Quick little rant here – I’ve been trying to find the emails of Philly startups for an ongoing project I’m involved in called PennApps Fellows. And the process is to put it tamely, enlightening.
Now I realize that there is an art to reaching out to people in this day and age, but during my search I’ve come to realize that this art is harder to utilize than it should be. I’ve been clicking around sites just looking for a simple contact/info/team email that I can reach out to and they are all hidden away in the depths of the sites if they are there at all. There are a few approaches that I’ve seen.
One is to have a form, no emails, just a form to fill out. This is the most infuriating of them all – it totally destroys any sense of care. That is I, as someone reaching out, feel sidelined, only good enough to ‘get in line and fill out a form’. It serious discourages me from reaching out, just because I feel like my message won’t be really considered. Maybe I am overreacting, but there is definitely some degree of depersonalization that accompanies these forms.
Another method is to only have one or two emails total, things like press@___ and jobs@___ and while these are better than a form, they still make it awkward for me to reach out. I have a proposal that has to do with jobs, but is also kind of a partnership, can’t I just talk to a human? Why do you funnel your contact with the outside world through press and jobs, it makes me as someone reaching out feel rude. Some kind of generic team/info/contact@___ allows me to talk about whatever I’m trying to talk to you about without falling short of your expectations.
Now at this point, your probably saying well these companies don’t want any old crawler or spammer just destroying all their inboxes of the team/contact/info. And your right, this is a good point and a real issue. But there are plenty of techniques to avoid this and hide an email from these automated spamming techniques. Plus I think the potential benefits outweigh the negatives. And modern spam filters are pretty damn good in my experience, so why worry?
Now let me get on a little theoretical soapbox for a minute. Being an organization that is open to outside opportunities is a good idea. There is a subset of people out there that are doing cool things and aren’t afraid of cold emailing people, and any growing group should be open to these ideas. You don’t need to jump on each one, but you never know when something cool will just plop itself down in front of you. Being open, and letting people talk to you out of the blue is something that people should embrace, there is a lot that can be accomplished collaboratively. PS: this is a bit menial for me to be blogging about, but it was bugging me – thought I would throw it out there, back to creating!