The 900 Day Ping Pong Email

So what is the 900 day ping pong email?

Well it’s playing ping pong and emailing someone for 900 days straight without sleep.  WTF?  No, not literally but  in the tech world: it’s writing a heap of unique emails back and forth with small messages to get a very trivial task complete or transfer small amounts of data back and forth versus a project or full list of items to complete a full task (like a strike in a bowling game).  If you look at the time it takes to send out a single email, and considering that you use a laptop or desktop, it might take a minute or two to turn it on and connect to the internet, connect to your email client reply to the message.  If they respond back, if you have to get the answer fast, get your notes and make sure you copy and paste the correct links, username, password and other data in the process.  Something like this with a closed computer can take 5 minutes without evening transferring data versus a phone call might be able to get this task done in less than a minute.

bowlingIs this ping pong email process effective in terms of time management? Probably not. If a phone call get it done in a short time frame, it’s probably better to have requirements of the project and the goal asserted before you spend typing large amounts of text in an email with a response that isn’t helpful or exactly what you were looking for.  The line item request is usually the best and practical way to get stuff done.  The biggest companies in the world use the format. If you have ever go to McDonalds,  you know you order  fries, a drink and a burger. If you pick and choose it separately, they usually costs more, but you choose to get their pre-packaged combo deals instead…why?  I don’t want fries with that!? Well that messes up their time efficiency package calculator and price margin.  It’s a wild card. Usually most web companies want to make a package deal because they know how much it costs to complete a certain tasks and see the profit margin and time it takes to get something done. The same thing goes for email.

In short, I just sent them an email.  Wow I just spent 4 minutes on one email letting them know how to assess the problem  with a nice paragraph (searching for the hyperlink, copy and paste other data and upload the image and  32mb pdf).  Now imagine 900 emails within a couple of days, is it really that practical.

There is a funny joke about getting emails and text message. It’s the one that goes like this and I’m sure it’s not even funny any more,

Did you get my text message? I’m just emailing to check if you got the first message I sent you?

Ah, did the text message or email get lost in the missing sock world?  There are larger dynamics working in this thought.  Are there too many chefs in the kitchen and only one person cooking food for the entire restaurant? Is the person in charge not quite sure or very indecisive?  Is the person receiving the message busy? Are they working on it or have finished the task but you didn’t check it? Is the micromanagement process effective?  Words are important but is time more valuable?


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