Now, we’re ready to pull the various pieces together to form the

The central concept we’ll examine throughout this article. The most important element in any

workflow is the process that people use to coordinate their work. This

coordination is dependent on communication, the question is whether or not to make use of this

In terms of terminology, this calls for the parties involved to be able to agree prior to the time on

A set of rules regarding how and when communication happens. This is what we call

a coordination protocol.

Many companies default to the hyperactive hive mind style

protocols for the majority of coordination activities as it’s easy to establish and also

influence people to adhere to the rules. This flexibility can also allow companies to

Avoid situations that could be disastrous. Shannon can teach us that, is the case if you’re

willing to do the work upfront to come up with better protocols

In these instances, you will usually drastically cut the cost over time. The most difficult

the time you put in to set up the best method will pay dividends

several times more for the savings that you will experience when you utilize

it. Formally:

The Protocol Principle

Making rules that maximize the manner in which coordination happens at work

It isn’t pleasant in the short-term, but it could lead to a more efficient operation

over the long run.

The rest of this chapter examines some case studies on the protocol.

Principle working. Learn about the benefits of corporate offices.

hours and how restricting your clients access to you may make them more comfortable.

It will also explain what happened the moment an educational research team started

holding regular daily status meetings similar to an IT development team

and you’ll hear arguments on why you should never ever attempt to schedule

A meeting via email. These protocols are more complicated than simply

You’re rolling and rocking using your email inbox or on Slack, and some of them

It is more likely that an occasionally bad thing happens. However, if you are guided by

The Shannon’s basic insight is the basis of their work. They adopt the fundamental idea that Shannon’s fundamental insight is

Sometimes, a bit of extra effort can help unlock more performance.

Meeting Scheduling Protocols

The year was 2016, and I participated on a panel for an event for businesses. My fellow panelists were among them.

was a New York-based tech businessman named Dennis Mortensen.

In the course of our later talked I learned that his position was as director of an new start-up that was located in

The method of the process of leaving the stealth mode and embracing beta testers. It was known as and its products used cutting-edge artificial Intelligence technology

to take on a simple task to tackle a mundane task: setting up meetings.

In its initial version, implemented a digital agent called Amy.

If you had to set up a an appointment with someone via email then you

will send an email to a specific address to Amy and then, as is the natural

Text, request the agent for assistance in setting up the text, ask the agent to help set up the. For example, you might

Write: “Amy, can you set up a meeting for me and Bob next Wednesday?”

At this point, and this is where the magic happens – Amy would meet with Amy.

Bob and Bob via email to figure out the best Wednesday time that was convenient for both of them.

as well as your schedules, and then include the event in your calendar. It could seem like a lot of work

as a minor improvement in office life, it was a major draw for investments.

In 2016, the year I first met Mortensen, had already paid more than $26

millions of investment capital for the Amy natural interface to language. By

In 2018, they received $40 million total investments.6

There’s a reason companies that automatize meeting scheduling such as have received lots of attention from investors, even the most hard-core

The hyperactive hive mind booster cannot overlook the obvious time-wasting

inefficiency of the method that professionals currently address this

an increasingly frequent task. The protocol used to set meetings is

What I refer to as energy-saving email Ping-Pong, also known as energy-minimizing email. In the course of an

In the email conversation, it is evident the need for a meeting. Since this

This is a tedious and insignificant task everyone involved in the game

The unspoken rule of the game is to test how fast you can bounce

The responsibility for scheduling is transferred of the event to another person the responsibility for scheduling, even if it is only temporarily:

“We ought to meet. Let me know when is the best time with you.”

“Should we shoot for next week?”

“Sounds nice to me.. The general consensus is that Tuesday and Thursday are likely


“I’m a bit overwhelmed these days. Friday?”

“Sure, when?”


“Maybe I could do 11:00 if not too late?”

“I am leaving to attend an off-site conference around after. What does the week to come appear?”

And so on . . .

The cost to your brain from this process is huge because each of these messages back and forth requires the time to be on your mailbox. To add to the confusion

even more, once the scheduling conversation is underway it is imperative to monitor the conversation

Your inbox is frequently flooded with messages while you wait your next email to be delivered your inbox, because it

it is impolite to leave for hours during one of these

quasi-synchronous back-and-forth interactions.

It’s enough to have just one of these meetings to plan at

at any moment at any given moment, however at any given moment, the vast majority of experts have to be

It is difficult to manage multiple scheduling conversations at the same time. As

The news was reported in the article in a Harvard Business Review article, with a scathingly named

“Stop the Meeting Madness,” an average executive spends a full week of twenty-three hours in meetings.7

A huge volume scheduling

the process of arranging the meetings can be a significant reason for hyperactivity.

inbox checking, which can result in significant cognitive costs. When you

you must always check your inbox to find one of them.

diverse meetings as well as your capability to complete

The value of cognitive work is greatly diminished. This is the reason why the investors are

willing to invest 40 million dollars to determine if artificial intelligence is a possibility

dramatically reduce the cognitive cost – this cost is not that much when compared to the

huge amount of productivity that could be unlocked if information was available.

Sector could be forced to stop energy-saving email ping-pong entirely.

If you are looking for better scheduling protocols for meetings There are a variety of options

Solutions that are substantially cheaper than ad-hoc emailing.

The first, and the most extreme, is to get an actual assistant who is flesh and blood.

Who can access your calendar and organize meetings on behalf of you.

There was a point in time when this option was too costly for everyone, but

the top executives, since it required an entire salary to

committed employee. This is no anymore the situation. The freelance online services are now available.

It is now easy to find assistants who can work remotely for a certain number of hours.

of hours spent on particular of hours on specific. The first time I employed my first virtual assistant on a part-time basis,

through a company known as Upwork and was pleasantly surprised to find out that she could

effortlessly manage my meeting scheduling within a maximum of two or three billings

Hours per week. The true cost of scheduling meetings comes from the

multiple interruptions needed to check your email and also to ensure you keep it.

Conversations are going on however, all these expensive interruptions aren’t really adding anything to the conversation.

up to a substantial amount of billable hours when it is handed to an assistant.8

Although hourly rates vary based on the level of experience of the assistant

in light of the fact that much time actually is involved in scheduling, it is

Shouldn’t be too difficult to let go of the majority of your meeting schedule for

Around forty dollars per week, on an average. A further $160 per month as well.

is a substantial sum of cash. My experience is that the kind of information

people who are most likely to invest in this type of venture are entrepreneurs who

already invested money into their businesses in order to maintain

The world is changing. For those who are employees in large corporations,

On the other hand on the other hand, the concept of trading your personal money for the sake of gaining

The productivity of the workforce is higher in foreign countries and, in this sense, it is more important to bring in outside

Your assistant’s ability to communicate with your colleagues could be seen as suspicion, especially if

Not in any way hostile. In my work life I employ my assistant

to handle the overwhelming amount of requests for interviews and meetings. to handle the overwhelming volume of interview and meeting requests

I get in my business of writing, but not in the majority of cases dealing with the

requirements of my second obligations as a professor at the university.

Effectively working with a part-time assistant plan meetings

is two things required such as having access to information about your available as well as an opportunity to create new events

add your calendar. There are many applications that will meet these requirements.

I’ve been using an online schedule service that is called Acuity. At the

at the beginning of each semester the semester in which an assistant has been hired I’ll be able to manually

Enter into the system all times I’m available to meet during the months

ahead. If my assistant has to make a reservation for an appointment, she makes use of Acuity to

choose a block of time within these times. What makes this service valuable?

is that it syncs to is that it syncs with Google Calendar. My assistant is able to book

When I make an appointment an appointment Acuity the appointment is displayed immediately on my calendar.

Also, if I directly add something to my calendar, then Acuity

Automatically removes this block of time automatically from my availability.

The most obvious question, of course one of the main reasons I don’t use directly Acuity

to speed up my booking of meetings in case someone would like to meet me,

instead of handing them over an assistant to me, I might instead forward them directly

to Acuity to set up an appointment time that is convenient for us all. This is the reason is that I

Do not choose to go with this simple and less expensive option. I work with a wide variety of

Set of possible appointments and they’re certainly not all identically from a

scheduling perspective. If I book a meeting that is scheduled to take place in my office, I will consider the scheduling aspect.

Georgetown office for instance I’d like to look at only those times that I’m at

campus. If I am booking interviews for podcasts, by contrast, I would like to make sure that I have the

The other way around, offering only the times I’m at home and am able to make

the use of my studio at home. Certain meetings are urgent, and I’d like to know the

the closest available time slot and others aren’t available, and I would like to assign them to

A less crowded time in the near future. I wouldn’t be able to reply to

Each meeting request comes with each meeting request with a schedule of dates that I’m available. I’m also available to

My assistant will help me navigate these various needs.

In the majority of knowledge-based jobs These kinds of distinctions

Not as important. There is a normal work week when you are able to block off

Sometimes, you need to work uninterrupted with the remainder of the time available for meetings and

appointments. In this instance there’s no requirement for a real human being to

aid you in scheduling. Tools like Acuity and ScheduleOnce,

Calendly and, obviously, (to name a few of them among the many) create

It is easy for others to arrange meetings with you at time periods when

you’re available. When someone contacts you to arrange an appointment, you can email them an email to let them know

A link to your scheduling service and instruct them to choose the time that is convenient.

The best option for their needs. A time of reducing energy consumption by minimizing email ping-pong are over.

It is reduced to one message, and a few clicks on a website for scheduling.

If the event is attended by several people, avoid email Ping-Pong

is made more urgent because of the sheer volume of messages needed

The amount of time scheduled is often increased exponentially by the attendance of attendees. In

In these situations, it’s worth employing a group-based polling tool such as Doodle. In these cases, it’s worth using Doodle.

For those who aren’t familiar, for those who are not familiar, these services require you to create an online survey by

Inputting in various date and time options that will work for your calendar. You can choose to add multiple dates and times that work well for your.

Then, you can forward the poll to all the participants at the meeting and they each tick off

These times are the ones that are working for these times, allowing you to quickly identify the time

that is a solution for all.

I would go as in the direction of saying that any job that involves more than

Two or three scheduled events during a typical week must be utilizing one or two of the following strategies:

scheduling service, or in the event that the job demands it or a part-time assistant. There’s

There is no reason anyone should continue to spend their cognitive energy in

lengthy scheduling discussions. It is possible to think that there are benefits here are

Aren’t they? How difficult is it to send emails,

You’ll probably be amazed by the sensation of lifting a weight as you

Stop all the endless scheduling conversations that are a means of

squirming at the edges of your attention taking you back and over

Back into the buzzing mind of the.

The framework of Claude Shannon demonstrates this fact. The scheduling of meetings can be a little added cost in terms of inconvenience, because you’ve

to configure the system. Your correspondents will now need to choose the times they want to use from

A website is more than simply sending a brief email with a short

moment. However, the cognitive cycles saved are so significant that there’s not a

Comparison: the cost of these protocols for scheduling meetings is

substantially less than what is necessary by the status quo of energy-saving email Ping-Pong is significantly less than what’s required by the status quo of.

Office Hour Protocols

In the beginning of 2016, I wrote an article in the Harvard Business Review’s

Website that I used to give an intentionally provocative name, “A Modest Proposal:

Eliminate the use of email.” Even though I’d been writing about peculiar plights of

This technology is featured is featured on my blog, and this post was among my first mainstream

essays about the ideas that eventually would coalesce into the book you’re reading.

I’m currently in the process of. The article is about halfway through. the article, I’d read the

issues caused by hyperactive hive mind’s workflow. I gave my big

Conclusion: “There’s great advantage for those who are willing to stop

the reign of the chaotic workflow, and replace it with something else.

made from scratch with the objective of maximizing the value

Production and production and satisfaction.”9

In my initial draft, I was content to end the argument. My

editor didn’t agree. He correctly pointed out the idea of removing email was not a good one.

The concept was so new that there needed to be at the very least some suggestions as to how to make it happen.

The organization could work in the absence of it. I haven’t yet determined the

specifics of the concept of attention capital theory at this moment in my research, as such,

I didn’t have a definitive answer to my editor’s query about what would replace email.

In search of some examples, I discovered inspiration in an activity that I have seen in my

my own academic world in the academic world: office hours. In my post, I explained:

The idea is straightforward. Employees do not have personalization anymore.

email addresses for email. Instead, each person sends out a two-day schedule

or three periods of time in the day, during which he or she or she

is available for communications. The office is open during these hours. you can reach the

Individuals guarantee to be available in person, via phone or email.

instant messenger technologies like Slack. Outside of the person’s

The office hours are clearly stated However, you can’t be able to get their attention.

If you require them, you must be aware of what you require until

They’ll be available in the near future.

To my dismay, the article of 2016 didn’t start a firestorm.

An anti-email revolution. One commenter pointed out precisely, that offices are the main cause of this revolution.

hours are not a good option for businesses that have employees who work in a variety of hours.

multiple time zones. One person wrote that they’d prefer to have more emails than

More gatherings. “To try to make email illegal today is like trying to remove the

Barn door after the horse bolted.” said another commenter. “It’s

It’s not going to work.” My study of email continued, I decided to push the

Office hours is a concept that lies on my thinking at. As I later learned,

But, perhaps I shouldn’t have been so quick in dismissing this option.

Let’s go forward to the year 2018, when Jason Fried and David Heinemeier

Hansson Cofounders and iconoclastic founders for the company that makes software Basecamp,

The author has published a book entitled It Doesn’t Have To be Crazy at Work.10

The book

provides a set of ideas to help you create a positive workplace culture

They refer to “the calm company,” and tucked away among its suggestions is an

A well-known method: working hours. According to Fried and Hansson mention, their company follows the same

is a collection of subject experts in the field: “people who can answer questions

on stats, JavaScript events handling tips for database data.”

So, if one of employees has a concern regarding one of these

For questions, users can “ping” the expert to find out the answer. Fried and

Hansson have mixed feelings about this fact: “[It’s] wonderful. And


The great thing is that experts are able to aid their colleagues

get their feet back or find ways to solve their issues. The

The most troubling aspect however one of the most damaging aspects is that experts are drawn into the

hyperactive hive mind, which is constantly absorbing more and

throughout the day to respond to these requests on ad-hoc basis. The solution of Basecamp, to my

pleasure, was to announce office hours. The experts have published their own the hours they will be working during.

Each week, they’re available for any questions you may have. For some

Experts say that these hours could be sporadic according to experts. For instance, an hour per week.

while for other, they might be more frequent, for instance, just one hour per day. The

The company relies on experts to determine the most suitable availability to match

their demands. Experts’ questions are then restricted to the ones they have set

Office hours.

“But what if you’ve an issue on Monday, and you’re in someone’s office is closed?

The hours don’t start until Thursday?” Fried and Hansson request. They offer a blunt

Answer: “You wait, that’s what you do.” They point out that these limitations

It might appear too bureaucratic initially it’s not, but has turned out to be an “big

“hit” on their business. “It appears that waiting isn’t a major issue for the majority of companies.

timing,” they elaborate. “But the control and time that our experts have regained is an improvement in

huge deal.”12

Further research shows that Basecamp isn’t the only non-academic company that offers office hours in a the limited way. As I

I learned about Scott Kirsner, the Innovation Economy columnist of The

Boston Globe, office hours are long-running favorites among entrepreneurs.

capitalists. He explains this in an article titled “I’m joining the Open Office

Hours Movement,” many local investment firms are involved, including

Flybridge, Spark Capital, and Polaris Partners, have taken into consideration the idea of putting aside

regularly scheduled times throughout the week at which anyone who is interested in technology companies in the beginning

You can be there, “no strings attached,” to get assistance, pitch your idea or simply

Create the connection.13

The lessons I gained from how to profile a Silicon Valley-based company

Capitalist named Mike Jackson for my 2012 book So Good They Can’t

Do not be a fool, the success of this business depends on exposure to a lot of

diverse ideas and individuals that are different, however, this is only possible if the information is made available via

unwelcome email messages, you may get lost in the ocean at the sea of emails.

“It’s so easy to just come in and spend your whole day on email,” He


Office hours were a good way for investors to keep a check on these

rival forces.

The framework of Claude Shannon helps to show how these examples can be successful.

as well. The majority of coordination, the move to the predetermined office

hours will dramatically reduce cognitive cycle’s cost when compared to

simply bounce messages between each other in an ad-hoc fashion. Having to

You must wait until the next office hour to talk, but it is possible to

create a burden for the customer. The office hours protocols appear to be the most effective for

Activities that aren’t adversely affected by these delays. This is why

The experts at Basecamp and Boston’s venture capitalists have embraced office hours:

They reduced the high cognitive cost of distractions they also reduced the cognitive cost of distracting messages

In addition, delays were introduced that didn’t have any significant impact on the effectiveness of daily activities.

This is the reason for my 2016 suggestion to replace any communication with

office hours came in abruptly of a thud: there are a variety of coordination

currently handled via email and long delays could be unsustainable.

costly. It is a fact that every moment you are involved in any type of

of coordination activities that are both frequently occurring and not urgent, such as the office hours

The protocol could significantly lower its costs.

Client Protocols

In the mid-1990s as a teen involved in enthusiasm of initial dotcom boom. I co-founded an IT company with my buddy Michael

Simmons. We lived close to Princeton, New Jersey, and we thought of that this

was a high-end address, we named the company Princeton Web


We focused on the design of websites at the beginning, by manually coding websites

for small businesses within the region. However, at some point, Michael

We are online and connected to a community of developers who are freelance and based in India. We

Soon, they realized two crucial factors. The first was that this team was far better in web development.

more advanced than we were in, and, secondly, their rates were very low at the time of their

American standards of the time. We came to a bargain that would allow us to use

clients and oversee the projects, while the Indian team would handle the actual

graphics design, and HTML programming. I remember that our first agreements were for graphic design and HTML code.

around $1,000. With our new team we started securing contracts for

The range of $15,000-$40,000. The problem with this was the fact that

We were teenagers in the 1990s, which means that we attended school throughout the entire time.

day, we did not have mobile phones. This meant that we ran out of money

contracts for clients with demanding requirements that had basically no means to reach them

With us.

Our solution to this issue was to develop an extensive client portal.

Every client had their unique username and password which for them to sign in.

access to the website. After entering, users were greeted with complete details

About their project. Design samples and pre-launch versions of their website

They were all accessible for viewing on the portal, along with an online calendar with the dates of the

important milestones that are coming up. An “work diary” contained daily information about

the work that was completed the previous day. Most of the actual conversation about

Projects were condensed to specific meetings linked to our

the detailed process of the project. Each meeting resulted in the necessary

note outlining the decisions we’d made and asked our clients to sign

They indicated that they were in agreement. (We discovered that this reduced the chance of approval.

that the client could then change their mind after the process was

underway.) The scans of these memos can be downloaded from the


We have never explained directly to our customers that we used our portal to help them.

We were in school for all day. Though I have to imagine that they had a plan

This is something they can figure out on their own. We created the conditions so that this would not be

An issue. Designers today frequently complain about the amount of time they devote to

working with dealing with emails. We did much of the same tasks back then.

However, they did it with no email at all.

Naturally, we were not the only ones who aspired to become smarter.

concerning client communications. In chapter 1 I shared the tale of Sean

revamping his workflow of his tiny technology startup. In this case, it’s

The overwhelming client communications was the most important thing was the overwhelming client communication

Sean was pushed to the breaking point. Sean was at a breaking point. Sean the situation really began to unravel

When a very demanding client demanded access to their

internal Slack configuration, causing Slack notifications’ pings to be converted into

continuous background noise and each message bringing an additional anxiety-inducing request by the customer. Unsurprisingly, the moment that Sean finally

It was decided that it was time to replace the active mind at the company with a more productive

practices, and one of the areas in which he was focused was on the way they worked together.

with their customers.

Sean’s company added an area titled “Communication” to

each document of the work. “We wish clients to be aware of this in

in the front of the project,” I asked him about the project’s front. The new section clarified the regulations for

communication between the customer and the company, such communications between the company and the client, such the communication between the company and its client, as well as Sean

I was told how to handle urgent issues arise. Most of the time, it was the

Standard setup was a prescheduled regular conference with clients

After which a written report of the conversation was then after which a written summary of the call was sent to the client. A written summary of the call was then sent to the. Sean’s

Business partner of mine, who was in charge of customer relations, was worried about

This change. “He was worried that the customers wouldn’t be pleased with this.

since we’re a user experience business, the user experience must be exceptional,” Sean explained. “But they’re definitely more content. It’s all

regarding the management of expectations.”

Although we did not use this term but both Sean and I attended high school together.

Company implemented better protocols for communication to manage

interactions between our companies with our clients. In doing this we

Significantly reduced the average cost of the coordination. Having

I’ve looked at other protocols for clients, and I’ve found some helpful

tips to help these efforts to succeed.

When attempting to reduce costs, take into consideration the client’s costs in

in addition to in addition to. One of the most important factors that makes the client protocol to work is when it is compatible with your own.

decreases the frequency of cognitive cycles and difficulties that the client has to face and also.

Very few customers actually enjoy the idea of sending endless messages. They prefer to

They feel compelled to do this because they don’t know they can get into the situation.

be sure to check that make sure that work is done. This is what I learned from Princeton Web

Solutions, the structure of our website didn’t annoy our clients. It was a great experience for them.

Instead, it brought peace of mind as they didn’t have to lose time thinking. It also gave them peace of mind, as they didn’t have to waste

the time to think about the contract we signed. In contrast it is a good idea to think of an idea for a

A communication system that helps you experience more easily when

while making the experience for the client more expensive, and thereby requiring the client with

Extreme example: forcing them to fax detailed requests for clients

each time they require something, you’ll find it much more difficult to convince them to them.

hands, and with good reasons.

Another key aspect is the need to be clear. Sean’s business

Included a full description of their protocol for clients in their declaration of

Work with all clients who signed. This was clever. They could have instead

They casually suggested to their clients that a weekly phone call could work, and the clients

was more likely to fall back into the mind of the hive as quickly as

The first minor problem was the first minor issue that arose. If the language used is contractual,

However, the customer is more likely to be a victim of the minor inconvenience

discover over time how much they actually get the cost-effectiveness of an

More restricted system.

In the end, despite all your efforts There will always be some customers for

These protocols simply won’t work. I spoke to one of them.

communications consultant who used be a part of a 12-person business in

Washington, DC. She said that for a lot people who were clients of them, they utilized an

A variation of Sean’s set-up: A scheduled weekly phone call, then writing

A summary of the various points that were discussed. Some of their clients they do provide a summary of all the points discussed.

They offered crisis communications. The clients required a means to

receiving immediate attention whenever incidents of public attention occurred, and so their procedure

It is basically a simplified version of “call right away if anything happens.” The specifics

The protocols which is to say of these protocols, is contingent on the nature of the work.

There are certain people that this strategy isn’t appropriate,

Not because of what they do, but due to their personality. To

Utilizing the technical term refers to those who love to nag people

as this makes people feel special. Tim Ferriss wrote about this exact

The situation was discussed in his bestseller of 2007, The 4-Hour Workweek. In discussing how

He improved the processes of his supplement company, BrainQuicken, he

He also talked about the way he ended up “firing” one of his most stressful employees.

belligerent clients. The thought of having to eliminate toxic clients hit an emotional chord.

“That passage just leapt off the page for me,” explained Tobi Lutke.

The CEO of the tech firm Shopify in an interview with Ferriss profile in Inc.

magazine. “If you are in business school and suggest that you dismiss an employee,

They’ll remove you from the building. It’s as it is in my personal experiences. It

This allows you to pinpoint those customers you want to be working with.”16

The framework of Claude Shannon helps to validate the logic behind this client-firing

strategy. Although it’s true that you’ll lose money on the short run but you’ll also

reduce significant cognitive cost. Once you have started treating them more

In the end, it is more simple to get rid of clients who are costing you money.

The improvements in your psyche aren’t a justification for your immediate financial bottom line.

As you put these pieces together It should be obvious that you must work with

clients are, an efficient communications protocol is crucial for your

journey to get past the hyperactive mind-body workflow.

Nonpersonal Email Protocols

Certain aspects of our daily lives become so commonplace that it is difficult for us to have a difficult to remember.

Imagine imagining a future that is never. A good instance of this effect is

the standard format for the canonical format of email addresses: person@organization. There’s an

beauty to this design. If you send an email, it is the base email

Protocol routes this message through the company that is specified by the address.

Then, the business’s email server sends the message to the recipient.

A specific recipient appears located on the left of the symbol. This is the element that makes up the

email address, also known as the recipient field, is something we assume to be a given. However, if we take a step

Reconsider it and look at the issue from a new angle It’s an interesting question

It is a question that arises: Why are recipients of email addresses nearly always individuals?

Not, for example departments, projects or other activities?

The answer to this question could be traced back to one of the

earliest proto-email systems. In the early 1960s computers were still big

and costly mainframes that needed special rooms and regular maintenance

staffs. Utilizing these machines was to wait for your turn. At that moment you

could be granted temporary control over the digital giant and we would hope that it

The program will be computed probably inputted via punch cards, prior to your

turn expired. Engineers from MIT dissatisfied with this system, realized that there could be a

could be a better method to divide up access to the mainframe. Their solution, first announced in

The MIT Computation Center in 1961 was dubbed”the Compatible TimeSharing System (CTSS). The CTSS introduced something new into

The world of computing The ability of multiple users to sign in to the same computer

Mainframe simultaneously by using terminal machines wired to the

mainframe. The users were not actually in control of the mainframe computer.

at the same time; instead, it is the operating system that shares time runs on the

A large machine would rapidly switch between users, albeit with a small

One user’s computation is completed before switching to another user to complete a calculations for

Another, and so on. However, from the perspective from the user, this was felt like each

as if they owned the mainframe to as if they had the mainframe all to.

The switch between CTSS into email seemed a natural transition. The feature that timesharing introduced was the notion that every user account was their own directory.

Each of its own files that are private, while others are open to all

On the computer system. Early users who were smart about CTSS knew they could quit the system

messages within directories that belong to one another. In 1965, this pattern was normal

Standardized with standardizing the MAIL command, which is implemented by software engineers

Tom Van Vleck and Noel Morris. It inserted a file named “MAIL BOX” in

every directory of users. If you send an email to a certain user, you can do this by using the

MAIL command The note was added to the individual’s MAIL BOX document.

Users could make use of the tool to delete and read messages within their own MAIL

BOX files.

The first email accounts were linked to individuals

individuals, or for example, since the mainframe user accounts timesharing systems were initially established in this way. After this connection was established,

It was created, and it stayed. Ray Tomlinson, the engineer who was perhaps the most responsible

for the format of person@organization addresses that was later standardized for the format person@organization, which later became standard

earlier, we worked on more sophisticated versions of the time-sharing messaging

tools such as MAIL.17


It is a naive and oblique decision to connect email to

People played an important role in the development of the hyperactive hive mind.

workflow. As we have discussed in part 1 of the book, the human brain can increase the

The way we’ve always worked in small groups natural way of coordination: unstructured, ad

hoc, back-and-forth chatter. Since email addresses are linked with

People, it was easy to use this tool to facilitate this kind of discussion,

that led us to the slippery slope, which eventually resulted in an uncontrolled

messaging. In a different universe, emails were not the norm, email addresses were

connected to teams or projects linked to projects or teams, the hive brain work flow might have felt less

natural, and thus could be more natural, and therefore might have had a tougher time getting noticed.

The reason for presenting this story is to inspire you to think about

infringing on the tradition of affixing email addresses to individuals,

particularly when trying to find the most efficient protocols for communication. By

removing this link between email and people you can do this, by using one

big gesture that will shake up expectations of all regarding how

Communication should be fluid which will make it simpler for you to build

This expectation is created from scratch, using a the help of a procedure that makes sense.

Take, for instance, the protocols for communication between clients that are discussed in

This chapter. In this chapter, a client can be accustomed to communicating with a specific person in

Your organization should be able to assist them when they face problems or questions It can be difficult to

lessen their expectations for quick response times. They will tailor the responses.

interactions, and start treating delays as personal insults (why do you

I’m not paying attention to me. ?!). Now imagine that each client is assigned an

dedicated email address of the form It’s

it is much easier to free them of the notion that they are sending messages

to an individual , to a specific person, in the moment and thus is better

Answer them promptly! If you can depersonalize your communications, you can have many

More options for optimizing the process.

I implemented protocols based on these concepts to aid in managing my author

communication. The last time I provided just one email address to

people to contact me. Since I had my name, and the messages were

Overwhelming: not just in the volume but also in complex. When you

When you believe you’re communicating with someone, it’s normal to believe that

They’ll be willing to listen to your lengthy story and provide specific

help, or arrange an appointment to discuss your business opportunities contact us

You can introduce you to people who are relevant in your networks to connect with relevant people in their. I did this with pleasure until I realized that it was not as enjoyable.

as the number of people attending became larger, it became difficult.

To enhance my author communication protocols, I developed

Non-personal email addresses that are not personal. One could be intriguing. My readers utilize to send interesting hyperlinks or leads.

Under the address, you will find a short message: “I really appreciate these tips, however

because of the time constraint, I’m typically due to time constraints, I’m not able due to time constraints, I’m not able.” According to my experiences,

If you place an disclaimer on an individual address, for example It will be generally disregarded, given our expectations for

one-on one interactions are so effective. However, when the disclaimer is added an

nonpersonal address, like interesting@calnew, I receive few

without preconceived expectations you can set these up

From scratch.

There are a variety of ways to integrate low-cost procedures into your

Professional life or an organization however, in many instances it is beneficial to have email addresses that are free

The support of individuals can give a huge encouragement to the effort.

Short-Message Protocols

In 2017 C. L. Max Nikias an accomplished scholar, was president of

The University of Southern California, wrote an interesting op-ed piece for The Wall

Street Journal. He was not talking about the achievements of his research that were being made by the

His memberships have been granted to him by his organization, the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Engineering.

American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The author also didn’t write about the

The capital campaign of $6 billion which he managed as well as the new campus that he established or the

the addition of 100 chairs endowed with money that he contributed to the creation of during

the preceding 7 years since his election as president during the previous seven years of his presidency USC.18

His subject was equally

more common and commonplace more common and mundane.

As Nikias describes the role of his position, the position he was receiving more than 300 emails per day.

day, and this created a challenge. “The essence of being an effective leader is to

to move an organization to a new direction.” He notes, “yet email can

can have an opposite effect, stopping the leader from doing any task.

active or with lasting value.” To keep from the fate of wasting his time

“glued to a screen and responding endlessly,” Nikias thought of a simple idea for a name.

Solution: “I keep all of my emails to a minimum of the length of

an average typical text messages.” How do you deal with emails that call for an

More involved interaction than can fit in the text-length of a reply? Nikias

Contacts the person, or invites them to arrange an appointment. “The essential aspects of

Human communication isn’t well translated to cyberspace,” He


Nikias isn’t the only person who has experimented with emails that are shorter. In

2007 an internet designer named Mike Davidson posted an essay on his

personal blog that I run called “A Low-Fi Solution for E-mail Overload.”19

In this article,

Davidson expresses his displeasure with the unbalanced nature of email.

communication. “Often times, the sender might ask up to three open-ended questions.

one-sentence questions that elicit multiple paragraph answers.” He writes.

“In these situations the sender is allowed to spend one minute while the receiver gets a question,

informally, perhaps for an perhaps an.” He was able to come up with the exact general

Solution as C. Solution as C. Max Nikias: keep his emails as short as possible. He is also similar to

We identified the 160 characters of a text message sent via SMS as a fair

The goal, however, it is important to recognize that counting characters requires some kind of

Special software plug-ins Instead, he used an approximate method: he could

Limit his email messages to five or fewer sentences.

For “politely” explain this rule to his correspondents Davidson

launched a simple website,, that briefly explains the

guidelines on a minimalist landing page. Then he put the following sign-up

to the bottom of his emails:

Q: What’s the reason why this email is only five sentences long?


In the end, Davidson concludes in his introductory blog: “By ensuring that all

The emails I send out require the same amount of the time it takes to deliver (viz. “not a lot”) I

Evening is the time to play is between checking emails and attending to lots of

Then they will come back.”

— The concept of limiting the length of emails is not just a illusion. It’s more of a way to limit email length.

is a step that far too few people take in the current digital world: the digitalization of

clearly defined rules regarding the types of email that can and cannot be used for

accomplish. The hyperactive hive mind’s workflow would like to make email an effective tool.

neutral carrier that can support non-structured, flexible, ongoing conversations

all kinds. Short-email is pushing away from this commitment. It

It defines email as a tool to answer short questions, quick answers as well as

brief updates, but insists that anything more complex be dealt with

employing a different kind of communication that is more suitable for the exchange. This

It could be difficult for a moment but in the eyes of Claude

The Shannon framework is a method that has a lower cost per unit

over the long term.

As Nikias describes within the Wall Street Journal op-ed, for instance the time

He was in charge of the biggest campus expansion in the university’s time,

He often received emails from his construction managers that included the design

Small change requests or updates that required quick approval (“everything

From brick samples from brick samples”). This is a fantastic application of email:

for construction managers to for the construction managers to Nikias with a telephone call or

attending for each one of the approvals would have consumed the entire

schedule. On the other hand as Nikias says, when there is there is a construction issue

It seemed to call for “substantive” discussion, he immediately tossed it around

out of his inbox and rather make a phone to call.

If they are properly deployed when properly, these short-message rules are implemented

effective protocols that make use of email to facilitate the type of communication required.

It’s the best for (quick and fast and) for forcing people to more efficient

Mediums for all other things. Making emails as short as possible is a basic rule.

However, the impact can be significant. Once you have stopped thinking of email as an option, the effects can be profound.

general-purpose tool to talk about anything and everything at any moment it’s stranglehold

on your attention will diminish.

Status Meeting Protocols

The year 2002 was the time when Michael Hicks and Jeffrey Foster joined the computer science field.

department within department at the University of Maryland as newly appointed department at the University of Maryland as newly minted assistant

professors, after which they began working in tandem to create the research

group. In the midst of having to coach students they were bringing on, Hicks

and Foster used a method of operation that’s virtually universal in the world of computers.

Science professors: they arrange weekly meetings with their students

to monitor progress and collaborate to discuss research issues.

In the beginning it worked well. Like many junior professors,

Hicks as well as Foster had the two to three pupils under their supervision and they had a

A relatively small amount of additional responsibilities that go beyond research and

teaching. This is what they describe in a technical document on the effectiveness of research that

They published their first book in 2010 but as their careers grew they published their first book in 2010.

the mentoring method was beginning with the intention to “reach its limits.”20

They moved from

Supervising up to three students, totalling up to six or seven students at a time. As

Their mentoring workload grew as did their other commitments to be able to

Papers and grant proposals writing grants, further limiting their time for writing grants and papers, further limiting. The weekly

the meetings with each student were “extremely inefficient,” as they were

Every time, the same time, ranging from thirty minutes up to an hour.

It was almost never the appropriate duration. Sometimes they only needed

Ten minutes to complete an update on their status, and other times, they’d need only a couple of minutes.

hours to work on a challenging issue.

Foster’s and Hicks’s ever-busier schedules made it hard to keep up with their busy schedules.

at additional student gatherings that extend in addition to the ones previously scheduled

week. In the end, students started to slip into the gaps. If there was a problem, it could be that someone was

trying to solve the issue, it may be a week before solution is found.

discussed. Hicks and Foster were also aware that one-on-1 meetings did not work.

Create a sense within the research team. “We had created an

An amazing group of students, not the formation of a research group that is collaborative,”

They wrote. After considering all the issues the conclusion they reached was straightforward:

“Clearly, something needed to change.”

The catalyst for that change was a meeting of research that was held by Hicks

Participated in 2006. He was talking to his former graduate student

school, who has since turned into an software engineer. The old

Officemate started telling Hicks of how much they liked Scrum officemate began to tell Hicks about how much he enjoyed Scrum, and the

the agile method his employer employed to plan software development

work. The idea seemed to resonate with Hicks. He returned to

Maryland Foster, he suggested Foster Foster that these esoteric methods of organization

From the world of software development could be just what they require to

Get their research group to operate more efficiently.

I introduced Scrum and agile methods more broadly, in

Chapter 5 is part of our discussion on task boards. The strategy’s different strategies are discussed in chapter 5.

The element that resonated the most the most with Hicks as well as Foster was the

routine of scrums that are conducted daily. As you may remember, in the standard Scrum software

Teams of development break their work into sprints, sessions lasting between two and four hours

weeks are devoted to the development of a particular series of specific features. During the

sprints, the group meets each morning for 15 minutes in a group

is referred to as known as a scrum. During the meeting, every member of the group is asked to answer the questions.

Three questions to be answered: (1) What did you accomplish since the last scrum?

meeting? (2) Have you face any issues? (3) What do you plan to do prior to the

The next scrum? Then they spend the remainder of the day working on their

objectives. When implemented in software, the coordination process is far more effective.

effective more efficient than trading email or instant messages that are sent throughout the day. To

to enforce the 15-minute limit and thus stop the meetings from going on for too long.

The process can drag on for hours, wasting time and are generally time-consuming.

everyone should get up.

Hicks and Foster developed the concept of daily scrum for their research

group. Instead of having the sessions on a daily basis, they held the meetings on the weekends.

Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Also, they changed their name from “status

meetings.” However, the specifics remained the same meetings: These

The meetings lasted fifteen minutes. The participants were all was on the team of researchers

Answered the standard three asked the traditional three. They also tried out a variety of

taking the meetings in a standing position and discovered that “surprisingly,” it really did

aid them in sticking within the limited time frame. Hicks and Foster will

They also update students with information about their daily activities. They

known as the modified SCORE system. SCORE.

The key element of Hicks as well as Foster’s SCORE was separating these two

Status meetings differ from more technical discussions. If a status meeting is held, it will be more involved.

In the meeting, it was clear that an individual student needed the discussion to be more thorough.

If progress is made make progress, make progress, and a progress report would be issued, and a “technical meeting” would be set up right

There in the immediate vicinity. In contrast to the traditional weekly meetings, these are technological

Meetings were only scheduled to be used when they were needed. Since their primary function was to serve a purpose, they were only scheduled when needed.

as soon as they were planned, they also tend to be extremely effective

Everyone arrived with an understanding of the purpose for the debate. As Hicks and

Foster elaborate, as they had cleared the weekly standing meeting.

with each student taking their calendars off there was plenty of schedule

space to accommodate these meetings on-demand when the need arises.

I was curious if their students expressed their admiration for the SCORE

In their approach, the professors carried out an official questionnaire of the group they were working with.

They requested them to rate seven aspects of their research experience.

for graduate students such as “quality of interactions with adviser,”

“productivity level,” and “enthusiasm for research.” For students who

existed prior to when SCORE was established, and they were also asked to be rated

their experiences with the old method of organizing groups. “The reactions

The results were generally positive.” Hicks and Foster summarize. “SCORE increased

Students’ experiences in all aspects we considered.”

-The regular status-meeting strategy Hicks and Foster have extracted from

Scrum methodology is highly effective and widely applicable

Communication protocol. There are many different working settings in the field of knowledge,

Utilizing these brief meetings, which are three to five times per week, will significantly

limit ad-hoc emails or instant message interactions during the day.

Everyone is synchronized during the normal gathering. The small synchronization is exchanged.

the number of cognitive cycles required for the status meeting for the vast

the number of cycles required to reach the same level of coordination using sporadic

back-and-forth messaging. In the report, Hicks and Foster write, the routine pattern

The shortness of meetings also generates an atmosphere in “momentum” that helps people

Both feel more confident in their work, and enjoy greater productivity. Also, it makes them feel more confident.

improves the cohesion of groups, since everyone is aware of the same thing about everyone else.

I am working on.

This procedure comes with certain inconveniences. Particularly,

waiting for the next status update could be a hassle if you require urgent help.

Answer a question or assist in overcoming the obstacle. I’ve been in groups to

It was discovered that there is a variant from these meetings regularly however they did not.

The likelihood of bad things happening is less frequent than many people think. Backup protocols are a good example.

Of course, there are always measures that can be established to address the risk (e.g., “If

If something urgent arises prior to the next status meeting me a ring.