The foreigner with email in China = Poor Communicator

Here is an email that I was sent from a client – received from one of his staff:

“One of our contributors sent me through an urgent news story in the morning which I was completely unaware of until the end of the day – when 600 emails suddenly landed in my inbox.”

What I find funny is that email never has and never will be a synchronous and real time communications tool.  Don’t people get that?

Same Place, Same Time = Meeting Room

Same Place, Different Time = Email

Different Place, Different Time = Email

Different Place, Same Time = Telephone

Regardless of place or time and is urgent = TELEPHONE

The issue here is that this client needs to take action and educate his staff on correct communication procedures (Logic) and what the whole concept of information asymmetry is and how to deal with it.

The problem is NOT that the service provider messed up (we didn’t and weird stuff happens all the time in China and we are setup to be able to adapt fairly quickly and re route stuff – hence our CNN interview in August 2007 for being one of the few ISP’s that managed to deliver international email while no one else could for a week during the lead up to a CCPC event), the problem is that the worker was relying on EMAIL for “Urgent” matters.


This bizarre communications problem seems to happen a lot in China.  And 99% of the time it is the foreigners – bitching and complaining about an email not arriving and therefore THAT is why they couldn’t or didn’t do something.  That is the same logic as saying the reason why you were late to work was because of Beijing’s traffic.


It does start to grate on your nerves after a while.  Have none of these foreigners ever been dragged over the coals back home for such sloppy work communication practices?  Or do they just wait until they get to China to unwind themselves and become all slack and not responsible for their own situations?

No – they ignore that truth and send off a bitchy email to their boss without thought to the consequences and thus potentially exposing innocent and hard working people to undue persecution or the need to defend themselves.

Follow Up.

Follow Up.

Follow Up.


PS:  The dog ate my homework….