sometime around 2000 i gave up using capitals in most emails. lots of people mention it, and some people are annoyed by it. no one has ever asked me why i do it, which i find curious. regardless, i want to go on the record explaining myself.
1. it was really hard to write on early pdas (i used a series of treos.) dropping the capitalization made it a lot easier.
it turned out that realized that skipping capitals had other benefits as well.
2. i have an array of odd learning/information processing deficits. i didn't read until i was 8, but was then able to read the new york times a week later. i have a very hard time with the order of digits. and i have terrible recall of proper nouns, dates, and numbers. my short term memory is only 5 digits long. i can't tell my left from my right. i can't alphabetize, and i can't learn the multiplication table. i struggle to read any extended text in Title Caps. i literally cannot see typos, mine or others'. all of which means i have to process a lot more than most people, and i'm prone to errors. skipping the capitals to reduce complexity simplifies and reduces error while speeding my email processing. this seems like a good tradeoff.
3. i could pay homage to one of my favorite poets (e.e. cummings) who used unconventional syntax expressively (and subversively?).
4. finally, it turned out that no caps has become a trademark look. when people see no-caps text, usually in an email, they suspect it is from me. it fits my direct, casual, results-oriented approach to things.
of course, when communication is more formal–an email to a client, a bio, any other blog post–i use full capitalization. and full sentences. that's my story!
This is my favorite story about my mother.
She is 84 and lives in NYC. Recently, she was running cross-town from her job (yes, she still works) to meet a friend for lunch (the woman has more friends than anyone I know). She is tall and thin and wears enormous sneakers, which hit a divot in the sidewalk, right near the curb and sent her flying into traffic on Madison Avenue where she landed, face first (don't worry–she's fine.) She wanted to get up, but a "sweet woman" told her to stay there, another called an ambulance, and three waited with her as she bled profusely (her word) until she was strapped onto the stretcher, loaded up, and off to the hospital. At which point, she refused to give the EMT my phone number. "I'm perfectly fine and don't want her to worry." The admitting nurse at the hospital eventually convinced her to share it by promising they wouldn't call me, which they didn't. She was cat scanned and given four stitches, and pronounced perfectly fine though badly cut and bruised bruised. She waited a long while before being released.
Then she got around to calling me. "Hi Lucinda," she began, in her typical sing-songy phone voice, "I am so lucky! And people are so kind. I was running to have lunch with Lynn when..." Of course, she doesn't understand why I love this all so much.
I want to be my Mom when I grow up.
I’ve founded a new company, this time all by my lonesome. Depending on how you count, this is at least my sixth startup:
The most common question I get after speaking at entrepreneurial events is always some version of “how do I start?” and the answer is “you just do,” which isn’t very useful for people. The only thing that seems useful is to give them examples. My plan is to tell the story of my next company as it unfolds, in the same way I documented my experience as an Eisenhower Fellow in a long series of posts on my old blog [Cereal CEO, which I'm copying into this new blog]. I hope that it’s useful to other entrepreneurs.
If I needed any more reason to get my name back:
Even after controlling for education levels and work hours, a woman who took her husband’s name earns less €960 compared to €1156.
Despite the fact that other than their name choice the women were identical, the participants overwhelmingly described the woman who had taken her husband’s name as being more caring, more dependent, less intelligent, more emotional and (somewhat) less competent.
I've started and/or run too many venture capital-backed software companies, plus one ill-fated food startup.