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Last month, venture capitalist Fred Wilson drew a lot of attention on the Internet when he declared a 21st century kind of bankruptcy. In a posting on his blog about technology, Wilson announced he was giving up on responding to all the e-mail piled up in his inbox.

“I am so far behind on e-mail that I am declaring bankruptcy,” he wrote. “If you’ve sent me an e-mail (and you aren’t my wife, partner, or colleague), you might want to send it again. I am starting over.”

College professors have done the same thing, and a Silicon Valley chief executive followed Wilson’s example the next day. Last September, the recording artist Moby sent an e-mail to all the contacts in his inbox announcing that he was taking a break from e-mail for the rest of the year.

It would be easy to go into e-mail bankruptcy if there was a program that would automatically reply to every message in your in-box with an e-mail bankruptcy message.
From The Washington Post


  1. Angel H. Wong says:

    Somebody give this Wilson guy a Blackberry so he can stop whining.

  2. Chris Gregg says:

    “It would be easy to go into e-mail bankruptcy if there was a program that would automatically reply to every message in your in-box with an e-mail bankruptcy message.”

    Wouldn’t that be an “Out of Office” message? (or is the above sarcasm?)

  3. hhopper says:

    I meant one that would reply to all the messages already choking the in-box. Since he’s starting over on e-mail, he wouldn’t want the incoming messages auto-answered.

  4. Justsaying says:

    I think there are scripts for that if you use a non user friendly client.
    There is potential for an extension for Thunderbird though.

  5. Chris Gregg says:

    “I meant one that would reply to all the messages already choking the in-box. Since he’s starting over on e-mail, he wouldn’t want the incoming messages auto-answered.”

    Oh yeah…duh. I completely mis-read that. I agree that a script is probably feasible in some email programs. Now I have to go work on this…

  6. morbo says:

    Or, you could emulate Donald Knuth. His assistant prints out the emails and presents them to him quarterly. I guess a snail mail address is required should a reply be forthcoming, he only replies in snail mail.

  7. Andrew says:

    If you use gmail, just archive all, set all new mail to archive, and set a vacation message that says “I am emailed out for the year.”

  8. Podesta says:

    I think not having responded to an email in weeks or even years sends the right message.

  9. C0D3R says:

    …automatically reply to every message in your in-box with an e-mail bankruptcy message.

    This would of course devastate your e-mail score. Akin to a credit score,an e-mail score rates your e-mail worthiness: the likelihood of receiving a response to an e-mail message sent your way.

    E-mail scores range from a high of 800 to a low of Leo.

  10. Fred Flint says:

    Can I be the first to coin the phrase ‘blog bankruptcy’?

    I keep cutting back on the number of blogs I read every day but at the end of the week, I seem to have more blogs to visit than when I started. Add email and a fully mobile, vertical life and there’s never enough hours in any day to do the things I want to do, let alone the things I have to do .

  11. TheGlobalWarmer says:

    #6 – Let’s see, killing trees to print e-mail, then killing more to snail mail responses and also using fuel to transport the snail mail….. or zipping a few bytes through the tubes…

    Mr. Knuth’s method doesn’t sound too eco-friendly to me.

  12. hhopper says:

    Fred Flint – The WWW is just getting too enormous. There’s hardly enough time in a lifetime to read much of the interesting material…and most of it gets updated daily.

  13. Fred Flint says:

    12. hhopper,

    No kidding! (I was going to say something else but I scrupulously follow the Guidelines, sometimes)

    I have a lot of trouble getting back to DU more than a couple of times a day and then, before I can check my old posts that might need replies, I end up making new posts because you guys are just too prolific in your collection of oddball stories and I can’t resist.

    Still, it keeps me occupied. I read somewhere (on a blog?) this sort of mental exercise prevents Alzheimer’s. Judging by some of the posts, I’m not convinced that’s true but I’ll take it on faith, although even that’s not something popular around here.

  14. ChrisMac says:

    Isn’t email for people with no imagination or too much time on their hands?

    it’s a tool.. not a way of life

  15. Jimpson says:

    Yes! so hold._


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