Email, Messaging, and the Utility Fallacy

Suze Cumming | June 20, 2019

Share this page on Facebook
Tweet this page on Twitter
Share this page on LinkedIn

 

We are all so busy.  Are we too busy to do the important part of our work?

 

Cal Newport, a professor at Georgetown University coined the phrase Utility Fallacy.  He refers to it as the tendency, when evaluating the impact of a technology, to confine our attention to comparing the technical features of the new technology to what it replaced.

 

So yes, email is better than fax.  What’s App is, in many ways, better than email.  Instant messaging/text may be quicker than email and What’s App.  At least today.
But do all of these low friction communications mediums make us better at what we do?

 

Technology provides us with utilitarian benefits but overlooks the negative personal and social impacts.

 

Successfully managing your inbox is not enough to make you remarkable at real estate.

 

Managing 50 text conversations without dropping the ball is an amazing time management feat but does it serve the clients we represent in the best way?

 

Successfully managing our messaging technology may make us feel like we are accomplishing something important but what if it is really keeping us from doing the work that matters?

I was speaking this week with a CEO of a small investment company. He manages about 100 people and a huge portfolio of real estate, stocks and private equities. And he doesn’t use email – at all. He dropped email over 2 years ago because he felt strongly that it kept him from doing the work he needed to do to keep his company healthy. The strategic thinking, the relationship building, the deep research – making the best quality decisions on behalf of his clients and staff.

I’m not thinking that this is possible for a REALTOR® but what would it be like if we prioritized the important work over our communication technology and how could we make that happen.

Looking forward to hearing your comments.

Email, Messaging, and the Utility Fallacy

Suze Cumming | June 20, 2019

Share this page on Facebook
Tweet this page on Twitter
Share this page on LinkedIn

 

We are all so busy.  Are we too busy to do the important part of our work?

 

Cal Newport, a professor at Georgetown University coined the phrase Utility Fallacy.  He refers to it as the tendency, when evaluating the impact of a technology, to confine our attention to comparing the technical features of the new technology to what it replaced.

 

So yes, email is better than fax.  What’s App is, in many ways, better than email.  Instant messaging/text may be quicker than email and What’s App.  At least today.
But do all of these low friction communications mediums make us better at what we do?

 

Technology provides us with utilitarian benefits but overlooks the negative personal and social impacts.

 

Successfully managing your inbox is not enough to make you remarkable at real estate.

 

Managing 50 text conversations without dropping the ball is an amazing time management feat but does it serve the clients we represent in the best way?

 

Successfully managing our messaging technology may make us feel like we are accomplishing something important but what if it is really keeping us from doing the work that matters?

I was speaking this week with a CEO of a small investment company. He manages about 100 people and a huge portfolio of real estate, stocks and private equities. And he doesn’t use email – at all. He dropped email over 2 years ago because he felt strongly that it kept him from doing the work he needed to do to keep his company healthy. The strategic thinking, the relationship building, the deep research – making the best quality decisions on behalf of his clients and staff.

I’m not thinking that this is possible for a REALTOR® but what would it be like if we prioritized the important work over our communication technology and how could we make that happen.

Looking forward to hearing your comments.

key icon