Email Overload Fix: 3 Sentence Emails

My inbox problems are nothing compared to the TechCrunch writers. Or, to my boss Michael Arrington. Two years ago, when he wrote a post about email overload and a crisis in communication, he had 2,433 unread messages sitting in his inbox. Today, the count is 8 times higher: 20,131 unread messages. And this doesn’t include additional inbox items from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, voicemail, text messages, Skype, etc.

Let’s assume Mike did nothing else but read emails 24/7 – no writing posts, no talking on the phone, no eating, and no sleeping – well, that one might be accurate. It would take him 1 week to just read his email, assuming each email takes an average of 30 seconds to read and digest.

Now, let’s say all of his emails were 3 sentences or less. The average time to read them would be drop to about 10 seconds. He could get through them all in a little more than 2 days.

I’ll admit the 3 sentence email isn’t going to solve the email problem completely. In Mike’s email post two years ago, he wrote “The long term answer is that someone needs to create a new technology that allows us to enjoy our life but not miss important messages.” He said if he had the right solution, he would quit his job and go do it. Since then, there have been some minor solutions, but the email giant seems to grow just like Moore’s law.


Jon Orlin | //techcrunch.com


Email is taking up too much time in our lives.

Do yourself and your recipients a favor by making your emails 3 sentences or less.

If we all do it, imagine the time we’ll have to do other things.

If this was an actual email reply and not a blog post, it would have ended before this sentence started. I’ve been trying a new solution to email overload by limiting emails to 3 sentences or less. You can learn the details in just 5 sentences at three.sentenc.es. The basic concept is to treat all email replies like SMS messages. I take this one step further and try to write initial emails in 3 sentences or less whenever possible.

I first learned about 3 sentence emails from a post by Kevin Rose, where he lists 5 good email time saving tips.

The inbox has become the “dreaded inbox” for so many people. A recent study by Xobni claimed 1 in 5 Americans check email either as the first thing they do in the morning or the last thing at night. 26% of Americans feel they can’t handle or feel overwhelmed by the number of emails they receive during vacation. Another report [PDF] by The Radicati Group says the typical corporate user sends 36 emails and receives 61 legitimate emails during the average day. An IDC study estimates email consumes an average of 13 hours per week per information worker.

Since starting at TechCrunch TV, I get about 100 to 200 emails a day which require action or a response. The newly launched Google Priority Inbox, which is getting postive reviews, helps. Although venture investor Jeff Clavier discovered it can make some mistakes. Google decided his wife’s emails weren’t important. Not good. Leer más “Email Overload Fix: 3 Sentence Emails”

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In Shock Move, Google Starts Advertising On Facebook

I’d have to think that this is a bit of a PR blunder from Google and I’m also surprised that the ads were approved by Facebook but I guess the only way of looking at it is that Facebook reckons Google’s money is any good as anybody’s. I guess the logic from Google’s point of view is that they want to target a whole new audience and like the fact that they can target these ads by region and demographic which is why Facebook is as attractive a proposition as it is. If you can’t beat em join em!


by Niall Harbison | //thenextweb.com

We all know about the impending social war that is brewing up between Facebook and Google but today it has taken an interesting turn with Google starting to pay Facebook for advertising space on their platform to advertise their browser Google Chrome.

It’s clear that Google are on a massive push to acquire users for it’s browser in it’s battle with Firefox, Safari and IE and although I have seen adverts for Chrome in all sorts of innovative places the last place in the world I expected to see them was on Facebook. I wonder how Microsoft (an investor in Facebook with a strategic partnership) feels about these ads given they would be one of the main competitors in the browser wars.

Leer más “In Shock Move, Google Starts Advertising On Facebook”

You Know You’re a Freelancer When . . . Part II

I am utterly in love with the fantabulous readers of FreelanceSwitch! Your dozens of comments and additions to the original post were classic, creative and straight comedy!

Here’s the sequel post, inspired by and attributed to the brilliant and magnificent readers of FreelanceSwitch:
You Know You’re a Freelancer When . . .

1. Your idea of a casual day out involves being dressed to the nines with an extra splash of *bling bling* because, hey… “after six weeks in PJs, I’m ready for my close up dahling!” ~ Inspired by Storm and Izabela Tenenboim
2. Your internet playground PC (or Mac – yeah that’s right, I’m not a hater!) that used to be your gateway to World of Warcraft is now your productivity prison. “Ah and I used to have a life!” ~ Inspired by Nabeel Amin
3. Your therapist starts asking you why you talk to yourself… and answer yourself… and then said therapist asks you to click “Send” to submit your response. ~ Inspired by Mark Hawkins
4. I’ve got TWO WORDS for you: Bunny Slippers!! ~ Inspired by Ben Tzu
5. You are overly and dangerously obsessed with checking your mail. {And your baffled mail man is wondering why you’re tugging at his pant cuff instead of the rabid dog he’s used to fending off.} ~ Inspired by Susan Johnston, Izabela Tenenboim, Amanda, and Michael Kwan


I am utterly in love with the fantabulous readers of FreelanceSwitch! Your dozens of comments and additions to the original post were classic, creative and straight comedy!

Here’s the sequel post, inspired by and attributed to the brilliant and magnificent readers of FreelanceSwitch:

You Know You’re a Freelancer When . . .

  1. Your idea of a casual day out involves being dressed to the nines with an extra splash of *bling bling* because, hey… “after six weeks in PJs, I’m ready for my close up dahling!” ~ Inspired by Storm and Izabela Tenenboim
  2. Your internet playground PC (or Mac – yeah that’s right, I’m not a hater!) that used to be your gateway to World of Warcraft is now your productivity prison. “Ah and I used to have a life!” ~ Inspired by Nabeel Amin
  3. Your therapist starts asking you why you talk to yourself… and answer yourself… and then said therapist asks you to click “Send” to submit your response. ~ Inspired by Mark Hawkins
  4. I’ve got TWO WORDS for you: Bunny Slippers!! ~ Inspired by Ben Tzu
  5. You are overly and dangerously obsessed with checking your mail. {And your baffled mail man is wondering why you’re tugging at his pant cuff instead of the rabid dog he’s used to fending off.} ~ Inspired by Susan Johnston, Izabela Tenenboim, Amanda, and Michael Kwan
  6. You can’t relate to Office Space, but Freelance Freedom has you off your chair in stitches. “Yep, been there…” ~ Inspired by Janed
  7. You’ve got to schedule intimacy into your To Do list and your family begins communicating with you via email. (Just to make sure you heard me, even though I’m sitting right next to you… hello? Are you even paying att… oh forget it.) ~ Inspired by Kathy and Amanda
  8. You’re beginning to suspect that your iPod is developing an uncanny intuition or an unyielding sense of devilish humor. “Oh I love this song!” quickly evolves into “Wait, didn’t I just hear this song?” ~ Inspired by Andy and his 1200 song iPod playlist
  9. Virtual colleagues you’ve never met know more about you than your physical friends. Plus you start telling more stories about them than you do about your own life… (yep, that’s right. Get out of the house much?) ~ Inspired by Natalia
  10. 9 to 5 sometimes means PM to AM. Yeah that whole growing without sunlight thing… funny how that works. ~ Inspired by Barbara Camisa
  11. Blogging about every position your cat collapses into… or that hot new brush palette for Photoshop… actually feels like you’re engaging in a social life {Yes comments = “my life has meaning” and I’m okay with that!} ~ Inspired by ameetkarn
  12. Your car still has the full tank of gas you put in it a week ago and you’re curiously intrigued by everyone’s meltdown over gas prices. ~ Inspired by Misti Sandafar
  13. Showers get regulated to the afternoon, evening or… because hey, you can take that first 8am (or 11am in my case!) phone call in your PJs. And then the follow up emails, oh and that fascinating conversation happening on Facebook, oh and I better update my status so everyone knows my dog just farted, and… ~ Inspired by Vio
  14. Your friends have to ambush you 20 days in advance (and don’t forget how they strong arm you into pre-purchase tickets with your credit card) just to get you out to the cinema for an evening. ~ Inspired by Marta
  15. Love in your household means knowing how to say “Yep honey, just finishing up this email!” ~ Inspired by Marta and Ginette
  16. Rush hour traffic no longer affects you. You’re just glad to be driving anywhere because AMEN! it means you’re out of the house! ~ Inspired by Julie Parenteau
  17. Your idea of a heinous disaster is losing internet access or being relegated to dial up speed. “What do you mean the internet will be spotty here? I was told when I purchased these plane tickets that I’d have internet access! {Um yeah… it’s coming from SPACE and you’re 30,000 frickin feet in the AIR!} ~ Inspired by Rexaniel and a hilarious Conan O’ Brien skit with Louis C. K.
  18. You reorganize your family’s sleeping arrangements just to make sure your home office is a write off. ~ Inspired by Chris Cade Leer más “You Know You’re a Freelancer When . . . Part II”

Adsense: Why Bloggers Don’t Get It

You may post about commercial related subjects like your job, what you like to buy, or even your hobbies. However these posts are all about your life, they are no more commercially viable or attractive than say Aunt Millie’s Holiday Newsletter. Yes we all have an Aunt Millie in our family, every year she sends out a finely crafted newsletter in a coordinating envelope she ordered from paperdirect.com telling us all about her family. We learn how hard her husband works, how many activities her kids are in and how good they are at them. We also read the details of how her scrapbooking business hasn’t taken off yet, but she promises to spend more time on it right after New Years. So if you were a business owner would you want to advertise anywhere on Aunt Millie’s Newsletter? Then why would a business want to pay you top dollar to advertise on your blog? What’s that, you say your blog gets (insert a high number here) of readers per day, surely that has to be worth something? Well did you know Aunt Millie sends out over 800 copies of her holiday newsletter to 17 countries, on 4 continents? Now before you get all fired up about it, understand that I don’t have a problem with you having a personal blog or sharing it with the public. However your expectation that it has value outside of your family/friends/community, is a serious misconception.


Michael Gray

By Michael Gray | //wolf-howl.com

In doing the research for my series of Adsense articles, two common ideas kept getting repeated:

  • My Adsense ads are horrible, they only pay out (insert low dollar figure here)
  • My Adsense CTR is horrible, I only get a (insert extremely low CTR here)

To be fair these comments weren’t coming just from bloggers, but bloggers did make up an overwhelmingly large percentage. I think this stems from a misconception on the part of the bloggers that they are entitled to high payout and CTR. I’d like to spend a little time to share my feelings on this subject. In the early days a blog may just have been an online diary or journal, but like the days of the Nehru jackets, they are gone. What a blog is now is Chronologically Structured Content Management System, as opposed to the classic web hierarchical structured implementation. Let’s be clear, you can still use a blog as your online diary or journal, but nowdays it’s just as likely to be used as a commercial blog. Yes, I did just say commercial blog, and no the earth didn’t open under my feet and swallow me whole for saying it. Let’s take some time to look at a your typical blog. Leer más “Adsense: Why Bloggers Don’t Get It”

I Wish We Had Google Understand Not Google Instant Search

Earlier this week Google launched the latest iteration of the SERP’s, Google Instant. While I, like everyone else, had fun playing and finding some of the holes in it, it’s really not a product that I think will succeed. To Google’s credit, I can’t ever say that I’ve heard people complain that Google takes too long to serve them results. What I do hear and personally experience is that I wish Google understood what I was looking for …
Google didn’t learn that all this complexity isn’t what people want from the failed Google wave and Sidewiki experiments …

I understand why Google launched a product like Google instant search: they feel that, because they are smart enough at predicting what you are looking for, they can interpret your query after a word or two–or sometimes after just a few letters. They think they know you so well that they can guess what you want without being told. Without getting too involved in what’s going on behind the scenes, Google is using previous search volume to predict the most likely term(s) you are looking for. It’s a sophisticated leap forward in technology to be sure, but it’s not something that solves a problem I hear people complain about. (As a side, this does give a lot more context to the bizarre statement Eric Schmidt made a few weeks ago: “They want Google to tell them what they should be doing next.”)


Post image for I Wish We Had Google Understand Not Google Instant Search

Michael Gray

By Michael Gray | //wolf-howl.com

Earlier this week Google launched the latest iteration of the SERP’s, Google Instant. While I, like everyone else, had fun playing and finding some of the holes in it, it’s really not a product that I think will succeed. To Google’s credit, I can’t ever say that I’ve heard people complain that Google takes too long to serve them results. What I do hear and personally experience is that I wish Google understood what I was looking for …

Google didn’t learn that all this complexity isn’t what people want from the failed Google wave and Sidewiki experiments …

I understand why Google launched a product like Google instant search: they feel that, because they are smart enough at predicting what you are looking for, they can interpret your query after a word or two–or sometimes after just a few letters. They think they know you so well that they can guess what you want without being told. Without getting too involved in what’s going on behind the scenes, Google is using previous search volume to predict the most likely term(s) you are looking for. It’s a sophisticated leap forward in technology to be sure, but it’s not something that solves a problem I hear people complain about. (As a side, this does give a lot more context to the bizarre statement Eric Schmidt made a few weeks ago: “They want Google to tell them what they should be doing next.”) Leer más “I Wish We Had Google Understand Not Google Instant Search”

Your Facebook Fan Page – 5 Ways to Make the Most of It

If your business targets consumers, do you already have a Facebook fan page? If not, why? With more than 350 million active Facebook users, it is time to embrace social media and let it help grow your business. Not only is Facebook a great place to expose yourself to thousands of new customers, but Google is now using content from social media sites in their search results. Once you have created a fan page, there are a few things you can do to ensure you get the most out of it. Here are some tips and guidelines to use.


Curtis Stevens

By Curtis Stevens | //wolf-howl.com

If your business targets consumers, do you already have a Facebook fan page?  If not, why?  With more than 350 million active Facebook users, it is time to embrace social media and let it help grow your business.  Not only is Facebook a great place to expose yourself to thousands of new customers, but Google is now using content from social media sites in their search results.  Once you have created a fan page, there are a few things you can do to ensure you get the most out of it.  Here are some tips and guidelines to use. Leer más “Your Facebook Fan Page – 5 Ways to Make the Most of It”