Twenty years ago this summer, I was having a series of meetings with the then-company’s IT people. We wanted to do an email newsletter for employees; IT did not want us to do that. “It will crash the system,” we were told. “This will harm all of our computer systems,” they said. I even heard vague hints that our overtaxing the email system could lead to financial chaos and cultural collapse in the West.
We took the risk and started our newsletter. Nothing bad happened. In fact, the email system handled the news letter just fine, thank you. Nothing even minor happened.
The first lesson we learned was to look at dire claims of disaster with a skeptical eye. The second lesson was that an email newsletter was work. Despite the appearance of ease that bytes and pixels seem to promise, nothing was easy about an email newsletter. And we learned that, if employees liked the newsletter (and they did), our work for employees soon found itself far outside the company. Imagine – they forwarded the newsletter to friends, sales prospects, academics, and just about anyone else they thought might find it interesting.
Photograph by Charles Rondeau via Public Domain Pictures. Used with permission.