Wilson's blog post describes how three hours of his Sunday evening were spent wading through 400 or so non-spam emails - only a third of his 1200 or so unread messages. After that, Wilson checked to see if he had any pending messages from those with whom he communicates most regularly and who are his most important email relationships. For the rest, "I select all and hit archive. It is a tremendously satisfying feeling."
Wilson contends it's not simply a matter of efficiency or time management - "the more efficient I get with email, the more of it that comes in." And Suster's blog post expands on this, explaining why the norms of email itself make it unsustainable.
According to Suster, email is a problem because:
1. Anyone and everyone can email you.
2. The sheer volume of emails is overwhelming.
3. People expect a response.
4. Social networks have multiplied messaging.
Both Wilson and Suster point to services that help them manage their email communications (namely Gist, X1, and Etacts), and indicate in their blog posts and comments that they're receptive to new systems of organizing and filtering information.
And while many of us can benefit from adopting new productivity tools, the lessons for entrepreneurs from these two VCs' posts may have little to do with making emails more palatable.
Rather, it's noteworthy that despite being overwhelmed by unread email, Suster and Wilson actively blog - and moreover, they interact with commenters on their blogs. Suster remarks that he prefers this mode of communication, saying "I enjoy the creative outlet of blogging and being able to build relationships with people in a lightweight way that often lead to in person meetings or phone calls down the line where appropriate." Suster further notes that he generally is more receptive to the shorter, more succinct modes of communication that Twitter and instant messaging services provide.
Of course, this isn't a call to start inundating Suster and Wilson and other VCs' blogs with pitches. Rather, it's a reminder to entrepreneurs that email, as with any form of communication, has to be used wisely.
And if you are not getting responses to your emails (from investors or others), it may be time to try other tactics, including those old-fashioned modes of phone or face-to-face.