Have you ever needed to email someone – a stranger, asking them for a favor? How can one compose email such that they will be read and responded to? How do we effectively email someone who gets a lot of email?
Whether personal or business, the ability to compose efficient and effective email is super useful – both in terms of productivity and responsiveness.
We’re all busy, and we’ve all received long, ambiguous and rambling email. Ironically, most of us have also been guilty of writing such verbose email while requesting for someone else’s time.
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I just came across a very detailed and explanatory visual guide to the financial crisis that more or less sums up the current situation in an easy to follow flow chart. Although it’s initially a bit visually overwhelming it really does help explain things clearly once you start reading.
In a study last year, Dr Thomas Jackson of Loughborough University, England, found that it takes an average of 64 seconds to recover your train of thought after interruption by email (bit.ly/email2). So people who check their email every five minutes waste 81/2hours a week figuring out what they were doing moments before.
This is a stunning statistic and I can definitely see the effect that rampant email checking can have in the workplace. In our dynamic office environment I’ve been trying to keep to checking email to 3-4 times per day. I find that once in the morning, once after lunch, and once closer to the end of the day really helps keep my focus task oriented. Apparently it also saves me 8.5 hours a week just in refocusing time according to this. One of the biggest reasons I’ve ran with this approach to checking email is that it also allows me to get through email in a very rapid way by batching writing emails together at one time. Just a few bits of food for thought.
Well it’s officially September and our big summer code push is almost over. We’ve just finished off a handful of new websites which we will be showcasing in our design portfolio this month – but the bigger news is that we’re preparing to launch our first 2 big open source products. We will also be relaunching our own website with a fresh design to accommodate our new products.
There are no official timelines yet for when we will launch them, but it likely will happen close towards the end of September / beginning of October. Both open source products will be based off of the Zend Framework and will most likely be released under either the MIT license or the BSD license. The products are also uniquely positioned, meaning that both don’t have direct competitors in the open-source market as there isn’t anything else out there that provides the functionality that they do. We are still working on naming both products so instead of giving everything away now we’ve decided to wait until the end of the month.
Today while looking through some of my favorite blogs I found an awesome article about creating a collaborative work environment (or is it known as a collaborative workplace?). The company who originally spawned the idea is located in Phoenix but I wonder if it would be possible to create a similar working group here in Victoria. I know I’ve had some interest from a few designers here in Victoria on the Jelly concept, but it looks like concept is more of a full-time work environment.
Phoenix is the 5th largest metropolitan area in the United States, and has the distributed talent and resources to become a powerful destination in the web industry. Unfortunately, it has always lacked the spark that brings everything together.
Local organizations that should be helping the web industry thrive have become bogged down in local politics, turf wars, or ego showcasing. Most web workers have given up on the hope that they’ll actually change anything.
Attempts to emulate Silicon Valley (or other web hubs) have typically failed, because they simply don’t fit the unique Phoenix culture and geography. We need to build a new community model, a Phoenix-centric one, to turn this city into a relevant hub of web talent and innovation.
That’s where Gangplank comes in.
If you have any interest… fire me an email at email@example.com and I’ll start building a master list of individuals interested in the concept. I figure if we had a solid 3 to 5 groups who wanted to spit rent we could definitely get the whole thing going.
On March 29, 2008, cities across Canada, and around the world will turn off their lights for Earth Hour, a WWF event to raise awareness about climate change and symbolize that, working together the people of the world can make a difference in the fight against climate change.
Earth Hour has grown from a single event in Sydney, Australia in 2007 to a global phenomenon that will occur across six continents and in as many as 20 cities in 2008.
Toronto was the flagship Canadian city to commemorate Earth Hour 2008 but dozens of others including Ottawa, Vancouver and Montreal have already joined!
The goal is to get thousands of businesses and individuals to participate in this historic event, so we can show the nation and the world that Canadians are leaders in addressing climate change, one of the most critical issues facing our world today.
Simple Station is doing their part – do yours too!
Wow! It’s hard to believe it has been a whole month since I last posted. February has been super busy for us. We’ve moved into our own design studio, which we are now in the process of renovating and we’ve been deluged with all kinds of new client work. I’ve been meaning to update our portfolio for some time but it looks like it is going to have to wait just a little while longer.
This week I’ve been up to the Yukon on business, leaving Nathan and Anthony to hold down the fort at home in Victoria. They’ve got their hands full so I’m certain they will hardly even notice that I’ve left. The weather up north has been quite good with most days averaging -5 to -10 degrees Celsius in Whitehorse.
On a particularly cold evening I had a chance to sit down at a good friend’s birthday party and meet two truly unique Yukoner’s who run Dechenla Adventure Nature Tours. After seeing photos of the lodge and surrounding area I’m hoping to find a number of solid outdoors men or women to put together a group to visit the place. The photos speak for themselves. Stunning!
We have been thinking a lot about the benefits of collaborative work spaces as we have been recently hunting for commercial office space in our home town of Victoria. Evidently it is a lot more difficult than you would think to find good commercial space at a good price – and it makes a lot of environmental and financial sense to share space with another company if you can make it work.
Earlier this week I came across a site which got me even more interested in finding collaborative workspace partners.
Jelly is casual coworking. We invite people to work from our home for the day. We provide chairs and sofas, wireless internet, and interesting people to talk to, collaborate with, and bounce ideas off of.
You bring a laptop (or whatever you need to get work done) and a friendly disposition.
What a novel idea! Though it wouldn’t really work well for us right now to have an open space in our homes to have people stop by, it might if we could find some good office space. We just love ideas like this that are forward thinking and innovative. Some great ideas have come from Jelly as well. CommandShift3 for starters was a product of these Jelly sessions. Finding interesting and diverse people to work with is all part of the process.
Well it’s the time of year for resolutions and thinking up new and creative ways of staying excited about work and about life. One of the things we’ve been talking about is getting out as a group once a month for a hike, rock climbing adventure, or surfing expedition. We were all talking about how great it is to mix work with a little play once and again and as we’re all pretty outdoorsy guys it makes sense to augment hard work with some good fun. This is designed with three goals in mind:
- Promote outdoor lifestyles within the company
- Get to know each other better and build a greater sense of camaraderie
- Blue sky ideas while enjoying some good excercise
We plan to kick off the program in May this year. We may of course start a little earlier if we get a good weather window on a Friday.
We just wanted to extend a hearty happy new year to all of our clients. We have appreciated your business over the past year and we look forward to another good year of working with you. All the best!
From all the guys at Simple Station: Stuart, Nathan, Anthony and Graeme.