You don't use E-mail?

by Brian Scally

We’re sitting on the midweek hump of Week 1 here at The Data School as DS12. Day one consisted of digesting some background and history about The Information Lab and getting kitted out with some swag and laptops. On day two, Carl made it much clearer what our day-to-day life would be like at the DS and we cracked into a bit of Tableau Prep. Today we began to tackle Alteryx.

To be honest, I had read the DS blogs and had fully expected that all of that was going to happen. But in the next few lines I’ll try to sum up what I didn’t expect, which might be a bit more interesting!

“We don’t use E-mail here”.

“Huh.. So how do you…”.

It seemed like a ludicrous idea at first – my brain must be conditioned by years spent trawling through the E-mail chains of academia. What’s more, is they don’t direct message at The Information Lab either. Everything gets posted on a Facebook-like timeline in an application called Convo, visible to everybody in the organisation. The philosophy? The discussions, conversations, questions and answers you might usually have with one person could benefit others in the company! Want feedback on a Tableau viz? Post it on Convo. Stuck on an Alteryx problem? Post it on Convo. Going to the pub later for a drink? Post it on Convo. Sure, there will be things that you’ll want to keep between yourself and smaller groups of people. DMs are used on such occasions, but those occasions are less frequent than you’d think. It’s likely that if you have a question, somebody else has it too, and by posting it publicly we can all benefit from that. Clever.

It’s not a culture that I’m used to yet, but it seems to be working for (and is heavily promoted by) everybody I’ve talked to here, so I’m looking forward to getting acclimatised. I like the transparency. I’m happy that for now, E-mails are a thing of the past.