Managing your work email

5 April, 2011 § 1 Comment

Email is the predominant form of communication in many workplaces today, including at TechSmith. It is very easy to receive about 30 pertinent emails per day, as well as another 100 or so that consist of check-in notices, bug status updates, build notifications, etc.

Finding time to respond to emails, and the priority of which emails to respond to can be a task in itself. Some of my coworkers have different approaches to organizing their emails.

I’ve seen some that are meticulous in their folder organization, and others who make sure to reply to every personal email within 24 hours.

I probably fall somewhere in between. My work email account has:

  • An inbox
  • An archive folder
  • Filtered email folders (Changesets, Build Notifications, Sales Updates, and Off-topic)

Emails that land in my inbox are first priority. A couple times a day I will take the opportunity to sort through those emails. I don’t reply to every single one, but I try to file most. As a rough guideline, I try keep less than a screens-length of messages in my inbox at a time.

If I have read the email and replied (if necessary), then I will move the email to my Archive folder. The Archive folder exists purely for historical purposes. Once a while I will need to scan my history to find an email that someone mentions. I try never to delete an email. With hard drive storage so cheap these days, there should be no reason to delete tiny 10kb emails.

The filtered email folders get perused less often. A couple times a week I will read the changesets (aka check-ins) that have been landed on a couple projects at work that I am interested in. Build notifications almost never get read, they’re there just in case someone breaks the build (which never happens now that we are using gated builds). Sales updates and off-topic emails get read when some spare time comes along.

I find that this type of email management is simple and easy to control, and I recommend you try it out.

Blizzappoccageddon 2011 hits mid-Michigan

1 February, 2011 § 1 Comment

Frosty February / The Old Snowy OakTonight mid-Michigan is expecting a gluttony of snow to land on our doorstep. So much snow that TechSmith has closed the offices tomorrow and Michigan State University has cancelled classes.

In the spirit of the weather, I wanted to plug two great things about TechSmith:

1

TechSmith’s software allows educators to fight blizzards like superheroes. When universities cancel classes and webinars are cancelled, software like Camtasia Studio and Camtasia Relay can step in and save the day. Both of these products allow presenters to record their presentations outside of the classroom, and email out recordings to students.

2

The company culture is great! From ugly-holiday-sweater day to conference rooms named after classic video games, everywhere you turn you’re in for a surprise. For example, my favorite room for scheduling meetings in is Galaga, where we have our own Plinko board. If you’ve been lucky enough to grab one of our prized possessions, a TechSmith titanium spork, then you’ll love what got cooked up today at the office.

With the blizzappoccageddon approaching, we wanted a way to measure the snowfall. What better way than to build a giant “titanium” spork? A Paul Bunyan-sized spork was constructed, and planted outside of one of our buildings. The company is live-streaming the snowstorm, and we’ll have a timelapse video to share when the storm leaves mid-Michigan.

 

TechSmith’s DevCorner

28 January, 2011 § 1 Comment

Update: I’ve embedded the introductory video at the bottom of this post.

Yesterday was the launch of TechSmith’s DevCorner. The DevCorner is a new column on the company’s Visual Lounge blog.

Randall Brown and I are really excited about how cool it is to work as Software Engineers at TechSmith, and we also enjoy learning tons from the developer community at-large. We want to give back to the community, and also show off what it’s like to work at TechSmith.

Starting this week, we’ll be running a weekly post on the Visual Lounge. The posts will focus on common developer discussion topics, programming tips, and the development staff at TechSmith.

I’m looking forward to see what comes of the new column. Let me know what you think!

Ignite TechSmith

5 November, 2010 § 2 Comments

Ignite is a really cool format for presentations, where presenters get five minutes to share their passion on a stage. We’ve been running our own internal Ignite presentations at TechSmith since March 2010. In total, we have had three Ignite TechSmith presentations, featuring over 25 presenters.

I put together this video to give some more background on the event. The end of the video features one of the presentations.

Technology used: To make the video above, I used a Flip camera and Windows Movie Maker. For the Ignite presentation portion, we used Camtasia Relay for the screen recording, a Flip camera for the video of the presenter, and Camtasia Studio to get the picture-in-picture effect.

Have you ever attended an Ignite presentation before? What do you think? Could this be useful for your company?

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