Random Inbound Email

I was talking to a friend yesterday about how I process random inbound email and I thought I ought to share this with everyone. So here it goes.

I get a ton of unsolicited inbound email from people I don't know. If the mail is from a person, it generally gets into my priority inbox and I see it. I expect that I get between fifty and a hundred emails in my priority inbox every day that are unsolicited and from people I don't know.

I do not try to reply to all of these emails. If they are not replied to after three or four days, I archive them and get them out of my inbox.

But I do try to reply to at least ten of them every day. And on some days I reply to twenty or twenty five of them. It just depends on how much time I have for email each day.

My process for determining which of these emails I reply to is a bit random and I like it that way. I want to give every unsolicited email some chance of getting a response. But it is not totally random. Subject line matters. As does the content of the email. Brevity is better. A long email that goes on and on is a lot less likely to get a response from me. And, of course, the more relevant the email is to my life, the more likely it will get a reply. I do open a lot of email and then just archive it because it's not relevant.

I want to remain open to randomness. I believe there are great ideas and people out there who have no better way to get my attention than to spam me. So I open that kind of email and reply to it. But there is a seemingly endless supply of it out there and I can't and won't ever be able to reply to all of it.

There are many who suggest that I have an assistant or two reply for me. Or forward it to one of our analysts for a reply. My belief is that the person who sent me the email wants me to see it and getting a reply from an assistant or an analyst is not the desired outcome for them. So I don't do that and probably never will.

I hope this is useful to folks who are sending me email and expecting a reply. You may get it. You may not. That's how it is and I am OK with it.

#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. Rohan

    ‘We feel productive when we are peace. And we feel peaceful when we accept that there is a limit to what we can do in a day.’

    1. fredwilson

      who said that?

      1. Robert Holtz

        That sounds like a line from Rohan’s “Monday Learning” series.Good for you, Fred.Years ago a good friend of mine, seeing me burn the candle at both ends, gave me some sage advice that I’m sure has kept me from a nervous breakdown several times over now. He said, “Robert — You can only do what you can do. Nothing more.”Up until then it was like I never gave myself permission to set some boundaries for the sake of my own quality of life. That is not to say I don’t dig in when people are counting on me and contact is critical. But part of why I have the energy when it counts is because I don’t constantly dilute myself trying to be all things to all people all the time 24/7.You have to give yourself permission to still be a person. If we want to be happy, healthy, human beings, it falls on us to draw the line somewhere in order to protect that. It is a good life lesson.And for the record, I actually find you to be highly accessible. Thank you for that, by the way… especially in context to this post… thanks for taking my emails and DMs and always being so responsive to them whenever I’ve reached out to bug you about something. In light of this new insight you’ve shared about your process, my gratitude to you for that multiplies several times over.

        1. panterosa,

          My mother says “If you’ve done your best, angels can’t do better.”

          1. Robert Holtz

            That’s clever.

        2. Donna Brewington White

          What’s even more impressive is that he follows you on Twitter which then enables you to DM him. ;)But I can’t complain. Fred has been gracious in responding to my email. I don’t take it for granted and do so sparingly.

      2. Rohan

        Quotes somehow seem so much smarter and more profound when you put a name like Albert Einstein.. or simply say “Confucius said”In this case, however, it was me. Sorry everyone. πŸ™‚

        1. ShanaC

          why be sorry, it was a good quote

          1. LE

            I think Rohan set it up perfectly and got much more than if he had tagged his name after it. Especially since Fred asked “who baked this”? It’s like those 70’s coffee commercials where “surprise it’s tasters choice”.(That said I’m not at peace unless I’m productive. )

          2. Rohan

            Actually, there wasn’t so much thought behind it. I have a free service on my blog called “good morning” quotes wherein I send a quote every monday-friday and post on my tumblr – http://www.alearningaday.me. So, I just picked it up from my google doc with the quotes list. Once in a blue moon, I make up the quote.. and this just happened to be one of those rare occurences.

          3. Robert Holtz

            It’s a gem, Rohan… thanks for sharing it again.

          4. Rohan

            If the situation was ever reversed, I’m sure you’d do the same for me, Robert. πŸ˜‰

          5. Robert Holtz

            Absolutely! No doubt about it. πŸ™‚

        2. kidmercury

          they also seem more respectable when you put them in quotes. i am going to start doing that.”9/11 was an inside job.””interdimensional beings play a role in governing world affairs.””teleportation is real.”

          1. takingpitches

            haha – seems more mainstream already

          2. RichardF

            ha ha that made me laugh out Kid.

          3. Rohan

            Hahaha. “That’s hilarious.”

          4. Matt A. Myers

            “Now no one can get mad at you for finding it hilarious..”

        3. fredwilson

          great one. it’s a keeper

        4. Matt A. Myers

          “The moment you put something in quotations it no longer holds a distrust of bias or possible manipulation, and thus defaults to a deeper level of feeling of trust.”

          1. Donna Brewington White

            “Also, 98% of the population will be more likely to believe a quote that has a percentage in it.”

          2. awaldstein

            But–who actually quotes themselves which is the same as referring to yourself in the third person which is a bit weird πŸ˜‰

          3. Donna Brewington White

            We are the weird ones here, Arnold. Didn’t you know that?BTW, was just going to email you. Just confirmed that I’m in NYC for a few hours on the 17th — a meeting in Union Square. You around?

          4. awaldstein

            “See you if I can.”Email me…

          5. Matt A. Myers

            Not around for the meetup on the 23rd – unless I’m getting my dates wrong?

          6. Donna Brewington White

            As far as I know the AVC anniversary party on September 23 is still on. Wild horses will not keep me away. And you must be there or I will… track… you… down.#savethedate

          7. ShanaC

            oof, i forgot to put that in my calendar

          8. Donna Brewington White

            Am I the only person for whom this is the event of the year???Guess I need a life.

          9. Matt A. Myers

            My brain’s not working. I don’t know why I thought you were automatically talking about September… Oops…And I’m planning to be there! Hope it works out.. πŸ™‚

          10. fredwilson

            I don’t think in am going to do itI need to make up my mind and post about that

          11. Donna Brewington White

            Well, I for one will be disappointed, but certainly will respect your reasons.And as I hope you already know — I am very capable and happy to help however I can, as are others.

          12. William Mougayar


          13. Donna Brewington White

            That’s the spirit.

          14. Donna Brewington White

            One way or the other we NEED a meetup. But not without our bartender.#OccupyAVC

          15. ShanaC


          16. Matt A. Myers

            I’m thinking wrong month…

        5. Donna Brewington White

          Well, actually, “Rohan said” goes a long way with me.

          1. Rohan

            Awwwww. And as is often the case with these things, it’s mutual!

    2. JamesHRH

      Its a negative cycle to get into, if you do get ‘OK’ with your output limits.

      1. Rohan

        You mean negative cycle if you begin accepting there’s only so much you can do in a day?

        1. fredwilson

          it’s a balance. i don’t want to accept my limitations but i need to be aware of them

          1. Rohan

            Yup, I just wanted to understand what James meant. The issue with any of these things is you can argue either point till the end of time (many hands make light work vs too many cooks spoil the broth). I guess it depends on the context and the assumption with most folks on the thread is we could do with more “chill out” themed advice than “do more”

        2. JamesHRH

          If you get frustrated by the idea that you need to limit today’s productivity – in order to be productive again tomorrow – you lose productivity in the now and the future.These kinds of lessons remind me of many clips from a particular movie – here’s just one: http://www.youtube.com/watc

    3. William Mougayar

      Well said!!!

    4. Aaron Klein

      I think that’s so true. I used to feel stress about unanswered messages. Now I just refuse to feel that way. I answer emails from my team, customers and partners quickly.Everything else worth responding to…I get to it when I can. If that means three weeks, so be it. There’s simply a limit in how much I can process every day.

      1. karen_e


      2. Rohan

        You’ll like Kung Fu Panda 2 Aaron. The movie is all about our hero trying to find “inner peace” – the lesson being that the greatest warriors draw upon the sense of calm that comes from it.We often think it’s peace OR push your limits.We just need to replace OR with AND.(Inner peace aside, Kung Fu Panda 2 is soooooooo funny. There’s a great moment when he attacks the enemy in a bid to rescue his team. Once his team is free of their chains, they all look at him, express their joy and then ask ‘So, dragon warrior, what’s the plan?And his response is ‘Seriously, I didn’t expect to get this far in the first place.’)

        1. Aaron Klein

          My kids love that movie. πŸ™‚

    5. Matt A. Myers

      Wow! Who’s liked a comment finally shows up in a drop-down! Awesome! πŸ™‚

      1. kidmercury

        unfortunately it’s only for upvotes. i understand why downvotes are anonymous and would have done the same thing if i were them (if i had downvotes at all), though as a conoisseur of beefs and a beef manufacturing artisan, i am far more interested in seeing who downvoted.

        1. Matt A. Myers

          I would like to see downvotes, so then I could engage with people as to why – or see if / who the regulars are who I know are likely to view things differently than I … and then just not care.

    6. takingpitches

      nice! #rohansrules

  2. Julien

    I tried, but failed to grab your attention a couple times! I guess I’ll try again and work on my subject line πŸ™‚ If this works better: I’d love to get your community’s feedback on http://subtome.comIt makes following your feed in a reader as easy as following you on Twitter from your site.

    1. Fernando Gutierrez

      Love the concept. Just installed the Chrome extension and will try it for a few days.I would do a video for the homepage because the concept is not easy to get. I think you should explain that it works on top of your rss reader. Also, have you considered making it rrs-reader-independent and having your own interface? (something similar to Pocket: extension + website)

      1. Julien

        Thanks Fernando! The video is definetely a good idea, and we’ell explore that.Now though, I think it shines the most when it’s a button directly integrated on someone’s site/blog, like we do on our blog (at the end of the posts, like there.Again, thank you!

  3. Matthew Miller

    I shared your e-mail response with a few colleagues as an example of good e-mail: short and to the point. If everyone did the same we’d save a lot of time and get more done.

  4. John Revay

    “There are many who suggest that I have an assistant or two reply for me. …….. So I don’t do that and probably never will.”Agree – this is part of your brand in my opinion – there are not many A list VCs that you can am email reply to unless they know you…or have been referred by someone”My best advice to any one who wants to establish a relationship – over a blog or other medium of over time.

  5. aminTorres

    I’ve had a pretty good run with my emails to you Fred.I think, in the 95+% response rate…One thing I’ve noticed that works with you is to create some context prior to sending the email. For example, I usually write about stuff related to what is talked about here or some other topic that has been talked about before.Still, short and quick… good subject lines.I think these things have helped getting response to other more serious emails – not related to AVC topics necessarily – like setting up a quick chat or getting you to look at something.Of course, I have had 0% success rate to getting you to look at anything on an iPhone, hehe but at least I know thats not my fault πŸ˜‰

    1. fredwilson


  6. awaldstein

    Re: randomness as a strategyAs a student of the surrealists and Andre Breton, I believe in the power of haphazard occurrence completely.As a long-term business exc, I seriously believe that the call you don’t answer is always the one that is a game changer.

    1. panterosa,

      I have a stomach for deals worked out in the real estate biz, where every deal you lose is a ‘blessing’. Something better always comes along, and only what works moves ahead. So I never worry.If the call you don’t answer on your side is equivalent to the deal I am prepared to lose then yes, I will always have the advantage.

      1. Robert Holtz

        The victor in any transaction is the one who is absolutely comfortable with entirely walking away and not losing any sleep over it. Your philosophy gives you an awesome upper hand in your negotiations… but I sure you knew that already. πŸ™‚ Well done though.

        1. panterosa,

          I was trained in RE by an MBA trained in The Art Of War. When you are aligned, then you win.

          1. Robert Holtz

            Sun Tzu! It is hard to say which is more amazing about him:Was he so far ahead of his time that his ideas are still equally if not more viable, effective, and compelling even today?ORAre his insights so deeply rooted in the eternal essence of human nature that his ideas are largely immune to obsolescence?In any case, truth is truth and Art of War gets to the heart of it quickly and without pretense.

        2. LE

          I think if you are in a deal and you are able to walk away and not care then the prize for winning isn’t big enough or the price you are paying is so high that the deal doesn’t make any sense. (Or the price you are getting (if seller) is borderline and you can take it or leave it.)

    2. Robert Holtz

      Serendipity, baby! +1 You’re really talking about serendipity.I don’t actually believe there is anything in this universe that is truly random. Chaotic, yes… but not random. I think there is a threshold of nested complexity at the tipping point where precision analysis takes longer than what is reasonably practicable. So we invented the term “random” in an attempt to contain our conception of chaos into something more manageable so we could make our peace with the unforeseen.Serendipity is like riding the wave instead of avoiding it; embracing the outcome instead of fearing it. We evolve more and experience everything more fully when we welcome serendipity.

      1. awaldstein

        Nicely said!And a perfect lead in to my favorite topic around how actionable intent nudges luck in the right direction and makes you more open to catching the wave of happenstance and serendipity.Zen and the art of marketing sounds like the book that we all live, day in and day out!

        1. Robert Holtz

          +1 again. πŸ™‚ I wish I could up-vote that more than once. “Actionable intent nudges luck in the right direction.” YES!! “Happenstance” <– Great word. +5! Have a beautiful day.

          1. karen_e

            You and Arnold might both enjoy exploring “the adjacent possible.” Post from kottke.org yesterday: “how-to-invent-things-edit-your-mess”

          2. awaldstein

            Thanks Karen…

          3. Robert Holtz

            Ooh.. “the adjacent possible.” I must confess I’ve never heard the term before but I LOVE the sound of it. I love that as much as “the elusive obvious.” I would guess that sometimes the elusive obvious can be arrived to by means of acting on the adjacent possible. Or am I misunderstanding?Where can I learn more about “the adjacent possible.” You are right… i am very intrigued. πŸ™‚ If you wouldn’t mind expanding on that, I would very much like to learn more.

      2. ShanaC

        the idea that my life is raw probabilities in chaos bothers me – does it mean I have no free will?

        1. Robert Holtz

          Quite the contrary. Free will is one of the universe’s greatest sources of uncertainty.There are pathways but at all times you and everyone else have total free will. We can jump tracks, stop, let go, to a complete 180, or stay along a path.Next time you’re driving down a two-way road, ask yourself what stops someone from just driving right over the divider line into oncoming traffic. They have the free will to do so.Our reality is the amalgam of consensus. Both of nature’s predisposition caused by its interconnection, and by free will, which ultimately makes each of us a very active participant in our life experience.

      3. Donna Brewington White

        Righto, Robert. Hey, seeing you back in the comments makes me think that you may have some clear space for a reason. Time for an update?

        1. Robert Holtz

          We should sync up again in any case, Donna but, truthfully, I’m just as busy if not busier than usual… just succeeding at making a little more time available for AVC because I was missing our little family over here and don’t want to become too much of a stranger. Thanks for noticing. How are you?

          1. Donna Brewington White

            How am I? Thanks for asking. A season of unrest which probably means changes coming. I like change.Syncing up sounds great. Are you going to be in the area any time soon?

    3. ShanaC

      also the guy you didn’t treat well generally is the cause of your downfall.and +1 for a Brenton mention πŸ™‚

  7. David

    Thanks for sharing this — I tend to agree this is the right + ethical way to do things, but clearly in some sense it’s suboptimal.Have you seen or considered any systems that ask people to help you categorize their requests and/or do a little work to show their intent before contacting you? We’ve been kicking around a feature for our product that might do something like that.

  8. LIAD

    it’s like the story of the old stock trader who would pile up all the job applications he got, pick half at random and throw them in the trash.His rationale – I need the person I end up hiring to be lucky

    1. fredwilson

      that’s great

    2. Robert Holtz

      I’m gonna remember that one… great perspective. Thanks!

  9. jason wright

    the NSA’s motto?”you do random, we do the rest”

  10. Conrad Ross Schulman

    Playing the Fred-Mail game is very fun. Ive gotten many responses and also no responses. Persistence is key and its gotta be relevant!!!

  11. Johnson Cook

    Fred, love it. Thanks for sharing. In those random replies, what do you typically include? Do you offer them a meeting? Or do you provide substantive feedback on the email?And then… do you also take the meetings randomly? Trying to solve the same challenges.

  12. JamesHRH

    I think the most important aspect of your email policy is that it is public.The expectation is set.I would not want to be vetted by an assistant, given the size and nature of your firm.

  13. mattlangan

    I disagree with the assumption that getting a response from an analyst is undesired. Any reply to an unsolicited email, in my opinion, should be seen as a sign of respect and consideration.

    1. fredwilson

      we should vote on that. i wonder if you are in the minority or majority. sadly i won’t know which of those two choices the sender would want more

      1. LE

        Or forward it to one of our analysts for a reply. My belief is that the person who sent me the email wants me to see it and getting a reply from an assistant or an analyst is not the desired outcome for them.”we should vote on that”.So here is my vote “analyst yes” with commentary.People email you. Even if you aren’t interested in what they have to say today you may be interested in what they have to say in 6 months.Not getting a reply will turn people off it sounds like “if you don’t have anything of interest to me today you are not important to me”. And you may never hear from them again.Now of course people differ in the amount of thickness on their skin so this is not universally true. Many people will doggedly email even if never replied to. But not everyone.Consequently although it’s always better to get a reply from you, since that’s not possible, the next best thing is a reply from someone that (and this is really important) doesn’t scream “canned response – uh best wishes”. But seems genuine in thanking them and even perhaps having the time to have a back and forth conversation and build good will and operate on a personal level.”Fred wanted me to let you know that even though what you are doing does not currently fit in to …… (some stuff here) he wants you to keep in touch and let him know of anything else (some stuff here) and he definitely appreciates that you took the time to write that’s important to him.”I’m currently working finding some domain names for a well known “had his pay window” entrepreneur who has told me to email him anything I find that I think he might want to buy. Each time I write he writes back, thanks me, and tells me “keep doing what you are doing this isn’t of interest but I want to know everything you feel I should consider thanks again”.

      2. PhilipSugar

        I vote no.

      3. Dale Allyn

        I’ll add a reply here, Fred. Prefer analyst to no reply.If I were to email you, I’d prefer to receive a reply from you. But barring that, I’d much prefer to receive a note from an assistant or analyst. This does two things: it assures me that the email got through; and it informs me that I haven’t presented an interesting hook. To me, the non-reply can mean my note was lost in the ether, or show a lack of respect (or dismissive). Neither desirable to me.All that being said, you’ve been genuinely transparent about your process, and I believe that you regularly demonstrate respect toward others, so your process can work without being harmful or hurtful. Of course, it may also allow a little fruit to wither on the vine for you, too. πŸ˜‰

  14. Dan Goldin

    Soo… if you don’t get a response. Try try again!

    1. karen_e

      My most recent successful query to our dear leader had this subject line: “Teeny tiny super quick question for Fred.”

      1. Dan Goldin

        Haha. I’ll have to try that!

  15. benhatten

    What percentage of those random emails are pitches?

    1. fredwilson

      a lot

  16. JimHirshfield

    In sales, I send a bajillion emails a day. So I try to think about the recipient’s point of view. Yes, good subject lines encapsulate the point like a well written headline.But I also make sure that the first or second sentence state what I want. I think people are frustrated by even relatively short emails that don’t clearly state what’s wanted. And that’s because the person pitching or selling is trying to close the whole darn enchilada in one fell swoop. #failMy cold emails just try to capture their attention and thirst for more, which can be satisfied by my offer to hop on the phone for a quick call.Each communication should be no more than is necessary to achieve the next step. i.e. Email to get the call. Call to get the meeting. etc.

    1. JamesHRH

      Jim, this is great advice for less experienced founders looking to get in front of important people (the type of person who has never managed their own sales pipeline).

      1. JimHirshfield


    2. karen_e

      This is great stuff, Jim. I have been looking for just this nugget. When sales experts tout the phone as the ultimate or only tool, they seem out of touch. (People cold-email all the time nowadays.) You clarify that it’s not either/or, it’s a sequence. I’m ready for your guest post, “Email to get the call. Call to get the meeting.”

      1. JimHirshfield


    3. JLM

      .The objective of every communication must be the “call to action”.I watch a TV advertisement and constantly ask myself — what is the call to action? What do they want me to do?JLM.

      1. JimHirshfield

        Precisely. “Call now, operators are standing by”.

      2. LE

        “what is the call to action? What do they want me to do?”Many times the purpose isn’t a call to action at all. Think of those billboards at a stadium or certain newspaper advertisements.Sometimes the purpose is merely so you continue to find the brand relevant subconsciously. A brand that isn’t constantly refreshed in your brain will fade, have less halo and be less important.Out of sight out of mind applies here. Same reason a store located and visible on a main road has an edge over a store on a back street. You are constantly reminded of it. And that builds over time.Email? A good idea is to send out cheerful replies even when you don’t have to to customers after a request is made or a question is answered. The purpose solely being to legitimately get another chance to get your name in front of someone again and continue to be relevant in their mind in a tasteful way. Because it’s personal, and targeted toward something they originally needed, it is.Above is all from the “journal of things I’ve figured out” over the years.

    4. fredwilson

      that’s great

      1. JimHirshfield


    5. LE

      Just got this email from loopnet which caught my attention:”I recently left you a voicemail…I was hoping to speak with you in regards to your search for commercial property….(snip).What got me was “I recently left you a voicemail”. I don’t know if that is true or not but it got my attention. I replied to the email.

    6. Donna Brewington White

      Good advice, Jim. Really good.I send a lot of “sales” emails too — either biz dev or recruitment. This comment is helpful.

      1. JimHirshfield

        Thanks Donna.

  17. Elie Seidman

    This is wonderful. Contrary to the popular belief in the startup world that cold calling VCs won’t work, I raised my first money as a result of cold calling someone. At the time, that was one of the better options I had. We were all (or at least most of us) that person once upon a time.

  18. bfeld

    Great approach.I respond to them all. I touch the emails once – just respond immediately. I get 100+ a day – I don’t find it oppressive anymore – I just roll through them. Some of the randomness turns into really interesting stuff.I use Yesware (www.yesware.com) to help with a bunch of repetitive responses (pointing people at blog posts, books, etc.) since many of the questions / things they are asking for are similar and easy to answer with a sentence or two.

    1. Rohan

      Even though I get MUCH fewer emails, I’ve learnt a lot from the way you operate on this front Brad. No longer look at emails twice unless they require action. Thanks a lot.

      1. btrautsc

        Using Mailbox has been a life-changer for me in this regard. I have always been a big emailer (both inbound and outbound) – and Mailbox successfully forced me to change behavior, which is astonishing. Truly an amazing service.

    2. btrautsc

      this made me smile. In the VC industry, two of the most prominent and successful VCs transparently discussing their inbound communication process is incredible.Thank you both.

    3. kenberger

      have you tried http://toutapp.com ? if so, how does it compare?(they are a 500Startups company, and previous client of my group)

      1. bfeld

        I’m an investor in Yesware so I’m biased. But I like Yesware a lot better.

        1. kenberger

          that disclosure is helpful. thanks.

    4. ShanaC

      yesware is by far the best name I’ve heard for email responses

      1. kenberger

        tried Tout? please see my other comment below.

        1. ShanaC

          no, but I have heard of them before. I haven’t tried either, but I will need to be testing soon – we should talk before that

    5. fredwilson

      you own this in a way i never can

      1. bfeld

        It is one of my special talents.

        1. ObjectMethodology.com

          Marketing is another, “yesware”..ABS !!!

      2. William Mougayar

        Brad and Howard Lindzon too. Howard answers his emails faster than a speeding bullet πŸ™‚

      3. howardlindzon

        there is for sure a chinese doppleganger brad.

    6. takingpitches

      Nice to see how two engaged investors and the different approaches.Being trained in the law, disclosure is an upfront way to solve many problems. That’s what I like about Fred’s post today!

    7. William Mougayar

      You are pretty good at emailing back. As if nothing falls through the cracks.

    8. ObjectMethodology.com

      I don’t get as many emails as you but I respond to all of them. I started that after talking with you. You made it seem so easily done..I provide a well thought out respond to each one.

  19. Tracey Jackson

    I have often wondered about how many random emails you get. Many people have asked for your address and an intro and I’ve said follow the blog and comment, be smart and consistent and you will eventually get his attention. I could never allow someone to bug you thanks to me. Being someone who does not get endless requests for money, but endless unsolicited requests for my time and help in some way, I have found getting back to them either with a personal responseIf I have the time( I help 65% of those who ask) or having my assistant vet the others and get back with a polite response and thus ending the chain of communication means they don’t keep asking me.If people who you have no interest in keep bombarding you hoping they will eventually get a reply doesn’t that just add up to more emails in the end?Or in your business today’s guy with the lame idea could be tomorrow’s guy with the next Facebook?

    1. William Mougayar

      Good scenarios. I always try to leave the door open and be courteous. You never know what comes around. That person you might have ignored may end-up in a new job with a powerful position, and if you’ve burnt your bridges, then you will regret it of course.

      1. LE

        “might have ignored may end-up in a new job with a powerful position”File under “shit not taught in business school”. I’m always amazed at how many people don’t understand simple concepts like this either because they have just been given everything, are entitled, or don’t see what is in it for them right now.Or…Maybe this is just a vestige from a day in the past when things like this mattered more than they do today. After all the way it is now you can piss off or be rude to people left and right and there are new people that you can hook up with to take their place. It’s like “if the toaster breaks I will just buy another one”.For example it doesn’t matter if Fred doesn’t reply to every letter and people are turned off. There is a fresh batch of emails every day arriving. (Otoh if you are rude in your bricks and mortar business you will quickly exhaust the prospect pool and go broke..)

  20. CalebSimpson

    I know some people boast of replying to every email they get. I tried this and was successful when I first started my business, but as I have grown that has become more difficult. I feel guilty at times, but I have also seen that if the person truly wants a reply they will follow up via phone call or second email. Truly important emails won’t go unnoticed is what I have come to realize.

  21. takingpitches

    “I want to remain open to randomness. I believe there are great ideas and people out there who have no better way to get my attention than to spam me.”Serendipity is key. The notion of where new disruptive ideas come from — the margins, hobbyists, those playing with toys, etc. does suggest that this might be where you find some disruptive ideas, rather than with or through the people you know.(In that sense, the word “spam” seems derogatory although I know it is not meant that way.)

  22. William Mougayar

    “You may get it. You may not. That’s how it is and I am OK with it.”It applies to so many things in life.

  23. Bruce Warila

    Fred, out of curiosity, if you had to put these emails into buckets based upon need, what would the buckets look like (needs advice, needs capital, needs time)?

    1. fredwilson

      needs job, needs counseling, needs medication ………

      1. ObjectMethodology.com

        Awe, shit!.That’s, by far, the best post you’ve ever made.

  24. William Mougayar

    The one key lesson about Email Management is to not become a Slave to it.Easier said that done, as it takes discipline.

  25. kenberger

    I’ve got an iron-clad tip list on this subject.But i’m not going to write it here. Because any person who actually delves down into this section already knows the most important points.

  26. kirklove

    Helpful subject lines to aid your email delivery. Choose any two (but no more):PunkKnicksArctic CharWeenPark CityWest VillageCortadoBuvettePimpBowery BallroomMeloRock Shrimp PastaYou got dusted. Get over it.UniBike PathNYCParaguayOKC (James Harden also acceptable here)Dylan#haterGoogle JuiceChevreJets (or Mets, they both stink)Flaming LipsDonors ChooseSpoon (the band, not the utensil)Bonus Tips:Slurp a little (he likes that) but not too much. Whatever you do, don’t cry for Fred Wilson. πŸ˜‰

    1. karen_e

      These are Fred-specific and I love the list. In other situations try, “You are not alone.”

    2. JLM

      .Well played!JLM.

    3. awaldstein

      Jura wine

    4. andyidsinga

      hmmm, you’re missing ” i have a ONE MILLION dollar opportunity” πŸ™‚

    5. fredwilson

      what about Julius Irving? you left that one out.

      1. kirklove

        You told me you didn’t deserve it. ;p

    6. takingpitches

      Great list — pimp, punk and #hater are my go-tos for the next week πŸ™‚

    7. matthughes


    8. Dale Allyn

      Nice list. I think my choice will be: “Chevre Pimp”;)

      1. kirklove

        Suppose another use would be to figure out your AVC name. I’d have to go with “Buvette Pimp” for many reasons.

        1. Dale Allyn

          Ha. It’s obvious that “Pimp” has additional weight. πŸ˜‰

    9. jason wright


    10. Donna Brewington White

      Great list! I would submit to your list: anything ending in ssssss

      1. kirklove

        Yessssssssss, that’s a good one Donna! πŸ™‚

    11. ShanaC

      i know factually he got one that started vos mach du**I sent it, that’s why

  27. Alejandro Cosentino

    Unexpected approach but if works worth to be analyzed it. About brevity, Pascal sent a letter to a friend apologizing for not having enough time to write a short one. Brevity takes time.

  28. Dey

    Responding to some of the “spam” emails that you receive is quite noble of you taking into account the premium that is on your time. I think it is admirable in a world in which most people with your busy schedule would merely click delete, and send unsolicited emails to digital oblivion.

    1. LE

      It’s not noble it’s smart business.I get spammed about domains for sale all the time. I’ve frequently replied and have gotten the “real” email address and then have a new contact to try and sell my domains to. I once got a spammy looking email from a chinese person with broken english (spammy because I always do get spam that looks the same way from resellers as opposed to end users – the distinction is critical). He offered $1000 for a domain that was worth much more. I replied back (even thinking he didn’t have a budget after all I type fast) just the same and he replied “sure I understand ‘world prices rising!'”. That sale ended up at $40,000.Fred’s business is turning up opportunities before they are on the radar or have been referred to someone else. It makes total sense he would operate the way he does. Otherwise he can (as he has said) “hang up his cleats”.My dad just asked me last night why I work so many hours. I said because I have to do 100 things for 1 to actually work out (arbitrary figures to prove a point). Not the same as being an attorney where you can just “dial back” the amount of time and clients and have income follow predictably.FYI if you are young and getting married and in business your spouse has to understand this concept. If they were raised by people who held 9 to 5 jobs or in certain careers it will be a bit distonic to them. They won’t always understand the commitment it takes.My advice to anyone young? Be a total maniac and leave no stone unturned. Treat everything like a potential opportunity.

  29. johndodds

    I have to say I’m rather surprised that the unsplicited haven’t worked out that our connected world makes it very easy to become known to previously unreachable people and to do that before they even send their email.

  30. JLM

    .Email was invented to make it easier to communicate in real time and now it has become something entirely different. I am not quite sure what but it is something good. I like it.Having been in business long before the invention of the PC and email — but not before the invention of the telephone as one of my children likes to joke — I remember with some fondness when business was conducted more face to face. A lot of business got done on a golf course.I still love meeting with folks. Last week, Fred and I had lunch at Gramercy Tavern as I was in town for my Dad’s 95th birthday. Those face to face meetings with interesting people are still the greatest pleasure of life and business.We solved most of the world’s problems but forgot to write the solutions down. Oh well!I have met so many interesting people through AVC.com — and you AVC.com folks are the MOST interesting people in the whole world — that when I get an unsolicited email I almost always think — hmmm, this could be very interesting?JLM.

    1. fredwilson

      and you picked up the bill and paid in cash. class act!

      1. JLM

        .Trying to fly below the NSA radar on the credit cards?JLM.

        1. jason wright

          i want a bitcoin credit card

          1. JLM

            .I bet you could actually get a bitcoin DEBIT card, right?JLM.

          2. jason wright

            i’ve seen a company making and distributing bitcoin ATMs.i’m thinking a bitcoin card would need to be linked to a hard currency or a basket of hard currencies for settlement. can’t quite imagine who would be issuing such cards though at this stage.

      2. LE

        Definitely not saying this is the reason JLM paid in cash (there are other reasons to use a wad of bills I did it on my first date with my wife) but paying in cash allows you to claim an amount for a bill that is more easily fabricated to a higher amount than you can claim if it is memorialized with an actual receipt. [1] Now of course there are many variables surrounding doing something like this and the safety of using it as a method to cheat on your taxes if that is what one desires to do. Or with an expense account. I’m not mentioning this to advocate or educate in cheating but rather to point out to those out there who may have to review employee expense reports what is possible. (I once had an employee use a gas card to allow their wife to fill up the tank something I found after requesting signed receipts from the gasoline company.)[1] No you don’t need a receipt to claim something on your taxes you need a receipt if you are audited and even then if you are missing a few receipts nothing bad is going to happen.

        1. JLM

          .I know JLM. JLM is a friend of mine. JLM does not cheat on his taxes. JLM is offended by the suggestion that he would ever cheat at anything. [Not really, JLM has a very thick skin.]JLM does not “expense” lunches with friends.Freddie and JLM were solving the world’s problems and only wandered into business speak from time to time.JLM had the special cheeseburger. Freddie had fish. Freddie is a more careful eater than JLM.JLM then walked over the Brooklyn Bridge to see his daughter for dinner. Nine miles or so. Great walk.JLM.IRS & NSA please note the comment in regard to taxes. Thanks.

          1. LE

            There are many reasons why someone might choose to not expense even a 100% rock solid business lunch (meals, travel and entertainment are probably flagged by the IRS discriminate function in theory at a higher rate than other things because it’s a newbie thing to claim) [1]. For example I have customers all over and could easily and legitimately expense travel in many cases but I have never done so deciding it’s simply not worth it.That said a lunch with Fred, whether a “friend” [2] or not, no matter what you discuss (who’s recording and who’s getting deposed to prove anything?) to me clearly is expensible. Fred is a business contact, you have value to Fred’s readers. Notwithstanding the reasons why I might not (which I’ve stated) I would have no problem claiming this expense. Or to the fact that Fred can provide you with business contacts and knowledge regardless of whether he is a “client” or not.By the way I know the “IRS & NSA” is in jest but the truth is it is impossible to get the IRS onto someone without rock solid proof (insider knowledge) that they are cheating. Simply saying “my neighbor, my brother in law” etc. doesn’t cut it.[1] So put the expense under “misc” which if it in ratio should cause less problems.[2] Don’t ever remember anything stating that if you are friends with someone that has any effect on tax deductibility of MTE.

          2. JLM

            .Hey, LE, bit of “revealed truth” — JLM does not cheat on his taxes. My honor is not available that cheap.In my own view of things, I know the difference between a legitimate business expense and a social occasion.Plus I am a lazy administrator when it comes to keeping receipts.JLM.

          3. LE

            “I am a lazy administrator when it comes to keeping receipts.”I don’t do the receipt thing. Stopped years ago. I do a guesstimate and leave it at that.Many years ago I used to not have the time to figure out state sales tax that we charged customers and owed the state. So I just estimated it and paid it in. One year I decided to reconcile what I had paid vs. what I had owed. So I went through everything and found out that we had overpaid, say $12,000 (was a nice number don’t remember exactly) over the course of several years. The state said “send us what you have and we will take a look.”I made up a spreadsheet, attached a cover letter explanation, supporting documents, all “footed” (this was the 80’s), submitted it and viola about 6 mos. later I got a check for $12,000 just like that. No questions, no audit, no “ask the accountant”, nothing.It’s all in the presentation and formatting and, as I like to say “give the person what they are looking for and make it easy for them to give you what you want”. I can’t tell you the number of times this has worked for me in the past.I’m extremely honorable with people. Insurance companies, the government, large corporations probably not as honorable as you are I’m sure.

          4. William Mougayar

            Yes. The honor system is a good thing.

          5. kirklove

            JLM… just a fair warning – Fred has a way of “not being able to make it” when it’s his time to treat. #convenient

          6. JLM

            .Fred and I are off to a damn good start.He bought me, Arnold, William a fabulous dinner one night and I bought him a fish taco — well it was a damn nice piece of fish at the Gramercy Tavern and all.Hell, even nicer than a McFish sandwich.Of course, I am really indebted to GG for her restaurant recommendationsWhen I come to NYC, I tell folks where we are going to eat and they think I am a native when I am really just a poseur.A well fed poseur nonetheless.Warning taken.JLM.

          7. kirklove

            GG is the best. I’d follow her crumbs anywhere.And (as you know) I kid about Fred. Once we had an epic meal at the bar at Perla compliments of Mr Wilson. Of course we did miss the entire Calexico concert as a result…

          8. Donna Brewington White

            I must be following the comments too closely. I actually remember that!

    2. William Mougayar

      I remember that date now. It was around the same time we had the Commenting panel at Blogworld last year. Congratulations to your Dad’s precious 95th birthday.”We solved most of the world’s problems but forgot to write the solutions down.” It sounds like deja vu all over again πŸ˜‰

  31. JLM

    .Completely random comment — since the revelation of the NSA snooping, I have been re-reading my emails with an eye toward their being read by others. Kind of a creepy feeling.Fred may want to just have the NSA respond to those emails he is unable to get to right away? Hey, that could work.JLM.CC: NSA

    1. andyidsinga

      arent they trained to pose as other people too? …or maybe that is the cia

      1. JLM

        .Oh, Andy, I cannot imagine them doing something like that.Can you?JLM.

    2. fredwilson


    3. William Mougayar

      Email is like a drug.

    4. Elie Seidman


  32. Iggy Fanlo

    Ouch. If I read this and wanted you to get an email, it would greatly increase the number of spam emails I sent you, with the hope that probabilities and large numbers would be on my side

    1. fredwilson

      that is a good strategy for me. it works.

  33. Sean Hull

    I get a lot of random unsolicited email as well. Unfortunately most is from recruiters. But I like your strategy. I do scan it all too, just in case it needs my attention.I am careful not to cross one of Rumsfeld’s rules… “If you are working from your inbox, you are workin on other people’s priorities.”

    1. fredwilson

      oooh. i love that line, i will use it frequently and am reblogging it on fredwilson.vc right now

      1. Sean Hull

        Good stuff. Yeah though I’m not a fan of Rumsfeld’s policies, his new book “Rumsfelds Rules” is supposed to be very good. Waiting for my copy.http://www.amazon.com/Rumsf

    2. Dale Allyn

      “If you are working from your inbox, you are working on other people’s priorities.”Great line. Thanks.

      1. Sean Hull


  34. andyidsinga

    it always very cool when folks reply. …far better to get a response from the real person or no respnse at all than to get an assistant or bot response.

    1. fredwilson

      not everyone in this thread agrees with you. i may have to take a poll

      1. andyidsinga

        the poll would be fun!no problem if the real person responds and fwds me to an assistant for further dialog. I guess just feels better to go through the recipients filter rather than someone elses

      2. LE

        The problem with polls though is that all votes are considered equal. But think of Orwell and the animals on the boat. Some are more equal than others.The real way to test this is to divide all the emails that you get randomly into two groups. One group you handle the way you do now and another group handle the way you do now and PLUS put all the ones you would normally not reply to to an assistant for post processing. Then after a time period (say 3 mos, say 1 year) see if you can draw any conclusions from the experiment.50% Fred either replies or doesn’t reply50% Fred either replies or —> Assistant who then replies.Keeping in mind of course that it’s critical what the assistant actually says. Details matter.

        1. Techman

          I’d rather have the actual person reply. I don’t want to be emailing someone when that person actually never sees the message.

  35. LE

    Back in the 90’s I remember seeing Tim Draper on “Silicon Spin” with the curmudgeon John Dvorak.My ex wife was watching with me and I made some disparaging comment about something Draper said.My wife replied “wow he’s good looking” or something like that.At that point I knew I had my hook. These are like “gifts from god” where you just know you have the angle of approach figured out.I emailed him the next day and mentioned what my wife said and bingo, he replied. I didn’t ask him for anything at the time. I just laid the groundwork for something in the future (“some day I may ask for you to perform a service for me although that day may never come”).When I emailed him a bit later he remembered me and we went back and forth and setup a meeting. The idea was that I would run or work for some kind of an east coast operation for DFJ. I decided against it so nothing ever came of it (not implying that it would have happened on their end either but they did setup DFJ Gotham). But it all came from the original groundwork that I laid and the complement that I relayed so selflessly and without any jealousy at all.

    1. William Mougayar

      You have so many stories LE. Between you and JLM, you are the story tellers of AVC.

      1. LE

        Thanks William. It helps to be able to type fast. These stories are all true [1] of course (minor facts changed some times for clarity).[1] You should see though some of the fiction that I come up with when trying to sell things. Which is amazing because I don’t think I’ve ever read a single book of fiction after college. It’s all in the story which is totally unique and creative.

        1. William Mougayar

          I haven’t read a single book of fiction either, probably since high-school. I tried Reamde last year, but couldn’t get past page 50.I’m willing to assume that fiction doesn’t excite people with a lot of creativity and imagination. At least, I believe it to be my case.

  36. kidmercury

    off topic, but do are there any phandroids in the house that have installed a different keyboard app other than the default? any recommendations for keyboards that increase productivity?

    1. andyidsinga

      what is the default these days? ..i used the swipey keyboard that comes with cyanogenmod 10.1. its grrrrrreat!

    2. andyidsinga

      so it appears mine is the default aosp keyboard with ‘enable gesture typing’ turned on

      1. kidmercury

        yeah that’s what i’ve got so far, just curious as to if there is anything out there that is awesome…..i think i’m going to give swiftkey a try. will report back to fredland

    3. RichardF

      swype for me

    4. fredwilson

      i like the generic android keyboard

  37. Guest

    I have a pretty good rate with you (3/7) on email, and some replies from you on here even.

  38. netanel

    Fred, funny. That is exactly how I operate too. There is beauty in randomness. I agree that the subject line is very important and writing a good subject line is almost like writing poetry.

  39. Pete Griffiths

    “I want to remain open to randomness. I believe there are great ideas and people out there who have no better way to get my attention than to spam me”Never a truer word. The idea that anyone worthy of attention should be able to network in to you is ludicrous. And as Winston Churchill observed “Cut off fences against life, and eventually you cut off life itself.” That randomness is valuable.

  40. RichardF

    completely off topic but I just noticed that you can now see who likes the comment in Disqus again. Finally. (it might have been around for a while now but I haven’t been active here much lately)Just need to sort out mobile/tablet performance and all will be well

    1. Dale Allyn

      I noticed that yesterday or the day before, Richard. I think it’s a nice feature.

    2. fredwilson

      i’ve seen some of the work they are doing on mobile browsers and it looks good

      1. RichardF

        Well good is good enough πŸ˜‰ hope they launch it v soon

        1. fredwilson

          me too

          1. Techman

            I don’t think it’s ready (refer to the comment above)

      2. Techman

        If you’re referring to Disqus Mobile than I can’t get it work on Dolphin Browser for Android. It worked the first few days, and then it didn’t. It works fine for Chrome on the desktop, when I force my user agent to mobile Chrome so I can get the link to launch Disqus Mobile.

  41. Vishal Singh

    i can bias the coin now πŸ™‚

  42. PhilipSugar

    That has to be one of the toughest parts of being a vc. How many “asks” you get a day.Some people take it as humblebragging, but I don’t. I see a direct analogy when people email me that only get ten emails a day. They can’t understand what its like to get over a hundred, and can’t understand my life. Why wouldn’t you reply all??

    1. fredwilson

      it’s a slog

  43. howardlindzon

    i send you one an hour with different subject lines. It goes into a database which I share with the NSA about how to best get a hold of you. The $$$’s are just too good. Sorry.

    1. fredwilson

      kirk published that data somewhere in this comment thread

  44. Donna Brewington White

    I was thinking of sending you an email. Good to know. πŸ™‚

  45. Jen

    Alternatively, you could host weekly open chat sessions via live streaming video, of sorts.

  46. Donna Brewington White

    Better for the sender to have his/her email ignored than hearing from an assistant? Well, it might depend on the assistant and how attuned this person is to your values, priorities, etc.There are a few instances in which I have gone straight to the assistant because I knew I’d get what I needed more effectively than going to the principal.Or, what if the assistant only looked at the emails that went into archive and pulled out the ones that seemed noteworthy for your attention? What do you lose from this approach?Hedging your email, so to speak.

    1. Dale Allyn

      I agree with you, Donna. A reply from a great assistant can be very helpful to both parties. But I’d prefer that the assistant not reply before the principle recipient exercised her option on it first.

      1. Donna Brewington White

        And all assistants are not created equal. Must be chosen with care.The assistant I am thinking of in my comment is someone with a finger on the pulse and has the ability to simulate Fred’s thinking, not merely clerical.But I agree, even then, it’s second best, only better than nothing.

        1. Dale Allyn

          Agreed, Donna. And befriending a great assistant can serve one very well also. πŸ˜‰ I’ve learned in business that earning the trust of “supporting cast members” can be very beneficial. Treat them with the respect they deserve; appreciate the task they’re charged with; and in them, one can find significant help with barriers often difficult to penetrate.

    2. JLM

      Of course if you are the President of the United States and your Chief of Staff or General Counsel gets that email message — oh, something like the IRS is targeting opposition political groups — well, you can’t count on those particular assistants actually telling you, now can you?I may be hypercritical. I am struggling with it.JLM.

      1. Donna Brewington White

        Well, JLM, we never have to guess your opinion on a matter. I like that about you. πŸ˜‰

  47. Jeff Judge

    I think these are great email tips in general – thanks. I’ve made a real effort this year to be as concise as possible with emails I send. My hope is that karma will work it’s way back in the long run!

  48. Jen

    ” Excitement spurs performance; contradiction does not.” – ?

  49. Jen

    ” 70% of the answer is not an answer.”

  50. jason wright

    divert your emails to this blog and we’ll answer them for you. you know it makes sense.

  51. bdonnelly

    Thanks for the insights. I’ll make ‘Random Inbound Email Attempt #2’ shortly…

  52. Tom Labus

    Spurs on major roll!!

  53. jason wright

    they should have called it PRISN

  54. BillMcNeely

    Fred I always appreciate your responses to my email. You are always gracious.You had a MBA Monday post about sales a week or 2 weeks ago. What about how to conduct a sales call? How to prepare,what to present, how to follow up. What to wear what tools to use etcYesterday I felt like totally unprepared for my sales call. I can’t be the only one.

  55. Joel Natividad

    Fred passed by the NYU-Poly Varick Incubator yesterday and he signed my “random inbound autograph request” :)And since I had a Kindle copy, I just took a screenshot and printed it….

    1. fredwilson

      that was fun

  56. Techman

    So is this why you never replied to your reply of my email message? It doesn’t matter much now anyways, though.

  57. Vault Technologies

    Couldn’t agree more Fred, but this post may have opened you up to more email as people make repeated attempts to get through your filter πŸ™‚

  58. Manav Sehgal

    Love the quote “remain open to randomness”. Why do we normally complain about email spam much more than any other forms of spam. Because email happens directly to us? That is where we work? Of course there are some really shady odd spammers out there. It is easier calling them out on email?Do we deal differently with other kinds of spam that solicits a chunk of our limited attention? Ads while driving, listening to radio. A high street full of neon signs. Twitter/FB/LinkedIn streams. Websites with ad banners? Are we open to more randomness on say Twitter than over an email?

  59. damiansen

    If we compare this to @bfeld’s way you’ll see a huuge different.I don’t intent to compare both folks since i don’t know how busy each are, how “spammed” they get and so on. Similar between the 2 is the value and respect i put over their knowledge and contribution to the web.But I’m inclined to challenge fred’s perspective on this a bit

  60. jason wright

    “My name is Marc Andreessen. This is my blog. You can send me email at pmarcablog (at) gmail (dot) com. Due to volume and other responsibilities I probably won’t respond but I will try to at least read all messages.”

  61. bsoist

    I love the randomness of this.The first email I sent you was far too long. I knew it, I said so, and I asked you to please read the whole thing. Not only did you read it, but you responded very thoughtfully in a very timely manner. It made a big difference. Thank you.Knowing now that there was some randomness to this is comforting on many levels. πŸ™‚

  62. awaldstein

    My rule to get to important people that I don’t know.Find someone that I do know who knows them.If the pitch is important enough, the process is worth the labor and while you can’t always get this done, when you do it works!

  63. ShanaC

    sleep is the best and so many people I know don’t get enough

  64. fredwilson

    such great advice

  65. Donna Brewington White

    “details can follow if requested”This is good! A growing edge for me. You really cannot control the results by giving more information!I’m learning this is true even in comments. Trying to get there with blog posts and writing in general. Leave room for the reader to interact.Twitter is one of the best things that ever happened to me. (140 characters)

  66. Rohan

    I knew you’d dig up the source of the quote, Charlie.

  67. karen_e

    Ah, Charlie. The Sage from Lancaster. I can see the booth at the farmer’s market now.

  68. LE

    “Find someone that I do know who knows them.”Linked in used to be “ok” for that. Now it’s a total fest of people that don’t mean anything to you. I’ve got 238 requests from people who I have no connection to so I know how worthless that is. [1]They have also cut back on the free info making you pay for things you used to be able to see at no charge.[1] People don’t even write a personal note to indicate why they want to be a contact if it’s not obvious. I’m turned off by anyone who has 500+ contacts (unless I know them) because it just seems like they are contact whoring. I also think it’s in bad taste for people to not reveal their contacts that’s a turn off as well. (Not that I dont’ understand the reason for doing that)

  69. PhilipSugar

    I agree. I think it is because of the rule of answering with one less level of effort than asked.Nobody feels bad blowing off a mass email. But I think most people would feel bad if you ignored a request from somebody that knows you.

  70. awaldstein

    I don’t use Linked In at all.I have some clients, especially in Europe who find it a useful marketing tool, but generally not a fan.Your comment made me search out this for me, old post, some 3.5 years ago on what I didn’t like about Linked In then. Pretty well the same today: http://awe.sm/aEvCt

  71. LE

    I just skimmed that – all good points I liked this one:But invariably we immediately move the discussion to our personal websites or email or Skype.It’s like speed networking at the recreation center. Find a match and leave to find a cozier place to talk.The lack of coziness is key.I call it the “why do kids like Mickey Mouse” theory.Kids like Mickey because he is something they can call their own in a world that is confusing to them.Linked in is that confusing world. It’s a clusterfuck of graphics, pictures, words and a mishmash in the same way a comcast tv remote just doesn’t “feel right” (and an iphone does).It’s the deli menu with a million choices that you can’t make up your mind what you want. As opposed to the small or even chain restaurant with limited choices that focuses you in on the limited offerings.What linkedin is though is a great way to brag (or to be taken seriously) to people who don’t know you (if you have something to brag about that is). More or less in the same way some people use facebook “look high school friends at my wonderful life”.

  72. PhilipSugar

    For me Linked In is a place to keep track of what professional contacts are doing. Facebook is where I keep track of what fraternity brothers are doing. If you post to much I delete you.I don’t want to market, I don’t want to discover new people, but that is just me.The annoying part about Linked In is that they whore out your email address (I keep a unique one for each service) and let people that pay search away

  73. Guest

  74. awaldstein

    You have life more neatly compartmentalized than I do Phil.Facebook is more and more two things to me: my international wine community as a distinct group and the mosh pit of my entire life in a noisy mess. A dinner party where everyone showed up and no one was invited that day.Funny part of FB is that somehow whenever I’m over it, something uniquely powerful happens and I dig into it as a utility again.

  75. PhilipSugar

    And proud of it!

  76. PhilipSugar

    I hadn’t thought of it that way but you are right. I keep separate email addresses and phone numbers and that lets me know what to expect when I am in each environment.Its actually a bit disconcerting when I use my iPhone inbox and everything is a mismash.

  77. Dale Allyn

    I can’t stand the combined inbox view on my iPhone. Each email address provides filtering and prioritization, so I really benefit from the separate inbox views.

  78. jason wright

    how many hours would you recommend?

  79. ShanaC

    between 7 and 9, but it really depends on your body, your body clock, and your overall health. Also, disturbed sleep depending on why it is disturbed, means needed to sleep more