Thursday, June 03, 2010

Having Yourself Replaced By A Shell Script

Someone posted on my Facebook Page that they didn't know how I can be "on" all the time with Facebook, Twitter, blogging, writing books, speaking, and running two companies all at the same time. My first reaction was to simply be flip and say that I'd replaced myself with a shell script.

Then I got to thinking and realized that might be true.

My friend Vlad Mazek sometimes jokes about having himself replaced by a shell script. The truth is, many of us are already walking down that path. When I think of really, really busy people and really, really well known people I realize they all have "scripts" of some kind to deal with the overload.

For example . . .

I've had the same email address for fifteen years. [email protected]. It's been public since day one. It's on hundreds of domain names we own or manage. It's on dozens of web sites I run. It's been in newsgroups the whole time. And on and on.

In addition to being the greatest spam magnet on earth, this email address attracts a massive amount of legitimate opportunity. But I also filter Google Alerts, sales information, Facebook Feeds, Twitter tweets, PSA tickets, and all kinds of other information through this email address.

The other day I was on a conference call. 60 minutes. When I got off there were over 100 new emails in my inbox. Legitimate, not spam. Believe me, many people have it worse.

A couple years ago Gregory Davis, VP and General Manager of Dell, spoke to the XChange event. See my blog post about him falling on his sword apologizing for how horribly Dell treats their partners. Well, he gave out his email address and asked for feedback. So I posted that on the blog.

One partner came up to me and was angry with me for posting someone's email on the blog. Under the circumstances I thought it was appropriate.

But I also informed the partner that they need to think about what happens when you email Mr. Davis. Do you think he sits in front of his computer and opens every single email he gets? No. Couldn't possibly happen. Like many people, he has processes and procedures -- and shell scripts -- to filter his email

I have two assistants who scoop certain items out of my email so I don't have to deal with them.
I have autoresponders to deal with some things.
I have Outlook Rules to deal with a lot of things.

If I'm lucky, I can actually keep up on what's left over.

Another example . . .

is our PSA or CRM system. Whether you use Autotask, ConnectWise, Tigerpaw, Commit CRM, or whatever, your PSA system dramatically improves your life. I would bet that 90% of all business owners that use such a system are hooked for life. They might change from one PSA system to another (as we did), but they are not likely to going back to "notes" on their pocket PC.

Ticketing systems just make the world flow very easily. There are multiple ways for clients to communicate. Lots of ways for things to flow into the system. The tickets can be accessed from anywhere, worked from anywhere, closed from anywhere.

Automatic Rules

The original Industrial Revolution (mid 1800's) represented a massive explosion in automation. It was accompanied by unprecedented increase in new ideas, new occupations, and new opportunities. But there were also challenges because everything in the world seemed to be going just a little too fast. Of course all that innovation and opportunity went even faster in the late 1800's, early 1900's, mid 1900's, and late 1900's.

(If you're looking for a great book on the effects of everything going faster, see Faster: The Acceleration of Just About Everything by James Glick.)

While some people simply pine for the good old days and want to stave off the modern rush into the future, you can't. The world will continue to evolve faster and faster all the time. Technologies will continue to evolve.

And your coping mechanisms need to evolve.

My favorite Robin Robins marketing campaign is the "Bad Date" letter. Basically, the message is, "Is your computer consultant treating you like a bad date? Not returning your calls . . . etc." That campaign works because people want instant access and fast communication. It's also a good campaign because frustrated people will pay more than people who are not frustrated.

When you create automated processes for communications, you get more done. you appear to be in more places than one. And you actually make it easier for people to communicate with you.


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