21 Mar 2008 @ 11:15 AM 

OK, so my last post was a little long. In the interest of mixing it up and blogging more often, I decided to post today on something a little lighter. Making your email communication more simple and effective.

Life is complex and multi-faceted. Often, so is your email situation. As an entrepreneur, you may have a number of email accounts you need to keep track of. One for your primary communication, another for correspondence from your company website or for other ventures you are involved with, one just for orders, and so forth. Many colleges are now offering lifetime email to their alumni to help them keep track of each other.

In addition, to more easily thwart spam problems that can arise, I recently followed the advice of a friend to create separate email addresses for areas where they might be posted on the internet and risk attracting the attention of spammers. I have done this with Linked In, for example, as well as a specific address for my resume. I also create separate email addresses for church and community roles. This way, if I ever get a bad spam problem on any one address, I can just create a new address to circulate to that limited group of people (minus whoever got me on the spam lists!!) and kill the old address. The problem is the time and frustration involved in checking all of the different accounts.

Google recently made my life simpler in this regard. I don’t mean to over-favor Google, and I am sure that there are other quality competitive products out there, but I have really been impressed with Google’s GMail. I have had a gmail account and address for some time. Then, I downloaded Google Talk to chat with a couple of friends that also use it. Now, I have GMail pop my email from three non-GMail accounts into my GMail interface. It is very easy to set up, all you need is the username and password from your other email accounts. With Google Talk running, I also get an instant update when I receive a new email.  I have also set it up so that it labels each email with the account it came in on (i.e. a personal account from my blog domain), and when I reply, the reply goes out from the account it was sent to, not my GMail account. It also means that all of my accounts can have access to a single address book. 

The other nice thing about using GMail this way is that you can check it anywhere you have an internet connection, even with a mobile phone. Previously, I had been using Thunderbird for my non-work emails and Outlook for work emails. I had been using a web client provided by my hosting service to check emails when I was away from the computer with my Thunderbird and Outlook clients. However, I consistently had problems with the IMAP connection with Thundebird and the web clients just weren’t as user-friendly as GMail is, especially when I had to log into and out of each one. Now, it’s all in one place and I get a notification when new email comes in. I still use Outlook for my primary work-related emails.

Anyway, just a quick tip that some of you will hopefully find useful.

Posted By: TJ
Last Edit: 21 Mar 2008 @ 11:15 AM

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 16 Jan 2008 @ 11:54 PM 

“What would you be willing to do for the rest of your life?”

That is the seminal thought in a great little book my brother sent me awhile back, and I thought I’d do a short review of it on the site tonight. The book is “The Monk and the Riddle” by Randy Komisar. It is, on one hand, a narrative representation of Randy’s experience with countless numbers of Silicon Valley hopefuls who came to him seeking advice and financial backing for their big ideas. Randy embodies the hopes, fears, strengths, and weaknesses of these collective entrepreneurs in the form of Lenny, an entrepreneur with a big idea to revolutionize the funeral industry. On the other hand, the book is also a statement about how to measure personal success in entrepreneurial endeavors, as Randy’s protagonist learns that entrepreneuring by doing something one really loves is much more likely to be successful at bringing one happiness than entrepreneuring in order to one day be able to do what one loves.

Randy’s personal experience and main point with the book seems to be to remind us that happiness comes not so much through the acquisition of resources, but by engaging in an endeavor to which we feel personally committed and interested. He shows the folly of sacrificing our devotion and personal passions today and spending our time and energy working only on seemingly hyper-lucrative pursuits in the hopes that we will strike it rich and then be able to spend the remainder of our lives doing nothing but pursuing our dreams. Of the myriad problems inherent in such an approach, Randy addresses a few, including the minute likelihood that any particular entrepreneur is actually going to be fortunate enough to actually find the payoff they have been looking for, and the fact that even among those who make it, they have often so deeply ingrained in themselves the notion of working for money, that they have lost the capacity to work on their dreams. Randy’s personal moment of enlightenment came as he stared down a hallway and could see his whole career and life’s ambitions, being confined to that narrow corridor and the context within which it functioned. He realized that, although that career path would bring him financial success, that success would be hollow because he could not love what he was doing.

The Monk and the Riddle is a very interesting and entertaining book, and a very quick read because of its easy, narrative style and compelling principles. I think somehow we all know instinctively that the world would be a better place if everyone dedicated themselves professionally to the things they love most and were most interested (and hence educated) in, instead of dreading their job, boss or both as they grudgingly trudge off to work every day. The Monk and the Riddle is great not just because of the insights Randy gives by sharing his life view, but also because of the way it naturally leads one to look internally and ask those same questions about one’s own professional activities. Not only do I strongly believe that we will be more likely to become leaders in our industries if we dare to do things we love, I think we also will have less risk in our professional lives in the long run, because we will be willing and able to dedicate ourselves fully to our pursuit, instead of begrudging our employer and always looking around for greener pastures. I highly recommend giving “The Monk and the Riddle” a read.   

Posted By: TJ
Last Edit: 20 Jan 2008 @ 07:10 AM

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