The Great Purge
Thursday, January 2, 2014 at 4:22PM
Spencer Lazar

I am not a very spiritual person, but somehow I do believe in new beginnings.  And as recently explored by Maria Konnikova in a recent New Yorker article on Resolutions, the New Year for me brings new possibilities.  One of my goals for 2014 is to tame my inbox (another is to write more).  It has just gotten out of control.  Some of this will come through more disciplined communication, some through delegation, and some through finding creative ways to cut out clutter.

This morning, I used a clever product called to do an audit of all of the email lists that I have signed up for over the course of the past 10-15 years.  The product has been around for some time, but it really appears to have matured.  After a few minutes of scanning my inbox, the service revealed that I was signed up for 498 lists (some of whom are list-serves and can get quite cattery).  Note: This number does not even include the countless email lists that I have unsubscribed from manually.

Beyond the disgust resulting from how much unecessary clutter I get hounded with every day, the exercise demonstrated to me how much I value a few email newsletters.  Whether their content is editorially created by a community (Quora), assembled factually by a community (Crunchbase), functionally in nature (FollowUpThen), or written and curated by a single individual (Benedict Evans's Newsletter), email lists can still bring recipients a ton of joy and meaning.  I'm very excited to have unsubcribed from the crap, but am super grateful for the thoughtful product execution and effort from those who've really tried.

Couple trends:

I'd love to know what email lists or newsletters you subscribe to and truly enjoy, and if there are any underlying trends that you identify on the positive or negative.

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