer to some of your questions.d) Not pointing out ambiguous info clearly. If you are correcting info and the new info is very similar to the old info, make a point of pointing that out very clearly.e) Don’t send an email and then 5 minutes later place a phone call about the same thing (this actually happens fairly frequently.)f) Not including prior emails (for context) in any new email. Assuming we have some grand scheme for tracking a previous thing that was said. Always include the thread. You’d be surprised how many emails we get a week or two after an initial email that say something like “here is the info you told me to provide you” and don’t say anything else. That doesn’t make a quick response possible. We either need to write back or do some research.

        1. Wavelengths

          I was on a committee for a struggling new foundation — all of us in communication by phone and email, and located all over the country — when a new person joined. Early on, I sensed he had an agenda to take over the whole thing.He used virtually everything you mention to deliberately disrupt communication: multiple emails answering different questions with no prior emails for context. To track what he was doing/saying, it was essential to look at three or four of his emails simultaneously. With six other members with very busy schedules, of course no one had time to keep on top of what he was up to. Furthermore, he would copy everyone on some emails, and different groups on others, responding to issues differently.Turned out he had falsified credentials to join the team, but by the time all that came out the foundation was in flames.I’m skeptical of anyone who doesn’t follow your rules of email etiquette.

        2. Anne Libby

          This is what I meant when I called email a blunt tool — email doesn’t sound like a good way to receive help requests.It’s hard to imagine a world where customers will adhere to our email rules to get help. And if the first help option offered is a set of check-boxes and choices, most of us will go along.(Amazon’s “help” UI is ugly, and the UX feels mechanical — until I get a good answer the same day. Then all is forgiven.)

    2. jacobstiglitz

      I think the folks at task-management software companies would suggest that email is the wrong vehicle for these type of emails. I remember reading the Asana blog about this (… and thinking that if you could really get a whole organization on board (which is no easy task), it would in fact be much better.External emails are of course a different story… Brevity is still essential, but so is a certain measure of politeness/small talk to maintain the ‘relationship’.

      1. Aaron Klein

        We use asana to do just that. It isn’t an email replacement in general, but it offloads all project related email in a clean and simple way. Revolutionary if you can get people to visit the asana inbox regularly.

        1. Dale Allyn

          Asana + IRC with at least one channel for social and light-hearted exchanges can be great as well. The IRC channels should be defined carefully to avoid too much cross-talk, yet visible to all (as solutions to problems can come from anywhere).

          1. Aaron Klein

            We’ve been using hipchat for the chat piece. Simple, lightweight and cross platform. The mobile apps leave a little to be desired but I think they’ll improve.

          2. Dale Allyn

            I’ll look at it. I’m used to Adium and Colloquy, but not used Hipchat. Adium mobile is pretty usable. Haven’t used the Colloquy iOS variant. Mobile can be important, so that might hurt Hipchat (for me), but I like to learn about the options.

      2. Anne Libby

        And I would agree. My guess is that there’s no silver bullet tool that solves this, though. It’s probably a combination of several tools and some process change. That’s why I’m thinking about a role for a thoughtful human role — one with comms and UX elements, as well as a bit of operations — to own an enterprise’s email function.Right now, most of us are just surrendering to “the way it is.” But it’s unsustainable, in terms of efficiency/effectiveness, as well as factoring in the human stress factor. In the current paradigm, for most of us, in box zero won’t ever happen.Editing to add this link to a clip of Lucy and Ethel at the chocolate factory……

  2. William Mougayar

    This post could have been re-titled “The Art of Short Emails”.Short emails is the secret and should be the norm. I learned that from you when I was first shocked to receive very short emails from you, but realized that it forces you to be clear and sharp in your thinking.Short emails elicit action more than longer ones.

    1. takingpitches

      This is something I have to learn!

      1. Abdallah Al-Hakim

        I completely agree with @wmoug:disqus – short emails that cut straight to the point are the best. I don’t even write Hi…….. or Best/regards (this rule is for people that I email frequently). I can still do better though!!

        1. jacobstiglitz

          kthxbye =)

          1. Wavelengths

            Drop the e on the end. Keep the smile. 🙂

          2. Abdallah Al-Hakim

            I find it amusing when my nieces and nephews use ‘k’ instead of ‘ok’ when text messaging 🙂 Your suggestion is even more brief!

          3. William Mougayar

            so verbose! this is shorter: KTBS

          4. Wavelengths

            While I was driving, my bi-lingual son was texting a reply for me on my phone to someone we were about to meet. The last text had given us all we needed to find our rendezvous, so I told him to text: K.He texted “Que?”

          5. William Mougayar


    2. Aaron Klein

      Yes. This is becoming an etiquette because of smartphones and I love it.I’ve been thinking of adding “sent from my iPhone” to my Mac mail signature. 😉

      1. William Mougayar

        How about inserting a stat as a footer like:”80% of emails I respond to are under 30 words”

        1. Aaron Klein

          Maybe. Not sure it would have the same effect with the target audience. 😉

  3. takingpitches

    Super-random observation about email.How many people have consolidated down to one email address or one personal and one work?I have four email addresses that i use actively (one work and three personal), and through the course of the last 25 years have had numerous ones – think compuserve, aol, schools, different jobs, and different providers. My wife never quite knows what email address to email me at, and thinks this is all atypical.Perhaps the start of signing up for and maintaining multiple accounts was the various free Internet services – think hotmail, yahoo, and the forgotten and, and having to deal with small amounts of storage – 3 MBs (remember that!). Then there was the “commerce and list account” to deal with e-savers, purchases, and associated spam (before decent spam filters), gaming sign-on offers ($50 of free vitamins to sign up!), staking out your name on various services, and reasons I have perhaps forgotten.Before my iPhone, where everything lands in a “common inbox”, I surely spent too much extra time due to the multiple accounts, but it made sense having the multiple accounts because the inboxes serve as my archive and different folks now email me at different accounts.It is also interesting to think of our ability and behavior in signing up for email accounts in connection with the “real names”/single identity debate.Pioneer email providers like hotmail could have taken the position that we should all sign up for email accounts with our real names, but they didn’t.

    1. fredwilson

      I have four that all go into the same inboxThey are three work related addresses and one gmail addreas

    2. Aaron Klein

      I have two – work and personal – and use the mail apps on my phone, iPad and Mac to see a unified inbox of both.Still surprised at how many people have three or four and don’t consolidate in some way. That would drive me nuts.

      1. takingpitches

        It’s a combination of different things.Different people from different parts and/or different periods of my life have different emails.I need a separate one for my “day job” to carefully segregate that from personal and startup emails.I also like that one of the addresses takes most of my emails tied to different website accounts, e.g. linkedin, Facebook, amazon, etc.i have just gotten used to it; and with mail apps that unify them for you, it’s not that big a deal anymore operationally.

        1. Aaron Klein

          No I meant I can’t believe the people who don’t use email clients to unify like you are doing. They still check four accounts.

          1. takingpitches

            Got it Aaron! 🙂

      2. Dale Allyn

        I’m with you, Aaron, on using a mail client. I like the Apple Mail client, but there are others certainly.I have a dozen email accounts associated with different projects (or preferences for separation). Separate accounts in one inbox. And I maintain rules for other folders or “mailboxes” (~15) on my Macs. Works great, especially for searches.In contrast, a good friend of mine has a yahoo! account and a gmail account and managed both separately via browser (although consolidated on his BlackBerry). I’ve recently convinced him to let Apple Mail do the lifting for him. 😉

    3. awaldstein

      One for the world, two others for companies that I respond as part of.All go into the same box.

  4. Tom Labus

    Early morning brevity!

    1. William Mougayar

      You will got a lot of replies!! Touche.

  5. Khalid

    Hi,You get 6,470 a month, waw that is huge. This is already a full time job.Now i know that the best thing to do is to write one or two sentences in the email:Hi Fred,What do you thing please about…..ByeFred it is very important for us as entrepreneurs to understand how VCs work and how they think. Thank you for sharing these information.

  6. Jorge M. Torres

    This reminds me of a Stephen Wolfram blog from earlier this year called The Personal Analytics of My Life. He’s analyzed all the e-mail he’s sent and received since 1989. The insights from what he calls “personal analytics” are pretty amazing.

  7. Abdallah Al-Hakim

    The two hours in the morning between 5-7 am are great because the twitter volume is low, the newsletters arriving in the inbox is low and usually there are no new emails. This is my favourite time to catch up.

  8. Peter Björkmarker

    A slightly different take on how you feel about the response ratios.I do consulting, charging by the hour, so I tend to equate a lot of things to value versus time spent.Let’s say you would want to respond/actively attend all email recieved. Assume you are spending one minute per email on average. That equates to some 108 hours a month of work spent on email. Assume you dedicate 200 hours / month of full productive work. Would email really be worth more than 50% of your time available for work? And a random thought. For anyone who hasn’t emailed you before. Give them a friendly automatic bounce saying that you like emails to be structured in a certain way. Max sentences, subject line starts with certain words, whatever will help you be more effective. Personally I’d rather get that than a no reply because my email was too long…

    1. LE

      “And a random thought. For anyone who hasn’t emailed you before. Give them a friendly automatic bounce saying that you like emails to be structured in a certain way.”I think one problem with that is that it makes the assumption that someone emailing “a Fred” (for lack of a better way to put it) is the one who stands to gain and not “the Fred”.In a sense the person emailing, in many cases, is the customer, the person that may very well have something that Fred wants or benefits him (or both of them). This is different then, say, emailing Tom Cruise where the probability of Tom needing something from any unknown person emailing is exceedingly small (as opposed to Ashton Kutcher who is both a celebrity and investor).Consequently sending an email with a requirement as you state would be quite a turnoff and would most definitely leave a bad taste in the potential customer’s mouth.

      1. Wavelengths

        Good point. At best, communication is mutually beneficial.

      2. Peter Björkmarker

        Right. I made the assumption that the vast majority of emails from new senders are someone wanting something from Fred. But I think it will work even if that is not the case.The current situation is that 516 people did not hear anything back (assuming they didn’t get a response the month after), not having any idea why (again assuming the issue wasn’t discussed in some other way). No benefits to anyone, missed opportunities, etc. A no reply in the email world is the worst kind of response. Does it mean “not interested”, “missed it”, “need to investigate”, “pissed off so ignoring you”, or something else?A polite story about having too many emails and needing an efficient way to manage them will reasonate with a lot of people. It also makes it a whole lot easier to be short and to the point in the reply (again saving valuable time).Most customers I meet appreciate efficient communication on email (they have similiar inbox situations to Fred’s). Setting rules of engagement early on just minimizes uncertainty and risk of misunderstandings on both sides.

  9. jason wright

    Nice tool. I don’t use Gmail, although I have an account.”So the send/receive ratio across my inbox is 41% which is higher than I thought””80% of my email is less than 30 words”Less than 30 words. I wonder what the average number of keystrokes is there?

  10. kirklove

    Interesting stats. I think I might even be batting above .500. Those are Hall of Fame numbers!Curious if your kids’ percentage is a result of choosing a different reply format (text, kik, IM, etc) rather than email?

    1. fredwilson

      Its because I use the wrong medium with them. I get a 100% response rate on sms

  11. Richard

    Sweet. Is the word count intended to be a histogram?

  12. JimHirshfield

    Two observations, hypothesis …- kids hear you; don’t ack back ’cause they know you know they got the msg. My kids sometimes just nod their heads.- a ton of your emails – hundreds per day on occasion – are comments posted here delivered as email notifications. I suspect you’re reading this in email.

    1. fredwilson

      I do

      1. Dale Allyn

        It seems that notifications from your blogs should have a dedicated email (i.e. separate) account to handle them. If you received 3 notifications per daily blog post it wouldn’t matter as much, but in the case of A VC it really skews the metrics. It would be interesting to see the metrics with all notifications excluded.

    2. EduardoF

      Gmail Meter excludes most Google automated notifications from its processing, but not Disqus. Some users want their Disqus notifications included in the stats, others don’t. Curious what Fred would prefer…

  13. awaldstein

    Emails are completely context sensitive and any writing rule that doesn’t start with that context misses I think the point. For me at least.Emails to Fred from me. Just say it.Emails to my family and friends. Impersonal and lack of care in setting some scene is always misinterpreted.Writing auto response emails that are both cute, short and informative for any of our businesses, is truly an art. I recommend that all CMS systems extend to easy editing of share pulls and auto emails as I constantly rewrite them and most systems don’t allow this.Responses to Admin or Info emails are the trickiest as they need to be friendly, specific and often they say ‘no but…” all the time.Writing is huge plus as a skill set to success in business. If you can’t communicate in the written word to some degree, this puts you at a real disadvantage for almost any role in any company.

    1. LE

      “Emails are completely context sensitive and any writing rule that doesn’t start with that context misses I think the point. For me at least.”One of the things I love about dealing with New Yorkers. (For phone calls though it’s much worse when someone starts off a call asking you how you are doing. We’ve started calls now more in a 911 fashion to set the tone instead of letting the caller set the tone.)”Writing is huge plus as a skill set to success in business.”Along with writing being able to touch type (not looking) is essential to productivity. Anyone who can’t do this should read a book, or buy software, and learn it’s not difficult.

      1. ShanaC

        by a 911 fashion set you mean?

        1. LE

          Instead of announcing the name of the company, and waiting for a reply, answer by stating the name of the company and asking quickly the pertinent bit of info that is required to process the call. [1]In our case, it all starts with the domain name. (Dialing 911 – “what is your emergency”) By asking that we eliminate (as only a start) a bunch of people who call us and aren’t even our customer (which we then try to monetize). We also are able to better lead the call in the order that is most efficient for both parties when it is one of our customers. In the case that it’s not our customer we usually ask (before telling them we aren’t who they want) their email address. Then we send them their whois and a discount coupon. Quicker, and with an upside, rather then trying to get into verbal reply over the phone. Also make it seem like there is some work involved. The time factor makes people appreciate more ironically.If we don’t handle this way we end up being dragged down a path because people tend to start telling you a story and facts that generally aren’t relevant to solving their problem or finding out the information that they need. This way we ask questions in the most relevant order based upon our experience. Eliminating having to hear things we don’t need to know. Saying simply “how can I help you” isn’t an efficient intake.[1] After all if you are the lost baggage desk at the airport, it’s easier to clear up right away that you have nothing to do with late flights, rather than listen to a traveler and try to interrupt them without appearing rude. And if you are a restaurant and you aren’t the person who handles catering you don’t want to hear an entire spiel and then have someone have to repeat themselves to the appropriate person.

          1. ShanaC

            ah, ok

    2. Mark Essel

      Right on, my email usage is heavy, but no where near Fred level. Context for me comes from the group or individual dynamic I’m emailing to or receiving from.Btw, misclicked dislike 4 times while trying to reply. Disqus needs to tune their mobile UI

  14. Aaron Klein

    Great post and I’m going to give this a try. I’m not sure the metric of % response should be taken as seriously as you do here; there are plenty of emails I get where a response is unnecessary and would just clutter the other person’s mailbox (forwards of information or the end of a back and forth conversation).In fact, I’m surprised you only let Joanne have the last word 25% of the time. I’ve been instructed to make that more like 80% myself. 😉

    1. LE

      “there are plenty of emails I get where a response is unnecessary and would just clutter the other person’s mailbox (forwards of information or the end of a back and forth conversation).”Exactly the point that I was going to make.

  15. Vlad Ciurca

    Have been using it for two minths now, great service!

  16. ErikSchwartz

    What is the percentage rate of response if you remove Gotham Gal and your partners from the set?

    1. fredwilson

      i don’t have that exact data but i sent about 600 emails to that group (joanne and my partners) in the past month so if you take those out of the total, then you are at about 2,000 emails sent. i received something like 900 emails from them so take that out of the 6,470 and you have 5,600. 2,000/5,600 is 36%

  17. sbmiller5

    Succinct emails that arrive early in the morning are the best for replies. This isn’t original thinking by me, but it sure is effective!

  18. kenberger

    Fascinating findings.I’ve been holding on to Outlook/Exchange for the longest time (for personal email– our office is on Google Apps), and 1 killer tool is Xobni and smartr. I love the integration with Outlook.But with gmail tools out now like Rapportive and gmail meter, we may have reached the point where doing email by browser is worth the tradeoff. (I’m evidently the last man standing)

    1. K_Berger

      I still like Outlook much better than in a browser (we use Google Apps with Outlook).Maybe it has something to do with having the name Ken Berger.

    2. Techman

      You are not the last man standing. I use Windows Live services all around. I use for my personal email addresses, and Windows Live Admin Center for my website’s email. My website’s email is Hotmail. So basically they are exactly the same, but with different interfaces because Hotmail has better integration with custom branding then Outlook does right now.I don’t have any plans to switch to Gmail, although I do have an account that I forward to my mail because I needed to make one when I got an Android phone.

  19. William Mougayar

    Feature Request for Gmail or any Email app:Word counter while you compose. (Twitter has it for characters)

    1. LE

      How would you use this?

      1. William Mougayar

        Just as a reminder to be mindful of it when it makes sense.

    2. matthughes

      +1 … or whatever the appropriate online nod of approval is these days.The stats on word count are really interesting.A simple tool to help people pare down the word count in their emails would be terrific.

    3. Mark Essel

      I could use grammatical review. Unless I reread what I post at least twice it’s guaranteed to contain a doozy. Same for hipchat (chat tool my team uses to coordinate throughout the day).I noticed that the group I work with (all younger than I) are far more email averse. They prefer instant messaging.

      1. William Mougayar

        True for the younger crowd. I think there’s a continuum:IM—Social—EmailAll make sense at some point.

        1. Techman

          But there is those few exceptions where teens don’t follow the crowd and still prefer to use already established technology such as email.

    4. Techman

      I’m sure some browser plugin can do it, if you use the webmail interfaces for your email service.As for desktop apps, I do know that few Linux clients already have this from reviewing many different spins of Ubuntu.

  20. HerwigK

    Email overflow is a major problem.That’s why will not only be bringing you your email data daily but we also filter your distracting emails (notifications, newsletters, and spam) away from your inbox so that only conversations between real people are left in your inbox.We are looking to launch Beta this Fall but we are happy to see that there is clear necessity for us. Thanks Fred.

  21. SamuelHavelock

    Would be interesting to map aggregate word count ratios across an aggregate cohort of power brokers to see if their communication patterns line up.

  22. timrpeterson

    6000 emails+/month, dude your life sucks

    1. ShanaC

      email bankrupcy

      1. David Clarke

        more like hyperinflation!

    2. fredwilson

      my life is far from sucking.

  23. Brad Dickason

    I’m amazed that noone has mentioned how scary the sign-up process for Gmail Meter is. In a word full of ‘Allow access to all your Facebook data” being a nice friendly blue box with your friends’ pictures and a click, Google practically threw up a huge roadblock in the way of signing up for this.The poorly designed, bright red border’d page especially made me stop what I was doing and think “Ok, this could mess up my entire mailbox… do I really want to do this?” (Of course, that could also be considered great design :P)I haven’t had a similarly jarring/uncomfortable experience on the web in quite some time.(Again, this is no fault to Gmail Meter/ShuttleCloud, I realize they have no control over this process).

    1. EduardoF

      Thanks for your feedback Brad. We’re working with Google to improve the authentication flow. We use Google Apps Script to analyze your email data and your own Google Docs/Drive account to store the metadata, so your email data doesn’t go through our servers. The Gmail Meter code is publicly available in a tutorial published by Google at….

      1. Sérgio Rebelo

        I got scared as well and I did not sign up because this all red warning made me read carefully all the operations I am allowing GmailMeter todo and I wonder why would you need to be allowed to send emails, or write access to my calendar, storage or docs?

        1. EduardoF

          We need send email permission to deliver your reports to your inbox and write access to your docs to store statistics metadata (analysis happens locally in your Google Docs account).

          1. Sérgio Rebelo

            thank you for clarification

    2. fredwilson

      yeah, google makes it hard on them

  24. Bryn Kaufman

    Fred, have you thought about using a Virtual Assistant or perhaps multiple assistants to help you respond to Emails?I get the same amount of Emails on average, and in my two businesses I have to respond to all of them because they are from clients, and if they get no response they will just go elsewhere.There is no way I can handle this myself, so I have one virtual assistant who works mybusiness hours from the Philippines who handles a good portion of the Emails, so I do not have to do anything with them but they get a response. Then I have 3 people locally who I can also send the Emails too for responses.So now I have knocked out a good portion of my Email without having to respondmyself. The ones I do respond to I try to use Quick Parts in Outlook, so my response is sometimes detailed yet it only takes me under 1 second to respond. Not sure if gmail has something like Quick Parts but I find that feature to be priceless for saving time yet responding in detail.The bottom line is all Emails that come to me get a response, not necessarily from me, but they do get a good response.

    1. fredwilson

      do you want a reply from my assistant when you email me?

      1. Bryn Kaufman

        I do realize an assistant can’t answer every Email, but I think getting a reply from an assistant would be better than no reply. I know if I emailed you about something, I would feel OK getting a helpful reply from an assistant vs. kind of the cold shoulder feel of no response.I don’t know what types of Emails you are getting, but perhaps an assistant can handle some of them. Maybe you are getting job inquires, an assistant could direct them to your Jobs page on USV, or answer questions on how that page works. Perhaps requests to speak at events, an assistant could let them know if you are even available then or what your speaking policy is. Maybe entrepreneurs are looking for an investment, an assistant could tell them how they can formally apply/introduce their company to USV.You have a ton of great information on the USV Website and your Blog, many questions might be answered just by an assistant pointing them to the right link to view the answers to their question.In my case we have tried to put the answers to all questions on our Website, so many times all the client needs is a link to the right place to get their answer.Canned responses from a feature like Quick Parts work great for these types of Emails too. Not sure about you but I get the same questions a lot. If I find myself giving the same answers a few times I setup a canned response in Quick Parts. So now they not only get a super detailed response, but it comes from me. They don’t care or need to know that to respond to them I just hit Alt-R, typed two letters, hit F3, Alt-S and I sent them a detailed response containing multiple paragraphs in 2 seconds.Now there are some Emails that an assistant or a canned response are not appropriate, such as from family and your partners, but from people who don’t know you well like myself, I would be satisfied to get a reply from your assistant or a canned response that is informative.

        1. fredwilson

          Most of them are someone wanting to pitch me on their company. I really wonder if a no thanks from an assistant is better than no reply

          1. Bryn Kaufman

            I would like to hear from the AVC community on this, but my guess is most would say a reply from an assistant would be preferred vs. no response.A smart assistant could reply by pointing them to your Our Focus page, and perhaps also to the post on that page that applies to them. As an example perhaps it is a company in China looking to pitch you. Maybe it is a situation where you would not be the lead investor. A polite no thanks and a link to… or… to give them some info on why you would not be interested would be very helpful reply from an assistant.You would need an assistant that understands the logic you use to decide if you are interested in a company, so they can use those same rules to decide what to do with that Email. In some cases it might be to send it to you for further review, but in most cases it is probably to reply with some helpful links to one of your posts.

  25. JamesHRH

    @bfeld is going to love this!

  26. Thomas Madia

    Why do they require us to give “Send Email” permission to use it? I stopped after getting a scary warning from Google.

    1. EduardoF

      Gmail Meter is coded using Google Apps Script and it is designed so that all data processing happens locally in your Google account. The script needs send email permission so that it can deliver the reports to your inbox.

    2. Techman

      Fred said that Google is hard on him. I guess you should talk to him.

  27. andyidsinga

    this is fascinating! .. similar trends with me .. although not the sheer volume by a long shot.I also saw your comment about sms & kids .. so true the medium is everything. Txt with my kids is way more interactive than emails.I think also that with wife and coworkers the response rate tends to be lower because you’ll bump into them in the hallways and important things will come up.

  28. TamiMForman

    I’m not sure you need to feel bad about the 75% return rate on emails from Gotham Gal. Is it possible (likely?) that close to 25% of the emails don’t require a reply? Stuff that she is sharing with you, or information that you need but doesn’t require acknowledgment? That would be my guess.Of course the kids are likely a whole different problem.

    1. fredwilson

      great point tami

  29. ShanaC

    Meh, you’re just reminding me that I need to desubscribe from so many lists.

  30. Matt A. Myers

    “But there are also at least 516 people who sent me an email last month that did not hear back from me.”I’m one of those. I think you’re doing a good job replying though. I’m not sure any of my emails to you have been less than 30 words.

    1. fredwilson

      i bet if you shorten them up i would reply more

      1. Matt A. Myers

        I think you’ve replied to most. 🙂 I’ll start making future ones shorter anyhow.Would be interesting to see the cohorts of how much shorter emails are to you after your post about it.. 🙂

  31. John Revay

    “My partners Albert, Andy, Brad, and John get between a 50% and 70% reply rate. Sorry USV folks.”This assumes each email you get requires a reply – that you just don’t have the time or interest in replying.I don’t always feel the need to reply to every email I get @ work. Many are informational and don’t require a reply.I sometimes reply to emails – with a “Thank you” or other type acknowledgement….but then I think to myself an I just needlessly filling up their in boxes?

    1. fredwilson

      yes, exactly

  32. reece

    i’ve been loving the Gmail monthly report that i get, but my buddies at Shuttlecloud have really nailed it with Gmail Meter

    1. fredwilson

      techstars FTW

      1. reece

        hell yeah

  33. OurielOhayon

    Been wanting something like that for a while. A few tried in the past and that was unreliable or hard to set up. thanks for the discovery

  34. Mark Essel

    How about Disqus emails, what % of your inbound are post comments? Curious how many Disqus comments are part of Shana and Will’s inbox as well.

    1. fredwilson

      it would be good to break disqus out of this analysis

    2. Techman

      Oh wow…if you are really active on some sites, and they are known for a lot of discussion, your inbox will explode the next day with Disqus emails, even earlier. If you file your email’s correctly, and you know which ones you can just delete by the timestamp, then you can deal with it easily.

    3. ShanaC

      I don’t allow disqus comments in my inbox – they’re archived, unread, in a separate tab that I just keep open by themselves. 🙂

  35. philhill

    Fred (or anyone) -Do you know of any Google App or Chrome plugin that lets you measure opens and clicks for emails sent through gmail. Gmail Meter gives high level analytics but not those at a campaign level.We have a way to create a fully formatted newsletter (using which you can you can export and send via Gmail. The thing it’s missing is analytics. We want to add reports to the campaign.thanks phil

    1. EduardoF

      Yesware does email tracking for Gmail.

      1. philhill

        thx Eduardo. I’ll check out Yesware again but from what i can remember, yesware is more geared up for a one-to-one scenario (sales person sends an email to a purchasing manager) where as newsletters are one-to-many. Got you email as well, so we can talk on the phone. thx.

  36. BudMan

    More info is always interesting. Question to everyone: Would you pay for this service? Say $5/month? $1? $20? How much is this info worth to you?

  37. Mariusz S. Cybulski

    This is actually a pretty cool tool that I’m going to play with at length. I have a feeling that Google is probably already doing something like this for their own use, and unless I’ve missed something I’m surprised that they don’t make it available to their users.

  38. Mariusz S. Cybulski

    Forgot to mention this, but for anyone who is/was familiar with Wakoopa, this is basically Wakoopa for my Gmail.For those unfamiliar with Wakoopa it was a small application that ran on a user’s PC and tracked the length of time applications or websites were used. Not what the user did, but how long they did it. It would then compile a nice graph and give many statistics on the products and how other Wakoopa users used the same products which you could compare to your use. It was, sadly, discontinued for public use a few months back.