Email Bankruptcy

I saw this tweet in my timeline yesterday and thought “what a great way to start the new year.”

I had 1,625 unread emails in my inbox this morning.

I have archived all of them that came in during 2017.

If you sent me an email in 2017 and did not get a reply, you won’t.

I am starting the year fresh. It feels good. Thanks for the suggestion OoTheNigerian.

#life lessons

Comments (Archived):

  1. awaldstein

    Unapologetic is the word of the year.Be yourself and move forward.Great way to start!

    1. Tereza

      I’m about to zero mine out, right now.Then on to the rowing machine…

      1. awaldstein

        I did, drafted a post, hugged the cat and heading to the gym.

        1. Tereza

          yes yes let’s grab a glass. I did NOT give up wine for New Years. i’m in NYC tues-wed-thurs and around all January. email at terezan@microsoft and we’ll lock it in! can’t wait!

          1. David C. Baker

            You DO realize the irony of suggesting that he email you, right? 🙂

          2. Tereza

            Ha. BUSTED. Yes! The reason is better integration w my calendar than any messaging apps or DMing on twitter.

      2. LE

        Water rower by any chance? (What I use at home).

        1. Tereza


  2. Tereza

    So much better than a polar bear swim: an email cleanse!Mind if I join you?

    1. fredwilson

      pls do!!!!

      1. Tereza

        DONE. #bankruptedanditfeelssogood

        1. Jeremy Robinson

          I prefer the polar bear swim. Less disruptive- J

  3. Matt Zagaja

    With Google Apps/GMail on my primary email I have mastered the email shortcuts and (for the most part) am able to keep on top of it (especially with the assist from the sorting hat that separates the cruft from the good stuff). My work email is a dumpster fire and I have yet to figure out how to use Outlook in the same manner. Since I am not paid to manage my email I think I’ll try this out on that account.

    1. fredwilson

      at some level of inbound i think it is impossible. i use all of the filters that i can and i still get hundreds of emails every day into my priority inbox.

      1. JamesHRH

        You have yourself on the right side of the demand curve!

      2. sigmaalgebra

        i use all of the filters that i can and i still get hundreds of emails every day into my priority inbox. So your “1,625” unread e-mail messages were from just a few days, and otherwise for 2017 you kept up, apparently on about 98% of the e-mail messages.Sounds like you need an e-mail white list and a page on your the AVC Web site that lets people essentially apply for a slot, maybe only temporary, on your white list.

    2. Tereza

      i have met many folks who are ninjas on Outlook Rules. Some for starters are organization such as “to All Company” or from your Boss or from Top Tier Customers or from Staff. Then can set up response rates per segment.I always forget to update mine. I guess New Years is a good time… Hmmmmm….

  4. LIAD

    whilst i dig the theory, the reality of just dumping all unread/unreplied emails is foreign to me/madness.if an employee did it, would be classified as gross bankruptcy – the exclusive purview of the elite. which is fine, just saying.

    1. Lawrence Brass

      I think it is the fault of unscrupulous advertisers and channel users. Because it is so cheap to spam you, a 3% or less reaction is profitable. They care a damn about trashing the channel.

      1. PhilipSugar

        Could not agree more.What happens to me is that when I travel or am in meetings I only check email quickly to see if there is something urgent, I don’t take the time to delete the spam. See my other comment.

    2. Tereza

      I get where you’re coming from, for sure. But at some point it’s just not tenable if you are in a high volume/high velocity biz and your staffing (and email rules) trails your inbounds. Also where there are emails that really need to move over to team collab like Slack/Teams/whatever. Some people just don’t learn until they experience it.I ran an experiment a few times — spent days doing ONLY email, no actual business against my key goals (let alone using my unique skills) and did email til 11pm, still didn’t finish either the email nor my actual work. At some point, you just have to go to sleep. Or tuck your kids in to bed or help with homework.Obviously that is an extreme case and there are multiple levers to work on balancing that (per above). There is DEFINITELY privilege embedded in bankrupting. I will honor than and then, humbly, step up to reclaim my mental health. 🙂

      1. PhilipSugar

        Good to see you.

    3. Susan Rubinsky

      Exactly. Dispute with a client over payment on a multi-year project? Just go back and search your email for the agreement or to track who was negligent. I have all my email dating back to the 1990’s.

      1. PhilipSugar

        Sorry. I always say email is in no way an agreement. If you do business that way it is your fault.I emailed you this……well I can make up an email that I emailed you that.Email is not a commitment. Not a commitment.

    4. LE

      email bankruptcy – the exclusive purview of the eliteWhen I was growing up I learned about why the food on the NJ Turnpike could suck. The reason was there was enough customers that new people would keep coming back and replace the people that didn’t like the food. Not to mention of course that in that case there were no alternatives.Fred’s email bankruptcy if you take it at face value just means that he can afford to walk away from ‘friskies buffet’. Meaning anyone he pisses off or he ignores will just be replaced by a new person who wants his attention. It’s really that simple if you break it down.If I was a new guy starting out in VC I’d point to the ambiguity of this post and say ‘here is one reason to go with us’. [1]…[1] And actually this is how many professionals get their start when an established lawyer or accountant stops paying attention to his clients because he has to much business.

      1. Lawrence Brass

        The best translucid-soaked-in-oil-fries I ever had, which I ate dipped in some chemical cheese sauce. Somewhere in the NJ turnpike.When I am really hungry and my wife asks what I would like for dinner i usually reply “some I-95 fries”.

        1. LE

          Man, there’s an opera out on the Turnpike.”some I-95 fries”I have similar language shorthand with my wife. Like a 2nd concise language.(Separately my gold standard of ‘white collar crime punishment’ used to be ‘clean restrooms at NJ Turnpike Stop’. )

          1. Lawrence Brass

            How would I know, it was my second time around. Staying out of the truck lanes was my only objective.I think that having that second language is a sign of complicity, very healthy and fun also. She is teaching me emoji based dialects now.A couple of times I have slipped words or terms I used with my ex.. absolutely don’t do that at home. 🙂

        2. Salt Shaker

          LOL! Could a good restaurant actually flourish on I-95? Serious question. Not much competition, great traffic flow, but generally it’s transient. Family/biz travel between DC and NYC could be scheduled around a nice mid-stop lunch/dinner. Plus, how many Cinnabons can a trucker eat?Eater ranked NJT rest stops a few years back and the Molly Pitcher was ranked #1. (Wiki not even sure that’s a real person.)…

          1. Salt Shaker

            I was always bemused by the “fast food” industries re-christening themselves as “quick serve,” a subtle yet perceptible difference. An “off road” pit stop may be a bit of an ask, but something like Shake Shack (not Peter Luger’s) on the tnpke would be a killer. Stromboli too….can’t replicate that kind of traffic flow anywhere.

          2. PhilipSugar

            Not far off. I am not disagreeing. I eat “serviceable” food way too often. Seriously airports have gotten much better. NJT??? No. I guess Starbucks (which I don’t like) is most serviceable. Restrooms?? Well actually serviceable…….where i want to go? No, but actually better than some I’ve seen.

      2. Tom Labus

        It’s a chain. NJ turnpike is a world unto itself

    5. fredwilson

      or the people who get tons of emails from people who they don’t have any obligation to reply to. every fucking day. day after day. month after month. year after year.

      1. LIAD


      2. PhilipSugar

        Just remember a blessing and a curse……I know that is easy to say…some days I wake up and think what a f’ing curse.I know you don’t love Apple. Everybody else tell me who else did Apple put the automatic email update on their Iphone last update?????Damn, that pissed me off so bad I might go back to Android.Kills my battery, and yes I do keep it on the nightstand, an Emergency by my Dad or work needs to mean you must reach me. But starting to get a ding every minute? Seriously????Arrogant. Totally. That is messing with my life.

        1. fredwilson

          Yes. It is both

  5. Tom Labus

    I think I may have done this with news at some point during the last year

  6. LIAD

    you’re right. perhaps all about act of omission vs commission.

  7. JamesHRH

    Great term.

  8. Michael B. Aronson

    anyone know the best way to do this from desktop gmail? When i search for unread i get lots that i did see on mobile (and dont necessarily want to delete) vs ones i never opened (and could be great to unsubscribe from)

    1. John Pepper

      Select all and archive. Don’t delete. Otherwise it won’t get done and you’ll still be stuck.

      1. Tereza

        Yes. Archive. No reason not to.And btw one’s day should be run on the actual things they seek to get accomplished. Email is not an Action Items list. Same-day response is the implied social construct but it is not always appropriate/reasonable.

    2. sigmaalgebra

      One candidate solution: Write your own e-mail software. No joke.It’s possible mostly to keep it simple, and then it’s, uh, simple.My motherboard is sick; so I need a new computer; so I’m ordering parts; the case shipped already; the motherboard will likely ship today; then I’ll order the first batch of the rest; it will be my new computer and also my first server for my startup; then I will fix my old computer with a new motherboard, processor, and one disk drive to give me a second computer and/or a dedicated development computer.But with the sick computer, I had to reinstall Windows. Well, the computer is so sick the e-mail software I’ve been using, Microsoft’s Outlook 2003, won’t install.So, for sending e-mail, I got a Gmail account. For receiving, I got the e-mail software I wrote long ago going again.From this last, I see again that for software for good e-mail filtering, searching, cross referencing, etc., just write your own.So, get a copy of Open Object Rexx and a copy of the book on Rexx by Mike Cowlishaw. Then Rexx has the basic TCP/IP calls, and that’s mostly what you need for sending/receiving e-mail.To read, write, search, and filter, get a copy of the text editor KEdit which lets you use a good version of Rexx as a macro language.Rexx is no toy, long was the basis of all of the personal, office, and administrative computing for all of IBM.For translating quoted-printable and base 64, can write some nice routines in Rexx or KEdit.Stuff like encryption and authentication I haven’t looked into — they may be harder.For Gmail, they make a mess out of standard e-mail; for the user interface (UI) apparently their programmers thought that they had some so much better ideas than work with the data as in the standard IETF RFCs (internet engineering task force requests for comments).E.g., for the header lineFrom:Gmail just insists, feet locked four feet deep in reinforced concrete, with bitter, iron determination to rewrite my entry forFrom:So, they include my real name. But no way do I want my real name used in the e-mail I send via Gmail. No way. And I haven’t given Gmail my real name. But, I did give my real name in my Google account logon, and, then, damn, damn, damn, damn, damn, damn Gmail looks up my account real name and puts that in the header lineFrom:Bummer. Bummer. Bummer. Bummer. Bummer. Bummer. Oh, how I HATE smart-ass programmers that believe they have a long list of really great favors they will do for you.If they were designing a car, then when slam on the brakes to avoid hitting a puppy, the brakes would do nothing and, instead, a window would pop up, at the top of the screen Z-order, saying:Heavy application of the brakes might cause a skid with loss of steering and control. Do you really want to do this? One dead puppy.As soon as I get my new computer running, I’ll install Outlook again and get rid of Gmail.I don’t know how anyone could have even a chance of using Gmail.One thing I’ve seen now, somehow people are using a lot of e-mail software that just insists on everything using the ideas of ‘attachments’ as in MIME (multi-media internet mail extensions — in an IETF RFC) with UTF-8, quoted-printable, HTML, base 64 and combinations of and/or nearly all of these even in a just dirt simple e-mail message of a few lines of ordinary typing that works fine in the first 128 codes of ASCII. So, an e-mail that should be a few hundred bytes becomes maybe 30,000 bytes, has lots of HTML sample lessons with comments, and gets harder to search.In Outlook, I have taken the option to show all HTML e-mail as just plain text. Good. And I also have KEdit macros to do that conversion.Ah, my telephone is just a land line via my ISP (internet access provider), and they supply my phone mail message taking. Then they send me e-mail with a MIME attachment in base 64 with the WAV file data of the voice! Well, my decode base 64 code converts back to a WAV file, and an old copy of RealPlayer plays it! Works fine!I used to have a copy of the old Sendmail and used it also to send e-mail. I had a nice, simple system of ‘nick names’ for specifying the header linesTo:CC:Maybe I should get something like that running again. I looked at the old, original, still accepted relevant RFC — could write a little Rexx code to send.One thing I beat Outlook on is cross references: Turns out, just the header lineDate:makes a good enough key for cross references. I have a little KEdit macro that given such a key will display the matching e-mail messages.For my startup, where e-mail may become much more important, maybe I will mostly or entirely set aside Outlook and Gmail and use just my own software. I’m tempted.My own e-mail is MUCH simpler to use, administer, etc. than Outlook!

  9. Michael B. Aronson

    Here is a related topic, i love getting holiday greetings etc from people whose list i dont want to be on (vcs get a LOT of these), great to unsubscribe from

  10. William Mougayar

    “If you sent me an email in 2017 and did not get a reply, you won’t.”- Few people can afford to do and say this. I’m not saying it, but relying on the 2nd email principle. If it’s important enough and I haven’t responded, getting a 2nd email sometimes can help.

    1. jason wright

      day two, month one, and ETH’s price chart goes vertical. even earlier than I expected. what did I miss?

      1. Lawrence Brass

        I think that the big league crypto run is structural.What happened and is still happening with bitcoin and bitcoin cash is beautiful to watch, systemically and evolutively speaking. It shows that crypto is now adaptable, plastic, self-healing. Young still but showing the signs of maturity.

        1. jason wright

          it’s reminiscent of some binary star formations.

      2. William Mougayar

        It’s an ongoing steady story and evolution.No drama. Just delivering stuff.

    2. Tereza

      Similarly I always thought that the 4-hour work week was crazily high and mighty (and disrespectful) ….in particular the “don’t answer emails” rang very bro-ish to me and really pissed me off. But I confess in a world of too much email, this 2nd email principle (and at times, a 3rd one) helps me separate the non-serious requests from the more tenacious folks. And i love tenacious people!!! 🙂

      1. William Mougayar


  11. John Pepper

    Scared to death, but I just did it too. Fred, I know you’ve been waiting for me to respond, as is so often the case with others on this blog, but it’s just not happening ;)In all seriousness, this was the only solution. I was at 1,027 with no hope of digging out.Happy 2018!

  12. creative group

    CONTRIBUTORS:email bankruptcy is a two way street. Just don’t resend.Grow some guts and realize there are other movers and shakers who value what you send. If what you sent was important you can expect a response.Value yourself and start realizing your own importance in this world of 6 Billion plus.Captain Obvious!#UNEQUIVOCALLYUNAPOLOGETICALLYINDEPENDENT

  13. jason wright

    perhaps I should set my email to send an auto response to every email I receive – “If you do not receive my personal reply by the year’s end you have two options. 1. give up. 2. try again.”Or, “My inbox has a set limit of 100 unopened emails at any one time. I’m selling tokens. If you buy one you go to the front of the queue”. I think there’s a market right there for a token based solution to inbox overflow.I must admit that from time to time I retreat from my inbox. I need an assistant.who in their right mind would allow themselves to be so influenced in their actions by Fred Wilson?

    1. Lawrence Brass

      Why do you say that?It is because of his proud missed predictions record?Or because ( since that me-me-me reaction reply ) he mixes the margaritas as he wish?;-)

      1. jason wright

        I always feel the need to resist and dilute the undue influence of influencers. I’m not a fan of the one-to-many flow of information. taken to extreme it results in those unpleasant forms of dictatorship we know too well from history.I don’t have a good sense of what Fred’s prediction track record is like. making them is like putting a target on your back. there to be shot at.Molotov cocktails – vive la revolution!

        1. Lawrence Brass

          A rebel. My son might be like you. He rides a weird recumbent bike he made from two scrapped bikes. He is wishing that everything big and tall falls apart. Why is that I don’t know. Is it because of youth? Is it my fault?Fred has influence because he has a track record and he is actively engaging and participating in things he want to see changed. Earned influence in my opinion.

  14. Laurent Boncenne

    you guys seriously have issues with 1k+ unread emails….an inbox is just that for things coming in. either you bin it, or file it or you process it.spam and newletter emails don’t deserve to be in someone’s much as possible you should have rules to file and mark as read as they are coming in (especially notifications emails) and only keep in your inbox things you need to process in the immediate future (which is effectively no more than 30 items for you to remain sane).i’ve been doing this for the past 4 years and it’s worked a treat, no more unread emails and an inbox with max 30 items in there. everything else is processed or done.if you’re still there with 3k+ items in there, you need to do a sweep, archive everything that’s more than 6 months’s incredibly liberating for your own peace of mind to reach inbox zero

    1. JamesHRH

      But Fred just did that.

      1. Jeremy Robinson

        Too funny!

      2. Laurent Boncenne

        no, he archived everything all at once, at least from the post. i’m advocating for having a strict policy of what actually stays in your inbox on an ongoing basis.if it’s not something you will be acting up on, then you can file it and review later if/when needed.easier in my world than Fred’s i guess but still a good rule of thumb to live by for most

        1. JamesHRH

          I was referencing your last sentence. Logically, that is what Fred did.I am having a little fun Laurent…..

          1. Laurent Boncenne

            ha! my bad 🙂 it was late my end and i thought you referred to the whole thing…

          2. JamesHRH

            that never, ever happens to me ;-)Bonne Année en 2018!

          3. Laurent Boncenne

            heh :)Bonne Année to you too! 🙂

    2. Susan Rubinsky

      I have thousands of unread emails — mostly newsletters and blogs (which, indeed, does get filed into separate folders for future reference or weekend reading). I have almost all my email dating back to the 1990’s. It’s been invaluable. About ten years ago I restored all my old email files to Google so I can search and retrieve anything I want from the past. I would never want to go to zero.

      1. Laurent Boncenne

        see that’s the thing, i agree that you should or can keep all of your emails, but no matter what service you have, you can file it in folders, tags and so’s too tempting to leave it in the inbox and stay there, but if you treat the inbox itself as the todo list, then things will be filed faster that you would expect!i suggest in general treating the inbox as a todo list and then having folders/tags for different topics/subjects/groups/etc. then you can review each based on your own rules. if you haven’t touched an email you filed either manually or automatically for the past 30 days, what’s the harm in having a rule to mark it as read? you can still review it later on or apply a category or label to it if you want to do monthly reviews and the likes.a lot of what people do is the result of other people’s behaviour in relation to how you respond yourself (ie. if you reply to an email at lunch time, people will just assume you are available, when it’s not always the case… if you let this pile up suddenly everyone thinks it’s okay to email at lunch time and your break is gone)

        1. Susan Rubinsky

          Agreed. I use it as a task list.

      2. Richard

        Delete an email, why? I recently looked through 2008 emails and found some treasures.

      3. daryn

        I’m in a similar boat, lots of unread newsletters and notifications that aren’t useful in the short-term, but have proven valuable over time thanks to gmail search. Unread emails don’t bother me that much, and if someone replies to a thread that I missed the first time, then it bubbles to the top with the (2) indication that is more likely to draw my attention.I do make the periodic sweep to see if there are labels I can apply to get things out of the inbox, so they can sit unread in their own folders instead, but clearly it takes me awhile… https://uploads.disquscdn.c

    3. fredwilson

      i do everything you do and a lot moreit’s not enough

      1. Laurent Boncenne

        i fear having the amount of incoming emails you must be having then! i get a good 50/100 a day if not more but the rules filter keeps growing!it’s a bit of a shame when you think of it that no one is making money with email services proper (save for google and microsoft but they bundle everything into one sweet package per user) and disrupting a service that desperately needs some disruption. wonder what that could look like!

        1. fredwilson

          I don’t think it’s a technical issue. It’s a behavioral issue. I share my email address with the world and reply to many random emailers every day. That sends a message that it’s ok, even desired, to email me. I want that. But I can’t handle it

          1. jason wright

            email is a transaction volume versus scaling conundrum. email has the capacity for transaction volume, but not the solution for scaling. your inbox has almost limitless transaction volume capacity, but you do not scale up in response to its growth. you are a fixed need an auto response sign posting protocol to guide people to destinations and outcomes. something like that.

          2. Laurent Boncenne

            I completely agree it’s mostly behavioral before technical, but you’d have to agree that neither gmail nor exchange are smart when it comes to helping organise your inbox, they give you a lot of tools but it’s tricky to navigate through especially when you have a lot of emails and a lot of incoming ones on a daily basis.

          3. Mark Essel

            Maybe you need separate channels, one public world writeable and one for high priority internal/business messaging. You can let the world writeable one slide, and keep the private channel up to date

  15. TeddyBeingTeddy

    I bet 500 of them are unread Google Alerts…

    1. bsoist

      Most of those for me go to Slack via RSS 🙂

    1. Lawrence Brass

      So many meaningful and fun things to do other than managing your inbox.

      1. aminTorres

        to be fair, I had not been to work since the middle of November.

  16. bsoist

    I have actually done this for people I work with and it scares the crap out of them.I just say “here, let me show you something” and then I sit at their desk, create a label called _digging_out_2018 or something they want to cal it, then I select all in the inbox, apply that label, mark as read and then archive. If they insist, I will make sure the folder shows for them so they can peek at it if they need to, but I tell them to resist that urge and remind them they can just search for something if someone says “hey, did you get that email” or whatever.I don’t receive the volume I once did, but I still see about a thousand emails a week. I just sit down to process them once daily around noon. Some days it takes almost an hour, but most days it’s 20-30 minutes.

    1. PhilipSugar

      You need to talk to Tereza!! She is working on your first sentence!! Makes me smile.

  17. bsoist

    Interesting… I’ve been planning to send you an email for several weeks and something made me wait until about two hours ago to actually sit down and write it.I didn’t send it yet, I compose many emails in text files as I need to or have the time, but I stay out of my email until later in the day and then send them. One never knows what one might find in the inbox. 🙂

  18. Adam Parish

    I just assigned myself a new task for today – clean out my inbox.

  19. gbattle

    I think it’s a bigger exercise than this. It’s a good time to do some active read all (why Google Mail variants don’t make this button standard is BEYOND me), unsubscribe, unfriend, unfollow, filter action across the board. I’m already inbox zero, but the above activities are more about making the management of inbox zero sustainable.

  20. PhilipSugar

    Been doing it for a decade. We tell employees to do it.I don’t find it irresponsible.

    1. Tereza

      I am transparent up my chain of command multiple levels. I am HAPPY to accept more help! Still waiting. 🙂 Honestly, in large part we are paid to juggle priorities. It’s just that the email in some roles/exposures is out of balance.

      1. PhilipSugar

        No let me say what it has become. No different than Powerpoint. People think they are doing work because of meetings and emails.Customer’s emailing you? Ok, that is an issue, planning via email? No. Powerpoint? necessary evil for customers.

        1. Tereza

          I *think* these are GA but there are some cool analytics around Office 365 which tell you EXACTLY what you spent (actual, backwards looking) on email and meetings and can set goals. Super convenient to compare against whether you’re in actuality working your goals. Even when I say i’m Ignoring email according to the tool i’m still doing 3-5 hours a day. So honestly I don’t feel that guilty.I have seen PPT used well….but rarely. The classic P&G One Page Memo is more effective, I think.

  21. PhilipSugar

    I have a suggestion for a product. It is worth what you paid for it. Have a plug in that when you get spam sends the spammer 100 or 1,000 emails from a box you don’t saved sent emails. Now I know many times the actual sender name is obfuscated or faked but there usually is some way to reply to the email. Just keep those in a database and update when somebody hits the spam button.This would make spam symmetrical. Right now the problem with spam is that it is asymmetrical. I can send out 1,000 emails (I don’t) if I get just one reply it is good for me and I have bothered 999 people.But if I send out those 1,000 emails and 10 people flag me and send me back 1,000 emails I now have to search through 10,000 emails to find that one.The only problem becomes when it is just an offer with a do not reply email.Perfect for crypto coin. Get people to find the email address and spam away.Last part of my rant: Doesn’t it piss the shit out of you when you get spammed and then go to website and they require a captca or not even have an email.

    1. LE

      I don’t want to mention one of the things that I do for a living but those who know me know what I am talking about. As part of that I get a great deal of spam. And I mean probably much more than most people do and over multiple email accounts no less. However I have turned that spam into business and money. How much? By paying attention to patterns in 2015 that I saw in the spam I had a profit of over $1,000,000. Not sales. Profit. As in ‘pay taxes on it’. [1] And that was by replying to people that spammed me and engaging with them. (Less in previous and forward years but still worth the time and I have developed more efficient ways of dealing with it as well).[1] So I was ‘unloading my positions’ while most others were thinking ‘spam waste of time’.

    2. fredwilson

      it’s not spam. it is real people desperately trying to get my attention. and i give as much of it as i can. but it will never be enough.

      1. PhilipSugar

        I know and you do.

      2. Tereza

        Truer words never spoken. It’s painful because they matter, and you care.

  22. sigmaalgebra

    Yes, I can understand perfectly, have sympathy, empathy, compassion:In college I had to disconnect the phone due to all the high school homecoming queen girls (that was before Obozo when the homecoming queens were really girls and before feminism when the girls were really pretty, sweet, darling, adorable, precious, and smiling and weren’t trying to bulk up for weight lifting competitions, etc. — more treasures gone with the wind!) inviting me over for an evening in their den with TV and their handmade pizza; those girls were keeping me from writing my math honors paper!I don’t dare use my real name at Facebook due to all the Close Personal Friend requests and high tech job recruiters interrupting my work!!!!Even now, I have to hide from all the VCs trying to get me to look at their term sheets!Ah, how does that go,Methinks thou dost protest too much or something like that?Gee, in these days of information technology, maybe there could be a solution to business communications other than an annual double dose of e-mail Exlax?So, THAT’S what Microsoft should add to Outlook — an Exlax icon!!!!!! With sound effects???If Exlax doesn’t want their brand name used, maybe Microsoft could have a Charmin icon??But, wait, that’s not all!!! For anti-spam, they could add an upchuck icon!!!Call it the New Outlook Enhanced User Experience??Ah, but for those homecoming queens, I should have just written my honors paper faster!Those were the days before Obozo when the girls were still girls and a man didn’t have to check first!Gee, just saw at…withBoaz Barak, Introduction to Theoretical Computer SciencewithThese are lecture notes for an introductory undergraduate course on theoretical computer science. I am using these notes for Harvard CS 121. So, I downloaded the PDF and glanced at it to see if it had anything new and worth paying attention to.So, he covers a curious multiplication algorithm and a fast matrix multiplication algorithm. As I glanced, I didn’t see him mention the Coppersmith–Winograd algorithm.Yup, there are hints of stage-wise as in the fast Fourier transform.Then he mentions, but does not explain, that there could be a fast matrix multiplication algorithm from group representation theory. Gee, that was the topic of my ugrad math honors paper! Maybe when my startup is farther along I’ll take a look!Otherwise he fumbled with some math notation and tried to say something meaningful about the question of P versus NP.Nope, the Harvard students aren’t getting their money’s worth!

    1. Tereza

      I’ll put in a feature request for the ExLax right now… 🙂

      1. sigmaalgebra

        Definitely put Fred on the alpha test list! :-)!!

      2. PhilipSugar

        What a great way to respond.

  23. Vasiliy

    Well, it is like saying my time is more important than yours: I am deleting all your emails and wasting all time you spent writing (and thinking about) them. I guess this can work for some people, but this would be a disaster for others. Of course there is the spam element but it can be managed outside of this solution.

    1. fredwilson

      i am not saying that. i am saying that hundreds of people i don’t know, have never met, and may never meet, send me emails every day and i can’t respond to all of them.

      1. jason wright

        don’t you have an assistant?

        1. fredwilson

          yes, but they don’t want to hear from my assistant.

          1. JamesHRH

            This is a very good point. Very few people respect the idea that your assistant may be a logical path to you, I bet, albeit a low percentage path.

      2. Tereza

        Yes there is no way to differentiate across them. You can easily be stepping into a 20-minute email interaction or game of ping pong and you just see your creative juices draining. I get maybe a 1/10 of you and it’s still overwhelming. And, yes, they want (and deserve) a real person.

      3. PhilipSugar

        Fred, the answer is Yes. And that is OK!!! Totally OK.No apologies!!!Yes, you answer more emails than I can imagine. Your eyes droop from how tired you are sometimes I watch you.Yes. Fuck yes! If I send you an email you don’t answer (but you do) too fucking bad.You are right, you didn’t ask somebody to send it to you.Don’t ever feel guilty.

        1. Salt Shaker

          Well, when you publicly post your contact info and email address (as Fred does on the bottom of his “About” menu item), it’s hard to say you didn’t ask for this. A bit confusing. Just sayin.

          1. PhilipSugar

            That doesn’t mean he has to respond to them.That just means he gives people a way to possibly reach him, it is not an obligation.His email stream must dwarf mine. The amount of pitches he must get by people in a hallway, restaurant, etc must be exponentially more.If he sends back an email f’u m’fer I get it but to not respond?I have a belief that I owe you one less level of care if you are asking me something. Maybe brutal but that is the case.1. So if Fred doesn’t respond to your quick email, no issue.2. I am sure if you spent the time the next level would be “I can’t help”3. The next level would be you have engaged. Then there is an obligation to say yes or no with a bit of a reason. I know for a fact he does that.4. The final level is you are working together. Then you need to respond.The hard fact is that if you don’t practice 1 and 2 you can’t get to 3 and 4. Not possible. Not physically possible.I’ll give an example. I get people that send me a generic email. You are not getting one back.I get people that send me an email saying I looked you up here is my ask. Ok, I might say not right for me now.Then I get to Level 3 and I respond. Yes or No is fine. Sorry but I do hate people that don’t take a No with a quick reason and they go back to Level 1.Then you have Level 4.There actually is a level 5 where it sets off alarms.

  24. curtissumpter

    Lil Uzi Vert. OoTheNigerian. Fred, you have a very diverse friend set.

    1. fredwilson

      and curtis too!!!!!

      1. curtissumpter

        Look at me. Starting out the year on a good note. Boom.

  25. mikenolan99

    It’s all about workflow. In Gmail: promotions tab, scan, select all, delete. Same for other tabs except primary. On that tab, respond if needed – save draft if I don’t have time. When all are drafts are done, select all and archive.Email zero.Backlog of drafts. Respond or delete as appropriate.

  26. lunarmobiscuit

    It’s an interesting parallel to see how people like our President can afford to go bankrupt every few years and come out the other side as rich as ever, while the rest of us need to pay our bills and answer our email. I’ve only personally seen VCs get away with telling everyone they’ll not be bothering to answer email this week/month/year, resend it if it was actually important (or if you are still important enough to them to bother).

  27. Salt Shaker

    Curious how much biz, if ever, resulted from unsolicited emails that you’ve received? It’s not all that uncommon in today’s biz, but emails in excess no doubt can create time mgt issues. Sounds like an investment in an assistant to screen/filter your emails could make sense, lead to greater efficiencies, and would likely pay out w/ one relevant hit. It all can’t be junk, some likely legit opportunities.

  28. Aashay Mody

    Check out Astro ( to help you better manage your email. Inbox zero doesn’t always have to be the goal.

  29. raheeln

    Gotta admit. Google Inbox does make life a little easier.

  30. Kevin

    I feel like this is dangerous advice. I would seriously consider NOT doing business with someone who can’t handle something as simple as email.For Fred, who probably receives many, many unsolicited emails it may be a viable strategy, but if you’re that important why not have an assistant triage your email before it gets to you?

  31. James Sandberg

    Have you ever come across drag before? It’s like Trello but for Gmail. I’m thinking of using it this year as I’m a big believer in Inbox Zero!

  32. sigmaalgebra

    Grow up yourself. I’ll help you in about two minutes: Just look at the record and see that Obozo is a very, very kind name for him. Frankly, he hates the US and did everything he could get away with to hurt the US and did hurt it a lot. Grow up. We knew well just what he was before he was elected, and he was just as he seemed — he hates the US. The situation is serious, really serious.The MSM has 24 x 7 constant, nasty accusations, mostly outright lies, about Trump while the worst that has any credibility is something about two scoops of ice cream.For Obozo:(1) The Iran deal was essentially high treason. Obama and his team were and remain on the side of Ayatollah Kockamamie and his “Death to America”, “Death to Israel”, radical Islamic terrorist, expansionist (build yet another, new Caliphate from Iran to the Mediterranean, nuke bomb and rocket seeking, theocratic dictatorship. Literally.(2) ObamaCare was sabotage of the US health care system. Obama just wanted to see the system wrecked: Can see this in his remarks in some of the town hall meetings where Obozo was shamelessly uninformed. See where he got slapped down hard by the American College of Surgeons for being uninformed, misinformed, just plain wrong, dangerous. Of course Pelosi was on a power trip. She and Barnie Frank wanted ObamaCare to be so bad that they could then move to their dream of single payer. Obozo, Pelosi, Frank — in all cases ObamaCare was deliberate sabotage of the US health care system. Nasty, ugly, dangerous stuff.(3) His proposal that K-12 boys and girls should share toilets and showers was depraved and sabotage of US culture. You believe he wanted that for his daughters?(4) His DACA stuff was unconstitutional and an effort to flood the US with third class people — don’t speak, read, or write English, have poor educations, don’t understand US high school civics, need welfare, have serious medical problems, e.g., TB, that are threats to themselves and the rest of us, are a long way from being able to assimilate — deliberately to weaken the US. More generally, Obozo’s push for open-borders, massive illegal immigration was please people who wanted a new version of slave labor — a readily identifiable, non-citizen, exploited, laboring underclass. Ugly stuff. Also, net for the US, darned expensive. Obozo was just happy to see the US weakened one more serious way.(5) He insulted our two best allies, England and Israel.(6) He wasted US blood and treasure in Iraq and Akrapistan and got nothing useful done. Of COURSE he got nothing done — he was on the side of the radical Islamic terrorists, which is high treason.(7) He did nothing about North Korea.(8) He pushed the global warming scam which is sabotage of the US economy. Similarly for the North Dakota, etc. pipelines.(9) He wasted money on subsidies for carbon-free, “renewable” energy.(10) He let the US trade deficit rise which put millions of US workers out of jobs and devastated large parts of the US.(11) He put up with the Clinton, uranium, Russia deal which was bribery and high treason.(12) He weakened the US military.(13) He welcomed illegal immigration across our southern border including the crime and drugs.(14) He had the EPA going hysterical and sabotaging the US economy.Why, you wanted a combination of Martin Luther King, Mahatma Ghandi, and Jesus Christ and convinced yourself that you got that? You didn’t.That was about two minutes.Obozo did a really good job hurting your country, and you didn’t even notice. He had the US burning, and it appears that you just thought it was a big BBQ with everyone singing Kumbaya.Obozo stuck it to Whitey, and now the MSM wants to say that we need a war on white males. The MSM is perfectly willing to use white guilt to support Obozo, have a war on white males, and see the US burn, all just to get headlines.With Obozo and the MSM, the US has been working hard to extract miserable defeat from the jaws of magnificent victory, and you didn’t even notice.Did you mention growing up?Here did you start to learn?