Beware ‘Reply All’

We actually had an email system at my my first job with IBM in 1986. On day one they sat me down in front of a huge green screen and introduced me to PROFS. “This is your PRofessional OFFice,” they said, “and how we all communicate.”

In those days, email lived on a mainframe and could only be sent when you were actually in front of a mainframe terminal. Actually, it could be sent from any terminal in the whole IBM world, and there were hundreds of thousands of them. In hindsight, that was one of its greatest features. No email at home, no email in the car and no email on the plane. How life has changed.

Another feature that came from being mainframe based was how easy it was to backup and archive everything. Copies were kept—even when you thought you had deleted them. Just ask Oliver North. Congress subsequently examined his PROFS based email archive during the investigation of the Iran-Contra scandal.

Unfortunately, while email was designed to be a productivity enhancer, it has developed into something that is quite the opposite. One of the biggest culprits for this is the ‘Reply All’ option.

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About the Author

NigelDessauNigel Dessau is a nationally award-winning marketing professional with over 25 years of experience leading corporate marketing and communications for several multi-million and billion dollar companies. He began his career by working for IBM, serving customers and partners in the UK. Dessau decided to move to the U.S. following an assignment in New York, where he continued to work for IBM for nine years. Since leaving, Dessau has held senior executive and CMO roles at both private and Fortune 500 companies including StorageTek, Sun Microsystems, AMD, and Stratus Technologies.

Learn more about the 3 Minute Mentor and Become a 21st Century Executive at or and connect with him on Twitter at @3minutementor and @nigeldessau.