One of my favourite people on the planet is Luis Suarez. Not just an IBMer, a collaborator, an interlocutor or an inhabitant of Gran Canaria Island in Spain — how cool is that — he is one of the foremost outliers pushing our organizations towards a world without email. And who would blame him? No matter what statistic you read or research paper you (hopefully) digest – like this one – email traffic is growing and it doesn’t seem to be stopping. Luis argues “if there is something out there that it’s killing our very own productivity, it’s not email itself, but our abuse of it that’s killing such productivity.” I believe him. My problem is not with Luis, his approach or his quest …
It’s perhaps fair to say a majority of Microsoft Outlook email users might utilize the following adage if pressed into a decision: “I’ll give you my email when you pry it from my cold, dead hands!” People sure do love their email. The Radicati Group recently published findings suggesting in 2012, Microsoft Exchange (the back-end system that delivers the actual email to the Microsoft Outlook client) holds 53% market share of all enterprise email systems (powered by the Outlook client) yet by 2016 this will jump to 68% market share. This naturally got me thinking. It got me thinking because the conundrum with email is that its user driven in a one-to-one or a one-to-many flow. It’s not exactly collaboration, rather, its piecemealed, jagged communication.
Picture this for a minute. You’re facilitating a face-to-face meeting with about six people. You’re presenting a couple of topics on the overhead projector that describe next year’s objectives. As you emphatically make a point, back turned to your attendees and you’re moving towards the screen, half of your audience pulls out their mobile device seemingly trying to see who just emailed, tweeted or texted some obvious morsel of urgent information to them. You ask a question. There is silence. You ask the question again, only this time you pinpoint Jason – one of the attention deficit culprits – asking him to respond. He asks you to repeat the question because in his words he “didn’t hear the point you were trying to make.” You take
“Oh Emaileo, Emaileo! Wherefore art thou Emaileo?“, she cried, waving her mobile device, seeking attention from those passing by as she sat on a rusted park bench adjacent the maple & arbutus tree leaves turning red, orange and yellow. “Where have you gone as I miss you so?” As a seasoned executive in high-tech Fantasy Land, Ruliet was no stranger to change. In fact, she ate change for breakfast. Her King used to say, “Wow Ruliet, you may want to spread Ritalin on your toast in the morning.” But, alas, Ruliet was undeterred. She continued her quest to be on the bleeding edge of change. She couldn’t spell the word chasm if she tried. One fine Spring day she heard of a Knight in the