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How about a "To All" email at your place?

I've just come back after taking a vehement scolding from a senior management staff member for having sent an email to all the 150 odd employees in the company. The email I wrote was went something like this:

<QUOTE>
Since there's nothing like an internal discussion board in our company that I know of, I opted the email route to garner relevant facts. I want to poll your experience with .NET, for those of you who have had any sort of formal training in .NET. Yes, this mail is about .NET and if you are not sure what that word means, you may skip the rest of this email.

I am interested in knowing from those of you who have had a formal training in any of the languages of .NET.:
1.    Was the .NET training you had any helpful?
2.    Did it make you competent enough to write good .NET code?
3.    Which institution did you enroll for a training at?
4.    What was the duration of the training?
5.    What was the training fee?
6.    Which aspects of .NET did they cover - the Next Generation Web Services (NGWS, the CLS/R framework etc.) runtime, C#, ADO.NET, ASP.NET, VB.NET.
7.    Did the training leave you satisfied? Do you think you could have educated yourself better than the training did?
8.    Which is the one best book you've come accross on the subject? I could find a whole lot of books on the Internet, but that won't be worth hearing it from the newbie who found that particular book the most insightful along his journey. Please gimme a name that you really really found worthwhile.
9.    How many companies around Delhi do you know of that have actually started writing applications in .NET?
Experience has taught me that some people are likely to take offence when asked for answers without being told the reason as to why they're being questioned. So I might as well tell you the reason for my curiosity.
·    Inspite of hearing about the .NET projects that some companies of our size are doing, I have also heard that none of the companies have so far implemented a single project in .NET that has gone out of the door, so the implementation of the technology is yet to be tested in our country.
·    There's also a fear amidst foreign companies outsourcing to India and other low-cost markets about the maturity of .NET expertise available in these countries. As I mentioned that none of the companies of our size in India that I know of have delivered a single project in .NET, so it follows that a very poor percentage of the actual .NET work outsourced to Indian companies has actually been completed.
·    I want to look like some SUPER INNOVATOR always busy churning brilliant ideas and thinking ahead of time to my boss and his boss and all the bosses above. Ok, that was a joke.

To send in your answers, please reply to me. If you've read this far, I want to thank you for taking the time.

Regards,
Warm Regards,
Sathyaish Chakravarthy.
</QUOTE>

I wrote the email because I was advised to showcase our expertise on the subject. I don't want to reveal more. A previous company I worked for did not mind us sending a "To All" email, especially even when people sent Birthday Wish Emails, Movie Schedules, Reminders and all kinds of Non-Sense Email to "all" in the company.

On two earlier occassions that I sent a "To All" email, at one time suggesting improvements to our website in a writing choking with wit and humour and the second time as a reply to a "To All" email asking suggestions for a name to give to our internal newsletter, I got lots of humorous responses from many of the business people and people you'd say are unrelated, people I'd never spoken to even once or some of those who I might have not even seen even though they work here.

I want to ask you, what is it with your company? Are they also feverishly particular or squeamish about limiting "To All" emails?

Sathyaish Chakravarthy
Wednesday, November 19, 2003

For some reason, companies get weird about this. To be fair, there have been many abuses of this practice. My favorite example was when a poorly performing contract worker took a scolding email from his manager and forwarded it to the whole company (~8,000). We all got to see how incompetent he was in print (his manager's words) and by action (our email system crashed for several hours with the load).

My advice to anyone who want to do a "Send All" is to clear this with senior management first. If a company develops some sort of protocol (not HTTP you geeks :-) for this practice, then I think it's highly valuable if not overused.

StickyWicket
Wednesday, November 19, 2003

1)  once again this proves that large companies are to be avoided at all possible costs.

2)  if your mail system crashed under the 'load' of sending 8000 emails, then the contractor isn't the only person incompetent at your company.

ted
Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Now if it contained a 10Mb attachment ...

Just me (Sir to you)
Wednesday, November 19, 2003

No, no. No attachment. That was just it. Only the text and nothing else. How is at your workplace? I think many times the people objecting to this mass email trafficing are also expressing their fear of feeling insecured because they might be answerable to people above them in the heirarchy. For instance, they might be questioned, "Who's this guy from your team? You don't give them any work to do that they have the time for all this?" Especially when there are conflicts in between different departments within the organization where my boss (the development team head) does not like your boss (the MIS team head) and they have never hit it together or gotten along in the last 4 years or so.

Sathyaish Chakravarthy
Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Er, why didn't you limit your message to all the developers that you know? No need to spam all the PHBs and their clueless non-technical minions.

Michael Bolton
Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Michael Bolton sings,
>Er, why didn't you limit your message to all the developers that you know? No need to spam all the PHBs and their clueless non-technical minions.

Yes. I am going to do that from now on. I am more interested in what it is like with other companies. BTW, if you're really the Micheal Bolton I am thinking you are, then I loved your 97 Grammy award winner, "How am I supposed to live without you" very much.

Sathyaish Chakravarthy
Wednesday, November 19, 2003

I suspect a 'Too All' email wouldn't go over too well at my company either.

As for the singer Michael Bolton, you're certainly free to like his singing, Sathyaish, but personally I think he's a no-talent assclown. <g>

Michael Bolton
Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Some executives are very touchy about people's inboxes (especially theirs) being overloaded with too many useless emails -- and it's hard not to agree with them. A good portion of email I get that is sent to internal mailing lists is a waste of my time -- I find that my managers are quite happy to drop by and remind me about the TPS cover sheets in person.

PS: Michael, did you ever find out what "PC Load Letter" means anyway?

Burninator
Wednesday, November 19, 2003

We have listserv set up where I work (about 8000 people).  There is about 150 or so lists, and you join the ones you want.  No reall "to all" emails, except for a secretary that insists on emailing everyone in our section (~120 people) large powerpoint presentations of puppy pictures.  Thats an abuse, in my opinion.  Work-related stuff isn't.

Andrew Hurst
Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Even around here, mostly girls who are not good at programming and are only good at housekeeping and chit-chatting will forward puppy pictures and babies/infants crying in JPEGs and anything else they find cute, and which I find annoying sometimes.

Sathyaish Chakravarthy
Wednesday, November 19, 2003

<hate>

I hate it when everybody and his brother feel the need to manage their own email list so you get zillion email lists like

the_list_i_feel_is_important@foo.com
I_manage_this_list_and_feel_powerful@foo.com
if_anybody_has_a_mailinglist_it_should_be_me@foo.com

and after getting their own very important mailing list they feel the need to add people to it, ofcourse without asking.

</hate>

PS. I delete the puppies :-)

Patrik
Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Just my guess, but sending a long email with detailed survey questions to everyone looks rather "official" and makes it look like you're making an end run around management.  The tone of the email also seems a bit offputting.

If you had simply sent a one-paragraph email in a "chatty" tone of voice (something like "Hey, I'm interested in people's experience with different .Net training programs.  Let me know if you've been to any, or had any experience with .Net.  Thanks.") I doubt anyone would have cared.

Robert Jacobson
Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Hmm, you could be right, Robert!

Sathyaish Chakravarthy
Wednesday, November 19, 2003

In our company we had a Distribution List (We are on exchange server) which sends out mail to all the employees in particular branch.

People started sending all sorts of mails and then the access to DL was limited to senior folks only!

[Btw, I work for one of the Top 3 IT companies!]

JD
http://jdk.phpkid.org

JD
Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Let me add a little more info:

I work for one of the Top 3 IT companies in India!

;) :o)

JD
http://jdk.phpkid.org

JD
Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Top 3 IT companies
Indian Company
Mangalore
Not difficult to guess...
<Wierdo>Let's hire me????</Wierdo>

Sathyaish Chakravarthy
Wednesday, November 19, 2003

>Even around here, mostly girls who are not good at programming and are only good at housekeeping and chit-chatting will forward puppy pictures and babies/infants crying in JPEGs and anything else they find cute, and which I find annoying sometimes.

woh, admittedly girls do get soppy about dumb stuff sometimes, but if you are silly enough to point a finger in such a sexist way (only good at housekeeping? have you seen there houses? how do you know this?...oh it is a sterotype...I get it.....) you deserve what you get.

You may have found the email interesting, but I can tell you if I received an email of that length, addressed to the entire company, surveying me like that, I would probably (all annoyance about the sexist comments aside) think you were too full on with limited idea about social protocols. And my opinion of a colleague would drop slightly (one email really only warrants 'slightly' but continued stuff well...)

But I think you female housekeepe stuff said it all....

Aussie Chick
Wednesday, November 19, 2003

"Even around here, mostly girls who are not good at programming and are only good at housekeeping "

Hehehe..Say...tell us how you really feel!  :')

Mark Hoffman
Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Assuie, I apologize. That was not meant to be a bigoted remark against the fair-sex. I was saying what I see around. I have seen females who are not good at programming, very homely, talkative etc. That does not go to say that I do not respect women and look at all of them with the same eye. On the contrary, I do regard women as a better sex than the male, again not on the basis of any sectarian misconception I nurture but because of my inclination to the Hindu Vedanta, the scientific dissection of the scriptural injunctions in the Hindu literature.

Sathyaish Chakravarthy
Wednesday, November 19, 2003

>Assuie

Taht was a tpyo aagin. I must be jailed.

Sathyaish Chakravarthy
Wednesday, November 19, 2003

oh, you don't need to apologise to me, the remark wasn't about me. (I suck at housework, I periodically collapse onto the couch moaning 'I hate this can we stop' while my husband vacuums...).

What I was saying, was that you are very quick to judge, and make such a broad comment, even if some people think these things, they usually understand social grace enough to keep their mouths closed especially.

My point being, that if you didn't know a comment like that would be taken badly, instead of sending firm-wide emails surveying .Net, perhaps spend some time reviewing your ability to appreciate the fine social rules that exist.

And that sounds a bit harsh, it wasn't intended that way. And yes I will readily admit that I am not without fault.
But I think that the email you sent (since you asked) was wrong. You didn't consider that most of the people in the firm would not have wanted to receive that in their inbox. Especially being so lengthy.

Aussie Chick
Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Mass email can be disruptive, since each recipient has to read, evaluate, and decide what to do about every message they receive. Also, many people have an email notification setup that can interrupt their chain of thought.

According to basic email etiquette, you should consider whether all recipients have a reason to read a note before sending it. A company policy forbidding mass emails, or requiring management approval, can make sense, just to avoid internal spam.

Julian
Thursday, November 20, 2003

If they were pissed off that you sent it to all employees, how are they going to feel about it being sent to all readers of JoS?

I am not the droid you are looking for
Thursday, November 20, 2003

It's a little known bug/gotcha in Outlook but when you add a user it actually increases the size of each users message by about 150 bytes. So a message sent to 150 people would be 20KB or so in size, and as there are 150 of them would take up about 3MB of total space.

Now the message to 8,000 people would be about 8MB in size, even though completely blank. So the guy who held up the system for hours was sending 64GB of data, presuming that nobody got angry and hit the reply to all button and sent another 64GB going through the ether.

Email to all is evil, and should only be used once a year to notify you of your bonus.

Bear in mind that many people don't check their email, or never delete things, or don't empty the deleted items folder and the cost in back up time and media of all this internal spam is immense.

Stephen Jones
Thursday, November 20, 2003

Mass email can also be a bit dangerous.  I've seen a few instances at various places I've worked where a company-wide email was reponsed to by someone who only meant to reply to the original sender, but hit Reply All instead of Reply and wound up sending out potentially damaging information to everyone in the company.

If you really must do a company-wide email (and you should absolutely have a good reason to do it), make sure you use the 'bcc' field for the mailing list alias, to avoid potential Reply-All problems!

Mister Fancypants
Thursday, November 20, 2003

stephen jones--
huh?
one of the touted features of Exchange is that it uses copy-on-write.
in other words, if you send a 1 Mb file to All, and everyone is on a single exchange server, there should be ONE copy of the message on the server which everyone gets a pointer to.
then if someone says 'edit message', they get a copy of it. i have no idea if 'reply' makes a copy, or just a copy of the header.

assuming this works as I remember it being advertised at least.

mb
Thursday, November 20, 2003

Dear mb,
              You might have details. Please send.

                The original infornation came from Woody's Office Watch.

                  I have tested it out. As far as I can tell it is a mess and .bcc doesn't make a difference.

                  It stays for saving or simply putting in our mailox. Check out

Stephen Jones
Thursday, November 20, 2003

hmm... your message got terminated. i don't have much detail on this, but check out this article:

http://www.winnetmag.com/MicrosoftExchangeOutlook/Article/ArticleID/21564/21564.html

mb
Thursday, November 20, 2003

You can foil the "reply to all" mess (in Outlook at least) by using the BCC field to specify the recipients.

One downside to this approach is that the recipients don't know that other people are getting the email (one could say so in the message though).

njkayaker
Thursday, November 20, 2003

In the world of which I am an occasional denizen, when the CEO of a multibillion dollar company gets an email about .NET technical questions, heads roll.

Dustin Alexander
Thursday, November 20, 2003

Yep,
      it appears you're right. However it is still an anoyying feature when you send the message to external stores. And for people who are trying to keep their .pst files smaller than a flash disk or CD.
 
        The use of bcc doesn't affect the problem of message size, incidentally. So send your external email newsletters using Outlook Express which takes up a quarter of the space of Outlook for the same number of users.

Stephen Jones
Friday, November 21, 2003

>If they were pissed off that you sent it to all employees, how are they going to feel about it being sent to all readers of JoS?

Dear friend, I will abstain always from being curt. I can only offer you an obvious advise. Since, this is not your mailbox and is a public forum, if you do not like something that is posted here, then simply don't read it. Ah! but you do have the liberty to make comments like this. I am sure all JOS readers will value them.

Sathyaish Chakravarthy
Friday, November 21, 2003

I think he was being sarcastic Satyash.

However you don't seem to have realized what a foul up you made. Apart from anything else it brands you as plain lazy.

Stephen Jones
Friday, November 21, 2003

--"In the world of which I am an occasional denizen, when the CEO of a multibillion dollar company gets an email about .NET technical questions, heads roll. "---

Presumably the head of the secretary that reads his emails for him :)

Stephen Jones
Friday, November 21, 2003

>I think he was being sarcastic Satyash.

Ok! I dig that and as Philo once mentioned, I need to improve my reading comprehension skills.


>However you don't seem to have realized what a foul up you made.

No, I really dont. Not even now, except for the fact that I might have caused excess traffic on the network than normally one mail causes.


>Apart from anything else it brands you as plain lazy.

Please explain. You mean I'd be less lazy if I were to type all the names of the people (150 less those who have not much to do with .NET?)

Sathyaish Chakravarthy
Friday, November 21, 2003

No, but you are lazy because you are sending out the same email to everybody regardless of whether it was appropriate for them to answer, instead of choosing a subset.

The short one paragraph would have been best, and then sending out the full survey to those who replied.

Also you are asking them to take company time off from their job to do your job for you.

Stephen Jones
Friday, November 21, 2003

I agree with Stephen.

If you really at to do a 'send all', then make it a few lines.

Hi guys,
I am needing to help with some .Net questions, if you have time would you mind looking at a 5 minute survey that I filled out.




That at least would have been ignorable. A two page survey is annoying. It implies that  you have no idea what everybody in the office is up to. You think that they have time to read all this stuff.


Think of it this way, imagine if everybody in the office sent a 'to all' to everybody just like yours. What a time waster.

Aussie Chick
Friday, November 21, 2003

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