Tech Talk Roundtable 08-10 | Is Email Making Us Dumber?


Did you get my email?

Oh! That was in the email that Bob sent last week?

Can you send me an email about that?

Email, Email, Email


What would we do without email?


But is email making us dumber, less efficient and poorer collaborators?


In today’s podcast, we will delve down the email rabbit hole and discuss what we have learned from this 30-year experiment. We’ll discuss its implications on our society, workplace, and on education.


Lessons Learned

Chris – “Hey Siri, remind me at 11AM to head to the recording room for our podcast” “Hey Siri” reminders kind of makes it seem like I actually have a memory, right Siri?

Dennis – Microsoft Lens

Daniel – Loom Screenrecorder app –


Fun Fact

First Email Sent in 1971 on the ARPANET by Ray Tomlinson  – Regarded as “The Inventor of Email”

“at the time there was no really good way to leave messages for people. The telephone worked up to a point, but someone had to be there to receive the call. And if it wasn’t the person you wanted to get, it was an administrative assistant or an answering service or something of that sort. That was the mechanism you had to go through to leave a message, so everyone latched onto the idea that you could leave messages on the computer.”


Notes & Links

A World Without Email – By Cal Newport (Author of Deep Work, Digital Minimalism) (Here is a summary of the book –


Almost 30 years of widespread use of this communication tool.


Part 1 – The Case Against Email


The speed of emails also prevents workers from disconnecting. People’s stress levels are higher as a result of more emails.


Newport argues our evolutionary drive to be social leads to a feeling of unease when we neglect these interactions.


When no structure is introduced, there will be a huge amount of messages across several tasks that you have to address. To keep on top of this, you have to be constantly monitoring these channels. The issue with this is your lack of focus is reducing your cognitive capacity and you are left miserable.


Hyperactive Hive Mind – This social need to be responding to emails in a timely fashion and the inefficiencies it creates.  Unstructured conversations on messaging apps and meetings dropped into diaries on the fly congest our day. His objective, to give people the space to do their best work without distraction


Part 2 – Principles For Moving Past Email


We need a linear approach to work

  • We all need to buy into this approach.  No Rogue Leaders
  • Your first two hours of work are your best and should be sacred Deep Work time.
  • People need to completely stop one task in order to fully transition their thought processes to the next one.
  • In the book Scrum (a methodology used for building small teams to tackle projects)
    • Small teams work best with projects (no more than 7)
    • They all work on one task at a time and everyone knows what everyone else is doing based on a Kanban board of tasks.  They ask each other:
      • What did you work on yesterday?
      • What are you working on today?
      • What challenges do you have?
    • The job of an administrator is to ensure there is a proper workflow for their team to be successful
    • You can track the amount of tasks completed in a week and the complexity of each task to ensure that teams are improving in their work.  This is a measure of past performance
    • Tracking people’s happiness is a measure of future success.



About miles.mei

Technology Multimedia Specialist

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