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Spending My Life Writing Emails; It’s a Good Thing

Some days I wonder what the hell did I do today. It seems I spent a large portion of it sending emails. Then today I read the CNET.com interview with Caterina Fake, Web 2.0 guru and co-founder of Flickr. Here is the answer to her first question:

My nephew asked what I do for a living, and I told him I write e-mails. That means connecting people, solving problems, trying to get everyone moving in one direction–also, making plans and proposals, trying to invent new things, finding good ideas.

E-mail and instant messenging and meetings are most of my day…

She is now in charge of innovation at Yahoo, which now owns Flickr. The bureaucracy, in a big place like Yahoo, is needed, she says, but will not foster innovation. Her answer:

You have to have the supertanker and the speedboats.

Here is a lesson from Flickr, which is now enormous, for the news business::

We very carefully built the community on Flickr, person by person. The team and I greeted every single person who arrived, introduced them around, hung out in the chatrooms.

It was a very hands-on process, building the community. And in the beginning Flickr was built side-by-side with feedback from the community: We were posting over 50 times a day in the forums.

That’s what I think has to happen in the new new newsroom. It has to be reconstructed, at least at first, person by person. However, that will be a hard concept for big impersonal companies to comprehend. So bring on the speedboats.



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One Response to “Spending My Life Writing Emails; It’s a Good Thing”

  1. Grayson Says:

    Well I’m glad I read this. I meticulously, obesessively? answer each and every email I get, whether out of the blue or from friends and family or for building my business. Unless they’re just pure ugly meanness. But most are not like that at all.

    Sometimes I get up from hours and the computer and my back is so stiff from sitting still I can hardly make it out of the room. I don’t know how much more my back can take, but still I type… and type… and type. I hope there’s more than carpal tunnel in my future for such efforts.

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