Fab Applauds The U.S. Supreme Court Decision to Strike Down DOMA @fab @scotus #marriageequality #lovewhoyoulove
It’s pretty widely known that two of Fab’s principal founders, myself and Bradford are gay men.
As the story also goes, Fab before Fab was fabulis, a social network for gay men.
Many of Fab’s followers also are aware that both Bradford and I got legally married (not to each other!) in New York in the past year. Chris and my wedding present to each other was to fund The Four, an online campaign in support of marriage equality in Maryland, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Maine — we won all four. Bradford’s and Georgi’s wedding present to each other was to raise money for Immigration Equality, an initiative supporting green cards for married gay and lesbian spouses living in the U.S. — their wedding raised more money for the cause than any other wedding.
What might not be as well known is that Fab counts more than 75 gay employees amongst our team of 650 progressive freedom lovers around the globe.
Companies are not intended to be political. We’re not.
But companies can have soul. And Fab does.
Fab stands up for progress and equality.
The entire Fab family honors and applauds today’s ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn DOMA so that me and Chris, and Bradford and Georgi, and everyone everywhere across the U.S. can hopefully soon share in marriage equality. Today’s ruling is not just a win for gays and lesbians, it’s a win for everyone who believes in equality.
Smile, you’re designed to. Equally.
The hours are long.
The mountains are high.
The passion runs thick.
Mistakes will be made.
Let’s be honest about it. It’s not easy to disrupt, challenge, and try to change industries. Dishes and egos and feelings will be broken along the way.
But that’s ok. That’s what startups are all about. Taking chances to make greatness. Embracing failure. Providing more opportunity than most people would find elsewhere while simultaneously creating more ambiguity than most people are comfortable with.
That’s a startup.
Does any of the above justify jokes about firing people? No! But I challenge you to show me a fast-growing startup that doesn’t have human error.
We have a saying at Fab: Make mistakes. Take chances, try stuff, fail, but don’t take the whole business down with you.
At a startup, if you have time to not make mistakes, you have time to get fired. There, I said it.
Let’s get back to work.
Readers of this blog know that we pride ourselves on our transparency here at Fab.
To that end, I wanted to take a moment to clear up some misconceptions about how we work at Fab.
A Bloomberg article yesterday put forth some blatant misrepresentations about Fab. I don’t usually make it a habit of taking to my blog to rebut press stories but the misrepresentations of Fab in this article were so egregious that I felt compelled to clear the air. Some may ask why I would even bother to acknowledge the article and draw even more attention to it. My answer is simple. We have four constituents at Fab: our customers, our designers, our employees, and our investors. Our goal is for our four constituents to love Fab. To that end, it is important to us that they know what Fab is really like. I am often asked if we will continue to be so transparent as we grow. We plan to stay this way on our best days as well as when we are challenged.
Before I jump into it, I will note that this sort of “takedown” wasn’t unexpected. We’ve grown really big really fast at Fab and we’ve raised a lot of money along the way. There are bound to be naysayers, skeptics, and critics. That’s normal. It’s our job to prove them wrong. We’re up for that challenge. It’s what we do. And I don’t want any of our customers, designers, employees, or investors to think for a minute that this sort of poke is going to distract us from our focus on our core mission. (A wise Fab investor wrote me yesterday with regards to the story: “As I was told a long time ago you are not somebody until someone wants you dead :)” — ok, maybe that’s the extreme, but we own it.)
We are on a mission to be the world’s design store.
The Fab culture is all about achieving this mission. That’s our goal. That drives all of our decisions. And that drives the intensity, perfectionism, and humor of the culture we have created at Fab.
What’s it like to work at Fab?
Contrary to press reports, there are no “rules” for how to work at Fab. Instead, each employee gets an AMAC plastic storage box to put on their desk to remind them of the Fab company values:
- Put Customers First.
- Exude Passion.
- Take Ownership.
- Foster Teamwork.
- Go Above & Beyond.
- Be Transparent.
- Stay Humble.
- Make it Fun.
(There’s a tad of irony in all this that Bloomberg itself infamously has a 376-page company manual, “The Bloomberg Way” — a “376-page rule book that all new hires are required to study during intensive orientation boot camps.” Source: New York Magazine)
Here are some basic claim/facts in response to the Bloomberg article.
Claim. [Fab] lost or fired at least 11 of its executives in the past year.
Fact. To-date, Fab has had one C-level departure and 4 VP-level departures in 2 years. We have about 650 total employees today and more than 60 people in global management.
Claim. [Fab] missed its 2012 targets for revenue by almost 20 percent.
Fact. Fab achieved its budgeted revenue goal for 2012. Period.
I had also put forth a stretch goal that was 20% higher than our official budget. We had hoped to achieve that stretch goal but like many retailers we saw a weaker than expected October and November 2012 due to the U.S. election attention on the economy and then the impact of Hurricane Sandy. Nonetheless we still put up $45M in sales in Q4 2012 and followed that with nearly $40M in Q1 2013. We’re extremely proud of this. My mistake was letting my bullishness on the stretch goal get out there publicly. I own that.
Claim. [Fab] employees are asked to send e-mails in a certain font, use high-quality paper and always “be Fab.”
Fact. Yes! We do have some basic expectations for brand consistency — as most companies do. We expect Fab employees to use our standard company font, use high-quality paper, and live the Fab values. This is all pretty standard brand best-practice stuff.
Claim. Fab employees are not allowed to put their jackets on the back of their chairs.
Fact. We have some basic expectations around our office environment. The Fab office is a show-space. Every day we have designers and makers visit Fab. To that end, we strive to keep our office looking as crisp and clean and compelling as our website and apps. We ask that Fab employees utilize coat racks and closets instead of putting their jackets on their chairs. We ask them to try to keep their desks tidy. All of this is in the name of putting our best foot forward to visitors. Do we police it? No. It’s just a general expectation.
Claim. One e-mail to the New York office from Goldberg on Dec. 6 asked for a confession from whichever employee left a mess in Fab’s model apartment.
Fact. As I explained to the reporter, this wasn’t the case of someone making a mess. It was a horrible case of vandalism. On the evening of December 5, 2012 an individual seriously vandalized and damaged the Fab model apartment that we use for photo shoots. We were greatly disturbed by this. My harsh email resulted in an employee coming forward and providing us with information showing that the individual responsible for the vandalism was not a Fab employee and we took appropriate measures.
Claim. A message on Feb. 4 carried the subject header “Do you like getting paid?” Goldberg told employees they were required to have a photo uploaded to the “team” page on Fab.com “in order to be eligible for the next company pay period. No exceptions.”
Fact. We pride ourselves on humor and transparency at Fab. As part of our major relaunch relaunch of our employee pages on Feb 5 we required every employee to be listed publicly. The bit about holding out pay was a way to get everyone’s attention. It worked. We required everyone to participate in Fab’s transparency, as it is one of our company values.
Claim. An e-mail on Oct. 11 from Shellhammer, who serves as chief design officer, forbids people from modeling Fab’s products. Employees had been inserting themselves into shots of the company’s wares posted on its website. “If you have time to model, you have time to get fired,” Shellhammer wrote.
Fact. It was a joke. We have about a thousand jokes just like it. “If you have time to xyz, you have time to get fired.” It’s a joke about staying focused and not getting distracted.
Yes, we know that getting fired isn’t the sort of thing to normally joke about. But before haters hate on us, come visit Fab’s offices. We have this thing at Fab called “do your one thing” - the notion that everyone should focus on doing the one thing they are the best at above all other things and that the accumulation of everyone’s one things creates a great organization. No one’s one thing at Fab is to be a professional model.
Claim. [Fab] applies a culture of meticulous control.
Fact. Our employees have an intense amount of freedom within the structure we’ve created to make Fab great.
Claim: Fab spent a lot on marketing last year.
Fact: This is true. I have said publicly that I wish we had about $10M of marketing spend from last year back in our pockets — online ad spend we wish we had spent more efficiently in hindsight. That’s all part of learning and improving. In addition, we also chose to spend more on marketing in Europe last year that in our original plans, in order to successfully fight off the Samwer brother’s Fab clone, Bamarang. That was money well spent as we defeated them and they shut down, leaving Fab with no direct online competitor in Europe.
Claim: I don’t care if we do $200 million or $300 million in sales in 2013.
Fact: This is 100% true. All we care about is that we make our customers, designers, employees, and investors love us. If we accomplish that, lots of value will be created over time. Love first, sales second. That’s what it takes to win at emotional commerce.
Fab has only been around for two years and we’ve accomplished a lot in those two years but we’re still just getting started. It takes time, effort, resources, and the hard work of amazingly talented people to build a long-lasting brands. It takes tenacity, drive, and passion. We have that in abundance at Fab.
Thank you, thank you, thank you to every one of our Fab employees past and present for your incredible efforts on behalf of Fab. We believe in our team and in our ability to execute on our big vision. We are also a learning organization and we welcome continuous feedback on how to make Fab the best employer in the world.
I’ll end with one of our most important Fab values: Stay humble. We are only as good as our next broken dish. We have to keep at it and earn it every day.
Oh, and we’re hiring. If you’re smart, ambitious, and ready to live the Fab values, please apply.
Smile, you’re designed to.
Internally at Fab we’ve declared this the “summer of love” — an entire summer dedicated to developing our ambitious long term strategy for making our four constituents (our customers, our designers, our employees, and our shareholders) love Fab more than any company before. If we achieve that, we will win at emotional commerce.
It’s not easy.
People don’t love companies
People love products.
People love experiences.
People love people.
Will make for a challenging and rewarding summer of planning. And, hopefully our customers, designers, employees, and shareholders will feel the love for years and years to come.
Smile, you’re designed to.
News: @Fab Closes $150M in initial Series D Financing from Tencent, Atomico, Andreessen Horowitz, ITOCHU Technology Ventures, and Existing Investors.
THE BIG NEWS.
Just a few days after our 2nd birthday, we’re thrilled to announce that Fab has closed $150 million in new funding in the first tranche of our Series D round of financing. This $150 million is the first part of a larger Series D round that we expect will be completed over the next few months. Fab has now raised more than $310 million since our inception. This new round of financing helps us execute on our long-term vision of being the world’s design store.
Even though we are still in the midst of finalizing additional participants in our Series D round, we wanted to go ahead and make public this first $150 million closing now because we are excited to announce that Tencent has become one of the strategic investors in Fab. Tencent will also appoint a director to our Board.
Tencent is one of the world’s largest providers of comprehensive Internet services with 825 million QQ instant messaging MAU and 194 million Weixin and WeChat combined MAU (MAU represents the monthly active user accounts as of the end of the first quarter in 2013). Tencent is the third largest Internet company in the world, with a market capitalization of $73 billion (as of 11 June 2013).
[Here are some third-party charts on Tencent’s WeChat growth.]
Fab is excited to work with Tencent to bring Fab to millions more people around the world. We specifically sought out a strategic partner like Tencent because we are intent on bringing Fab to many new markets. We believe that design is a universal language and we are confident that we can bring Fab’s unique products to millions and millions of people worldwide.
Fab also welcomes another new strategic investor, ITOCHU Technology Ventures. Fab’s existing investors, Atomico, Andreessen Horowitz, Menlo Ventures, RTP Ventures, Pinnacle Ventures, Lars Hinrichs, and Docomo Capital also participated in this latest round of financing.
THE BIG FAB IDEA: EMOTIONAL COMMERCE.
Fab is already well on our way to being the world’s greatest design store.
But Fab’s long term ambition is to be the worldwide leader in Emotional Commerce.
There are currently only four e-commerce companies in the world that are valued at more than $10 billion: Amazon, Alibaba, eBay, and Rakuten. We believe that Fab has a legitimate chance to be the fifth by leading in Emotional Commerce.
Differing from the “commodity commerce” players, Fab is the pioneer in Emotional Commerce, helping people discover and buy the meaningful stuff in their lives, like the chairs they sit on, the table they dine at, the plates they eat from, the glasses they drink out of, the pen they write with, the notepad they write in, the art on their walls, the bracelet on their arm – the emotional products in their lives. That’s Fab.
I want to be really clear on this as I’m sure there are skeptics who will ask and wonder why Fab needs so much money. Fab is focused on the long term. We are focused on creating “Wow!” shopping experiences that will result in customers making 20+ purchases from Fab within a couple of years. We are focused on being the global brand that represents emotional commerce for decades to come. Fab is not about a single transaction. Fab is about creating Wow! experiences in everything we do, from the unique merchandise we offer, to the user experience on our website and mobile apps, to fast delivery and a delightful out-of-box experience, to the follow-on customer service. We truly believe that it takes investing in Wow! in order to build the next $10B+ E-commerce company, and that’s what we’re doing.
[BTW: to put all this in perspective, Amazon has raised a total of $5.3B in equity and debt since 1997. Building a large e-commerce business is capital intensive, but there are several winner-take-all opportunities and Fab hopes to capitalize on at least one of those in the global market for emotional products.]
We have a very simple yet powerful 4 point formula at Fab:
- The world’s most exciting merchandise – featuring more and more products that are 100% exclusive to Fab.
- The world’s most engaging experience – from our website and apps to our delivery and service.
- Efficient retailing – we’re building a real business here with solid improvements in margins. Yes, we grew sales by more than 500% in 2012 and we’ll grow by around 100% in 2013, but it’s not just about the top-line — we’re now achieving 43% gross margins, up from 29% in 2011, and we’re rapidly reducing our fulfillment costs through technology and automation. Not a lot of companies can attest to the type of revenue growth + margin growth we’ve seen at Fab.
- Truly global. We want to be the brand that represents emotional commerce, on a global scale.
Some additional background on Emotional Commerce:
The first wave of e-commerce — which was dominated by Amazon — was all about bringing commodity products online. We call that wave: Commodity Commerce. The fundamental principles of Commodity Commerce are selection, price and speed: the biggest product catalogue, at the best prices, delivered as quickly as possible. It’s Walmart online. It’s Target online. It’s Best Buy online. It’s your drugstore online. It’s the Amazonification of commodity retail. It’s convenience shopping for the products people already know they need. And it is perfect for when consumers already know what they are looking for and what matters most is price and convenience. Examples: books, music, electronics, shoes (your size doesn’t change), underwear (ideally your size doesn’t change very often), dry goods, tools and hardware, toys, and office supplies.
Amazon has successfully executed a winner-take-all strategy in Commodity Commerce by investing heavily in the supply chain of massive selection. That’s the same play that Alibaba has run in China, and Rakuten has run in Japan.
The second wave of e-commerce — which is a battle between Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google, and others — is the digitization of media: Digital Commerce. Books. Music. Movies. TV. Video.
The third wave of e-commerce is all about bringing emotional purchases online. Non-commodity products represent more thoughtful purchase decisions. That’s exactly what we do at Fab. That’s Emotional Commerce. Emotional commerce involves categories like furniture, home accessories, home textiles, fashion, art, and jewelry. These are categories where people care about having something special in their lives.
We believe that the following principles will carry the day in Emotional Commerce:
- Exciting Merchandise. Winning in Emotional Commerce starts with great products. Stuff that people get excited about. Stuff that’s unique. Stuff that’s fresh. Stuff that can’t be found elsewhere. Emotional Commerce is all about creating Wow!
- Amazing Shopping Experiences. Commodity Commerce is about getting in and out as quickly as possible. One-click shopping. Emotional Commerce is all about getting lost in the moment. Emotional Commerce is all about taking the best offline shopping experiences — of being lured in by storefronts, of browsing through assortments and colors; it is the joy of the hunt and finding something fabulous, - having fun while shopping — and making that entire experience even more amazing online. It’s about discovery via social and mobile and new formats for web and tablets and smartphones. It’s about making online shopping not just convenient but downright fun. It’s called “retail therapy” for a reason. Shopping must be joyful in order to capture emotional purchases.
- Brand Building. Winning in Emotional Commerce requires developing aspirational yet accessible online brands. It’s about ecommerce with personality. That’s why Fab has a unique and consistent point of view. We’re modern. We’re colorful. We’re urban-inspired. And, we’re a bit quirky, and we’re proud of that.
Here’s why this brand building matters. 50% of Fab’s sales are in home categories. Furniture. Lighting. Textiles. When people buy home products online, they want to know that there’s a solid and respected brand behind it — and they also want to be inspired by that brand. People get excited by and want to be associated with brands that are sharp, modern, colorful, edgy, and aspirational. (See: Apple, Target, Kate Spade). Brands will have to take care to have a consistent point of view and to honor and nurture the trust relationship between them and their customers. Brands will also need to have patience and staying power.
For example, customers likely won’t buy big ticket items such as furniture during their first purchase with us. But, if we treat them well and wow them at every turn, we can walk them down a path towards turning to us in trust when they are ready to make a furniture purchase online. At Fab we find that furniture transactions happen most often after a customer’s fifth or sixth purchase. Nurturing the Fab brand is vital to our being there when the customer is ready. Today, 5% of Fab’s customers have made a furniture purchase from us. That’s both big and the start of things to come. We know that building the Fab brand is key to enabling more and more people to trust and desire to buy furniture from Fab. That’s why one of the things we’re focused on is acquiring lifetime customers; customers that will go on to make 20+ purchases from Fab.
That’s the sort of emotional bond we strive to build with our customers, such that they rely on us for their lifestyle purchase decisions.
IT’S ALL ABOUT CREATING WOW!
To sum up this whole emotional commerce thing, the way we see it, Fab is in the business of creating Wow!
If we create Wow! every day for our customers, then we will create lots of value over time for our design partners, our employees, and our shareholders.
At our all-company meetings and in investor discussions, I’m now famous (or infamous?) for repeating the same line over and over again: “I don’t give a shit if we sell $200M this year or $300M this year, what I care about is that we wow our customers everyday and build a brand for the decades. If we do that, we’ll create an amazing business that people love, and in doing so we’ll make plenty of money over time. Wow first, money second.”
2 YEARS INTO CREATING WOW!
- In our first two years, nearly 14 million people have registered with Fab.
- Our customers have purchased nearly 6 million products from Fab. In the last year we’ve sold 1 product every 5 seconds!
- 50% of Fab’s sales are of home products.
- 10% of Fab’s sales are art.
- 10% of Fab’s sales are jewelry.
- 20% of Fab’s sales are fashion and fashion accessories.
- The typical Fab customer is 25 to 40 years old. 60% female. College educated.
- 35% of Fab’s sales are on mobile. Fab’s members carry the world’s design store around in their hands. Fab’s mobile purchasers also order more, more often, and at higher basket sizes. Fab is leading the mobile shopping revolution.
- We’ve worked with more than 15,000 designers, empowering a global design ecosystem and enabling them to scale up their businesses. Their success is our success and we’re committed to being the best partner to designers, period. Our business model is all about shining a spotlight on designers and then helping them scale up their business alongside ours.
- We’re well on our way to more than doubling our sales in 2013 over 2012, (which was 5 times more than 2011).
- Fab now sells products in 27 countries and 40% of our sales today occur outside the U.S.
- 75% of Fab’s orders ship within 24 hours of being placed.
- We pride ourselves on delivering the world’s best customer service. Our Fab “Crackerjacks” (our support team) are renowned for the fastest, friendliest, and most helpful support in the industry, bar none. See for yourself by searching for @fab and @fabcrackerjacks on Twitter.
And, we’re just getting started.
WHAT’S FAB GOING TO DO WITH ALL THS MONEY?
Again, it all goes back to creating Wow!
At the beginning of 2012 it took an excruciatingly long 16 days - on average - from time of purchase to our shipping a product. Today, 75 percent of Fab’s orders ship within 24 hours of purchase. This massive change happened by investing in technology and supply chain and logistics, and by taking inventory and stocking it in our own Fab-operated warehouses. We’ll be investing in additional enhancements to our supply chain, logistics, customer service, technology, and merchandising. In 2013 we’ll open up our own new Fab-operated warehouse in The Netherlands to serve our 3.5 million European customers. In 2014 we’ll open up our 2nd Fab-operated warehouse in the U.S., in the Las Vegas area to help us better serve the west coast.
Another big area of investment we’re making is in developing products that are 100% exclusive to Fab. We’re working closely with our 15,000+ design partners to collaborate on designs that have never been sold before. Instead of hiring hundreds of in-house designers, we’re empowering an ecosystem of thousands of makers – shining a spotlight on their products and then helping scale up their businesses. Our message to designers is simple: Designers design; Fab will help you manufacture, distribute, and grow. We’re also investing in our own line of user-designed custom furniture, Fab Designed By You, which enables anyone to easily design their own tables, shelves, benches, and more.
We’re also investing more in mobile and social. As noted, today 35% of Fab’s sales are via mobile apps and we see highest conversion rates, satisfaction rates, and lifetime value amongst our mobile members. We’ll be unveiling several new innovations there in the coming months, so keep an eye out.
And, finally, we’re investing in our international growth. Fab is democratizing design with no borders. Everyone everywhere benefits from great design. We want Fab to truly be a global brand. In the coming months we’ll be working on rolling out Fab to even more countries. Our aim to enable people all over the world to bring a little Fab into their life, and in doing so to spread great design to people all over the earth like never before.
RAISING MONEY IS A RESPONSIBILITY, NOT A SUCCESS.
There are some who will call us a success because of this fundraise.
They’ll say we’re worth billions.
And, of course, there are some who will call it a bubble.
We know that the truth is that raising money is not success. Raising money is a responsibility that opens up new opportunities. We take our responsibility at Fab very seriously. We are setting out to build the best designed website and apps, selling the best designed merchandise, with the best designed logistics, customer support, and supply-chain, and backed by the world’s best team of employees, designers and investors. We’re just fortunate to have this amazing opportunity. It’s humbling. It’s inspiring. It’s emotional. Thank you everyone for believing in us. We want to extend a special thank you to our design partners – all 15,000+ of you – for working with us. Our success is your success. We are committed to building this together.
We promise to keep learning, listening, and trying our best to make Fab worthy of the investments in our vision and future that we have been so fortunate to receive.
Oh, and it only gets harder, not easier. Anyone who thinks Fab is taking a victory lap has it all wrong. The pressure is greater than ever for us to succeed. And that’s a good thing. At Fab, one of our core values is that we celebrate our challenges. Bring it on.
Smile, you’re designed to.
What’s going on over at Pinterest?
I’ll be honest, I’m not a Pinterest user. I’ve tried a few times and it’s just not my bag.
For a while, I also was a Pinterest skeptic. Mostly because (a) I don’t use it, and (b) we saw traffic to Fab from Pinterest plateau and meander for a while (See chart), and (c) the traffic that we got from Pinterest rarely resulted in sales on Fab — people tend to pin the expensive aspirational stuff, not the everyday affordable stuff.
The last 3 months, something’s changed.
Pinterest was Fab’s #4 traffic source in May. And, it’s converting to purchase for the first time in a considerable manner.
This is something we’ll definitely be looking into.
We’ve been spending a lot of time lately at Fab obsessing around driving even further loyalty amongst Fab’s customers. Fab already has more than two-thirds of our revenue coming from repeat customers vs. new customers, but we have bigger ambitions.
Repeat orders isn’t enough. We want people to love Fab so much that they think of Fab first whenever they want to buy the emotional products in their life — the stuff they live with, they stuff around them. Stuff for their home, stuff for their body, stuff for their lifestyle. The pen they write with, the notebook they write in, the glass they drink from, the table they sit at, the utensils they cook with, etc. The meaningful stuff in their lives.
To get there, we know that Fab has to be more than just the place for cool stuff. Fab needs to really actualize being the world’s #1 design store — the place that people turn to immediately when they think about adding emotional products to their life.
That’s all about building the Fab brand and encouraging people to want to live the Fab lifestyle — modern, colorful, urban-inspired. Aspirational yet everyday accessible.
That’s also all about building loyalty and emotions around the Fab brand. Our brand is not a marketing slogan; our brand is every interaction with Fab. It’s the long term journey of developing positive, emotional, interaction after interaction such that our customers love us and turn to us whenever they think about adding emotional products to their life.
And that’s why I’ve started talking internally around building for the 20th purchase. What I mean by that is that as a company it’s not enough for us to drive a 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or even 10th purchase. We’re setting ambitious goals to try to get all Fab customers to purchase 20+ times from us in the next few years? Why? Because if we are able to accomplish that, it means we have begun to create the lasting brand we aspire to be.
That’s about the best designed products, the best designed experiences, the best designed service, and the best designed team. That’s about designing an amazing company that has a long term emotional impact on people’s lives.
So cheers to trying to build a company worthy of 20 purchases from all of our customers. Ambitious, but that’s what we do.
Smile, you’re designed to.
Over the past 2.5 months I’ve been to parts of Asia 5 times for work. That’s a lot of travel. More on why later.
All this travel has forced me to manage a lot more by email than I would normally prefer.
It has also led me to develop a new system for inbound and outbound email communication with the Fab team.
Here it is. I’m curious your thoughts.
On all emails that are sent to me, I now ask that Fab’s team members put one of the following in ALL CAPS in the subject line:
- UPDATE: (subject xyz). This signifies that the email is just an update, informational, no action required.
- DISCUSSION: (subject xyz). This signifies that the email is requesting input and debate but is not yet ready for a decision.
- DECISION: (subject xyz). This signifies that the email is requesting a decision.
- URGENT: (subject xyz). This signifies that the email requires an immediate response.
I have then setup filters in my gmail such that I first review all URGENTS, then all DECISIONS, then all DISCUSSIONS, then all UPDATES.
On emails that I send, I’ve also started creating a standard structure for what I put in the subject line:
- FEEDBACK. Means I am providing my feedback and input on a topic.
- ACTION ITEMS. Means I am requesting someone(s) to take a specific action, usually with a specific deadline.
- IDEA FOR INPUT. Means I am throwing out an idea that I’d like input on.
And, my favorite of all, is a simple 2 words that I use most frequently in response to emails from members of our management team:
Go = 2 letters that = the ultimate empowerment.
GO! means run with it.
GO! means take that idea of yours and make it happen.
GO! means take risks, invent things, make mistakes.
GO! means get shit done.