TMBA 348: You've Got Mail

TMBA348: You’ve Got Mail post image

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Email has been an all pervading part of entrepreneurial life for the last few decades. These days, Dan and Ian have mixed feelings about email in general. In exploring how to step up some of their strategies for dealing with it, they decided to talk to someone who is always happy to open his inbox.

Chris Van Patten of Van Patten Media is just that guy. Chris loves working with email, and he’s not afraid to share his feelings about it. In this episode, you’re going to hear some approaches to handling email and why, sometimes, it’s ok to give yourself permission not to respond.


Listen to this week’s show and learn:

  • Why Chris uses three different email accounts. (2:57)
  • How much time Chris spends on email each day. (4:12)
  • The power that comes with receiving a second email. (7:28)
  • How you could benefit from having someone answer your emails for you. (10:58)
  • Dan and Ian’s thoughts on how they might implement some of these strategies. (14:59)

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Dan & Ian

Published on 08.04.16
  • Haha, I loved the examples of what NOT to do… I get hundreds of e-mails from my students/subscribers and I can certainly relate!

    One thing I’m considering implementing is emphasizing a single “casual” way to interact with me, and keeping e-mail for the more in-depth discussions (so, handing out my address only to select people/customers).

    For example – having a free open Facebook group for my business that I come in and comment on to answer the lighter questions, or inquiries from people I don’t know that well. Advantage of this is that I can also hire someone to help me in there.

    Dan, it seems like blog comments sort of fulfill this role for you – people are more casual/brief, and you usually respond in a similar manner.

    The key is to keep it to ONE primary channel – only FB, or only the blog, or only Twitter (Twitter gets extra points for brevity!) – so that you don’t feel like you have a zillion channels to stay on top of. If a person doesn’t use that channel, too bad… if they really wanted to connect with you they’d join.

    The main disadvantage is that when meeting someone new who wants to keep in touch, it’s easier just to give them your e-mail address and kind of weird to say “go leave a comment on my blog / go join my FB group to connect with me.”

  • that’s actually absolutely true, sometimes for that very reason I’ll reply to blog comments as a priority over email. my concern with trying to limit things to one channel seems to be shared with you: what happens when there’s spill. it seems inevitable. i guess it’s not so strange to think that someday some smart person will find a way to pull it all together and create a massive prioritized inbox.

  • Peter Hartree

    Hey folks. I enjoyed this week’s show.

    I thought you might be interested in a Gmail extension I’m working on:

    The extension hides your Gmail inbox by default. Other views remain accessible as normal, so you can search your archive or compose messages *without getting distracted*.

    If you have a moment to give it a try, I’d love to hear your thoughts :)

  • cheers Peter!

  • This is a very relevant topic in our current world of many ways to connect.

    I wouldn’t mind hearing a show and different views of how people are handling Facebook. I’m finding it’s a bit tricky as people handle it differently. There are a lot of people that are collecting friends purely to grow their network. Then there are others who are actually using fb to keep their inner personal circle. Then many others somewhere in between.

    If you meet someone at a party, they friend you, you follow up with a nice to meet you message. Acceptable? Met at a networking event 2 years ago. Come to town ask to meet for lunch? Maybe this is broaching a larger topic that was touched upon in this ep. How do we manage 500 connections. What is good etiquette. Do you drop off people that don’t fall in your amount? Do you keep them “just in case”.

    What does everyone think?

  • it’s fascinating, it does seem most people in my network use it either 1) business or 2) like a public telephone book listing… it took me a little while to grok why FB bought whatsapp, but then i realized that I myself had moved my personal social graph onto personal messaging apps… anyway, I agree, this could a multi-part series :)

  • Really interesting question. I only accept people I’ve met or interacted with, and I make extensive use of Facebook’s “lists” feature, so I can classify connections as “close friends/family,” “people from Brazil,” “entrepreneurs,” “leads/customers,” and so on – thus allowing me to control which group sees which of my posts.

    I’m more picky when it comes to people asking for my time (requesting a Skype call, meetup, etc.) – really depends on how they approach me, what our relationship is like, how busy I am at the time, etc. Often I actually prefer for people to e-mail me instead of wanting to get on Skype, because then I can respond at my leisure and in fact it takes me less time to do so.

  • @ShaynaOliveira:disqus – The lists thing is a really good idea. My problem with that is it creates a lot of maintenance and and also you can’t post to multiple groups. I’m pretty sure I have “close friends” that are “entrepreneurs” that are “from brazil”. And for me.. I don’t want leads/customers connected to me on FB.

    @TropicalMBA:disqus – Interesting that most of your network is using it for business / phone book. I think your right that a lot of the personal stuff has moved over to whatsapp and FB Messenger groups. Unfortunately I feel that has brought us back to where we started regarding being less connected. I have a couple close friend group chats that are very active. But if something useful/interesting/important happens in my friend’s lives that are not in that daily circle. I want to know about it. But all their business contacts probably don’t / shouldn’t.

    It’s complicated, but I feel like the over-friending and businessization of FB has ruined the benefits that it created of keeping connected to interesting people who have lives that have overlapped yours.

    “businessization” is a word right? haha

  • Raphael S

    Every 3 months, I use It’s a free tool that basically helps you unsubscribe from any lists you’ve ever subscribed to, but in one single page. Super easy, highly recommended.

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