Tag Archives: phone

12.500 hours of reading emails, every month.


Why “I quit e-mail” a month ago.

At our Radboud University Medical Center (RUMC), we send out some 750.000* e-mails, every month in a row. Monthly we send these from our approximately 18,000 email addresses. Conversely, on a monthly average of 1.2 million* e-mails are being send to ús.

If every mail from/to would consist out of 1 sheet of paper, that would be seven pallets of 200 packages of printing paper évery month, and that’s even only assuming emails without attachments.

Imagine that every incoming email would have been read by ‘someone’ took 60 seconds, that would quickly add up to as much as 12.500 hours per month. Every month that’s about 8 FTEs, in other words 96 people per year, mind you : 1 minute a mail for 1 person! Imagine if we could add that time to spend more with patients and their family.

This blog is not about “green” thinking which i dó support by the way, but about what we do to others every day again when we press that “send” button. After all, we keep sending messages with the intention that “someone” does “something” with it; read, process, answer, store, forward, ignore or even printing it.

After I had previously attempted to make my work more focussed in other ways it turned out to a large extent that the 250 to 300 e-mails a day made this impossible.

Especially others felt that I have to do, know, read or to be informed something about it. An analysis of my incoming emails taught me that some 70 percent of the information send to me, also was to be found on our intranet. It was also clear that e-mail was increasingly used as a some kind of chat, some invoke up to 10 other messages to easily 10 people in the Carbon Copy. For that i think, we have other more appropriate tools, such as our UMCN Yammer or social media.


I therefore decided to stop e-mail, just stop. Not just BCC or CC’s, but with everything. Now you might think : “one can’t just stop” and that is true. Not for everyone this would be possible, but it fits with my role being a bit of a rebel (with a cause ;-).

So on April 2nd, I quit email (see also my post here on LinkedIn today and be sure to read through the over 140 comments ;-).

I would handle only emails sent to me before that day, thus quickly decreasing the workload, and eventually stop. The out-of-office assistant was set, containing a reference to me quitting email, to Yammer, my Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook account and for appointments (still) to my secretaries (by e-mail or twitter @secretarylucien).

A number of people had apparently thought that it might be an April first foolsday joke, but ever since April 2nd, I no longer respond to new email messages.

I can firmly tell you that it already saves me a lot of time, approximately 1.5 to 2 hours per day. In addition to that, included explaining the “why”, my colleagues are surprised that I can find time time for a cup of coffee, pick-up the phone and respond to messages more swiftly through other channels like social media.

Being where your targeted audience is.

Do not overlook the fact that communicating in terms of places and channels is shifting. Sometimes to Facebook or on Twitter, and more and internally at our University Hospital more to Yammer. Being there where your targeted audience is, nowadays is becoming more important then ever. For me in my job -taking the approach to change health(care) through innovation together wíth patients- that is more true then ever before. A super low threshold, sharing, discussion and showing; there are great tools for that stimulating collaboration and co-creation. E-mail is nót the tool for that.

So please, ask yourself, with every mail you sent tomorrow : is this email or cc really necessary or would that find a better fit on another ‘platform’ ?

My next blog will be about the silly, awkward, unexpected, funny, authentic feedback and the feasible questions one gets stating he’s quitted e-mail.

But for now I am curious to your thoughts : How much could you decrease the number of emails you send ?

(*numbers cleared for spam and based on 2013)

(VIA. Lucien Engelen – Linkedin – Director Radboud REshape & Innovation Center at Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center)

To Be More Successful, Study Failures

To Be More Successful, Study Failures

As the 1940’s air war in Europe intensified, the Allies faced a major problem. Their bombers would leave England by the hundreds, but too many of them didn’t return, brought down by extremely heavy enemy flak. The Allies desperately needed to beef up the armor on their planes to provide protection, but armoring an entire plane, or even an entire cockpit, involved far too much weight. How could they choose the few especially vulnerable places to be armored?

A couple of clever engineers solved this problem with a counter-intuitive analysis. After comprehensively logging the locations of flak damage inflicted around the fuselages, engines, and cockpits of planes returning from hundreds of bombing runs, they calculated which particular locations had sustained an unusually low number of hits, and began armoring those areas for future missions.

In retrospect, their reasoning should be obvious: Flak bursts explode randomly all around, so the only reason returning planes have particular areas with less damage must be that the planes sustaining damage in those areas were less likely to return.

This story holds an important lesson for us when it comes to learning from the business successes and failures of the past, whether we’re talking about case studies and best practices or the best-selling books written by big-name business gurus. We cannot isolate the secret to any business’s success unless we first know why others just like it were not successful.

But nearly every classic best-selling business book, from Tom Peters’ In Search of Excellence to Jim Collins’ Good to Great, relies on success stories to draw out important lessons for others. Even though the authors clearly have the best of intentions, such books suffer from what academics call an “undersampling of failure.” While anecdotal evidence makes for more interesting reading than statistics, choosing the right anecdotes does matter.

To understand the perils of drawing lessons only from studying successes, suppose there is a particular business strategy that is highly risky, and across all companies that try it, 10% are very successful, but 90% fail outright. Now what if the successes are documented and studied later, while the failures are not publicized and simply drop from sight? Do you see the problem with this?

To be able to say with any confidence that a business is likely to be successful with a strategy based on past experience, you have to know not just how many succeeded by following this strategy in the past, but how many followed the strategy and failed. If the Allies had only patched the places where they saw the most flak damage on their returning planes, they would have done little to improve their chances.

OK Don, you’re thinking, but you’re a business author too, right? Yes indeed, and thank you for noticing! But one clear theme running through nearly all of Martha’s and my books is that we include failure stories. Failures allow us to suggest better strategies and to underscore difficulties. In our 1997 book Enterprise One to One, for instance, we devoted an entire chapter to dissecting the reasons behind MCI’s failed customer loyalty strategy (mostly, bad organizational alignment).

And if you really want to learn from the failures of others, then you may find our most recent book helpful, Extreme Trust: Honesty as a Competitive Advantage. In it you can read about various flawed programs and strategies at such firms as AOL, Netflix, Nestle, Staples, and even Facebook, not to mention some of the flaws that plague entire business models, from credit cards and retail banking to mobile phone operators and airlines. For each problem documented, however, we also suggest a solution, and while we can never actually “prove” that our solution would have led to success (that would be impossible for anyone to do), at least our logic allows you to compare successes with failures, in order to patch the right places on your own planes before your next mission!

(Via. Don P. – Linkedin – Founding Partner, Peppers & Rogers Group at TeleTech)


SmartphoneVERBATIM – Transcribed from a recording by Loop Lonagan

Everywhere I go, people bow their heads over their smartphones or hug ’em to their face like they’s worshiping pagan idols. And maybe that’s not far from the truth. It looks dumb. It rude. And a guy could walk into a truck. Nowadays you can’t have a decent conversation without getting interrupted five times by a phone call or text.

One time, long ago, an exec answered a call in the middle of our meeting. After I waited three days to see this guy in person, some yahoo calls up and takes front stage. That’s The Tyranny of the Telephone. That little incident happened before cell phones. Now it’s worse—we carry the little tyrants around in our pockets 24/7. Pretty soon these things is gonna be waterproof so we can carry ‘em in the shower—even take ‘em to the beach. I can picture some new venture raising money to make special smartphone holders for soap racks. With the screens growing in size, I wanna see ‘em try and develop a pocket to fit a string bikini.

Yeah, I know it—I’m no different from anybody else. I’ll remember to confess that to the Padre this week along with a buncha stuff I can’t talk about here. See, I’m what’s called an early adopter. Already on my third smartphone. Anyhow, I gotta get off this train of thought and focus on this speaker I came to hear.


Hugh Jedwill, CEO of Mobile AnthemI’m listenen’ to a really smart guy talk about mobile tech. This ain’t no Madison Avenue sharpie. Guys got a shaggy pony tail. Roudy jeans. Nice sport jacket, though—just enough to show you he’s here on business. Looks like California big venture money–those guys dress like street bums but with sport jackets. We’re all used to it by now. I think it’s an image thing and it seems to work. People go for it. Anyhow, he knows his stuff, which is what counts with me. He’s soft spoken with a good sense of humor and it’s easy to like the guy.

Mobile Anthem

Hugh’s big-time. Used to work marketing for Fortune 500 outfits. Now they seek him out. He’s CEO of Mobile Anthem—a marketing agency that helps these companies build a bridge between traditional marketing and mobile technology. There’s a big-demand for that. They need his help and need it bad.

Tektite GroupThe event’s put on by the Tektite Group. Jean Pickering moderates and she calls Hugh “her hero,” which is kinda weird, but I’m sure she’s got her reasons.


Hugh says with these, you got a good business.

Trial of product



He talks about what’s going on now and what’s to come:

Stage 1—We’re using the mobile internet NOW—not 15, 20 years from now. That’s way faster than the elite predicted. And mobile is ubiquitous. (I like that word.) Who ever leaves home without the keys, the wallet, and the phone?

Stage 2—Pretty soon, mobile isn’t just about phones. It’s ID wristbands in hospitals. ID devices at amusement parks—systems that pull down your Facebook profile and help you find your lost kid. It’s Clairol using an app to time your hair coloring perfectly. It’s Nike shoes reporting your running stats for you—and sending them to your accountability group.

Stage 3—In the future, it’s not even a phone. Hugh says it this way: “The idea of what is mobile will change dramatically.” Maybe it’s in your clothes—and you get to change the color of the fabric. Maybe it checks if your windows are closed. Maybe it monitors your meds. He quotes some futurist who expects it in nanotechnology. He’s talking really small, like IN YOUR BLOODSTREAM. Now just stop a minute and think about the positive and negatives of that.

Hugh says that not all these possibilities are so pretty. The opportunity for abuse by unscrupulous individuals, greedy companies, and repressive governments is huge. That gets my attention. And I’m wondering how it will all shake out.

He talks about innovations that don’t get used effectively. Here’s an example: The QR code was big for a few months then it fizzled. Reason? Poor use. People posted lots of QR codes that didn’t lead anywhere. So people ignore ‘em now. Cry wolf.

smartphone with keyboardTHREE LIMITERS

He talks about three limiting factors in mobile technology. (Hey, this guy thinks in threes):

Limiter #1—First is battery life. These things suck battery and everybody’s looking for a wall outlet wherever they go. The industry needs to get that solved. (FYI: Just happens I know a startup company’s got a way to make batteries last ten times longer, so the fix is coming—people just don’t know about it yet.)

Limiter #2—Next is privacy. There ain’t no safeguards now. Everything’s self-regulated and there’s some real bad actors out there—people who know your location and take advantage of that. Companies can pull down your personal profile. Think they’re not using that stuff? Think again. You walk down the street and WHAP—a lousy come-on from the bar you just walked past. Hey—it’s in the terms and conditions you never read when you downloaded that app, so it’s legit. Then there’s the illegal text spam—the kind you didn’t ask for at all. It’s already with us. Then there’s the fact that smart phones are computers. Won’t be long before the hackers and cheese-doodle-eating virus kids get busy. That kinda behavior slows down the industry. I wonder how fast it would be movin’ without these creeps.

Hugh predicts two major events in the very near future.

A major privacy incident

A major location-based incident

A mobile app is like a credit card transaction over the Internet—theft happens. The credit card company gives you some protection but nobody’s protecting the cell phone users. He predicts that both of these events will get a lota media attention and plenty of righteous indignation. It’s gonna be bad enough that the industry is gonna face a contraction, so watch your telecom investments.

That also means regulation is coming. Plenty of it. But Hugh sees it as the only way. Says this particular industry CAN’T regulate itself. He’s hoping for the kind of regs that worked real good for the food industry. Rules that make it easy to find out what’s in your food. But the government might come down with a heavy hand, like the way Sarbanes Oxley is screwing with our capital markets. Me, I’m betting the government will do something dumb. That’s their trend. But all I can do is wait and see how it shakes out.

Limiter #3—In the future, our location privacy and personal privacy is gonna be pretty much gone. That’ll be another limiter on mobile technology. Maybe somebody’ll solve it or maybe we just get used to it.

Pockets full of Smartphones

Now his time is shot and he takes Q&A. I think it’s a good presentation. I learned somethin’ and had a good time. Before we break into groups, I meet him one-on-one. Guys got FIVE—count ‘em—5 smartphones on his person. Pockets full of ’em. What’s with that? So I ask him what gives. “It’s my business,” he says. Simple answer. Direct. Honest. One thing I learn dealing with this new crop of technical business people—they’re intense. And they get the job done.

Your editor invited me down here ‘cause he don’t own no smart phone and he wants I should meet with these people. Yeah, you heard right—no smartphone. Hard to believe but it’s true. Says his Palm Pilot ain’t broke yet. Palm pilot? That thing belongs in the Field Museum with the dinosaurs. The guy carries that piece o’—that piece of hardware around everywhere. Calls it a classic. I call it dumb. Weber GrillHe coulda been here, eatin’ this great food at the Weber Grill. www.webergrillrestaurant.com. So, John, I raise one to you. Cheers!


Find Hugh Jedwill, CEO of Mobile Anthem, at http://mobileanthem.com, an agency that bridges marketing with mobile technology. See him on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A2oY4vrZFDc

Find the Tektite Group on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TheTektiteGroup and their blog at http://tektitegroup.wordpress.com. These events are organized by Jean Pickering www.facebook.com/jean.pickering who for years has run most o’ the best stuff in this town. Was always behind the scenes till now. I might just mosey on down next time. Had a blast. This ain’t no waste-of-time networking group. I took in a terrific presentation and made three solid business connections.

And check out the great food at the Weber Grill. http://www.webergrillrestaurant.com/

All my best regards,
Loop Lonagan

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