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Do remember the boss who banned e-mail?

A while back the boss of a mobile phone company (Phones4U) banned e-mail throughout the business, with a predictable hue & cry.  Well on BBC2 last night they had a programme "Trouble at the Top" which followed the whole saga from the inside, which gave a bit of context. 

First up the guy owned the company he didn't just run it.  For the previous 18 months he been involved with a deal selling one of his other companies for £400M and the meantime had left the running of the business in the hands of the MD who appears to have cocked it up. 

Taking up the reins again he had a meeting with his top shop managers and asked "What is the biggest timewaster you have?" and they were all agreed e-mail.  A culture had developed at Head Office whereby e-mails marked urgent were being sent to all & sundry with some salesman getting ~20 /hour.  In effect they had a problem with internal spam.   

The next scene was a meeting with him & the new no.2 telling the head of  IT to implement a ban.  Text (SMS) was Ok, e-mail wasn't.  When the IT bloke left the boss joked that the ideal way of letting everyone know would have been a group e-mail - but that he'd never live it down.

a cynic writes...
Thursday, August 12, 2004

And what were the end results? Did his company survive and prosper without email, contrary to all predictions?

woofo doff
Thursday, August 12, 2004

The filming covered up to Christmas and at that point they'd held market share and increased customer satisfaction. 

They had however taken a kicking on the bottom line with staff retraining and a load of giveaway offers & special deals.  To be fair their competitors were making exactly the same sort of deals.

The e-mail ban was in itself a minor, if high profile, part of the changes.  My main memory of the discussions we had here at the time was that many people thought the staff would be up in arms.  They weren't. 

a cynic writes...
Thursday, August 12, 2004

He also said that e-mail would be gradually re-introduced at sensible levels. I wish he was in charge where I work. He gets things done.

John Topley (
Thursday, August 12, 2004

Just goes to show there's always two sides to every story

Thursday, August 12, 2004

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