Email and Innovation

It’s not very often you see those two words in the same sentence? I realise it’s been a while since I last posted, more than a year in fact, but I’ve been busy, really busy, perhaps even too busy. There have been lots of ideas, with more than 20 draft posts languishing in the WordPress wasteland, that I simply haven’t got around to finishing.

Since I created this blog site I’ve been through a lot of changes; an acquisition, a change of role, a 5000 mile home move, a new addition to the family and one of the biggest development projects the team have ever undertaken (and successfully delivered!).

This recent post “You want to be fired from your job this year“, by Theo Priestley, struck a chord. Not because I had been fired but had voluntarily released myself from employment for the same reasons he outlines. After all the changes I simply found innovation harder and it didn’t seem to just affect me but many around me too.

This new environment made it harder and harder for me to really enjoy work. So I quit. As Theo points out “Saying that you can’t start a new job or create a new business in a recession is like saying you can’t fix a boat because it’s leaking.” An idea I have always believed in. So here I am taking the first tentative steps on my own and it feels good!

Where have all the emails gone?

Monday morning was my first day of freedom and the first thing I noticed? The only email in my inbox was a digest from The Next Web. As had become my habit I checked every 5 – 10 minutes but nothing else arrived… all day. I spent several hours discussing my ideas and plans with some friends at a startup just entering beta. In those few hours I came away with more ideas and more excitement about the future than I have in the last 12 months.

What struck me is the amount of time that I was spending reading and replying to emails that, for the most part, were only loosely related to my role. Part of the problem is in giving all emails the same value, like some sort of aged rock star intent on replying to every single piece of fan mail, I felt I had to honour every question or request for information with the same level of attention.

I know in time my inbox will begin to fill up again but I will be more disciplined about it. If you have an important message for me you get the email subject and the first sentence of the email to get the point across. If I don’t get it from this then please don’t expect a reply I’ll be too busy thinking about other things!