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What Your Email Address Really Says About You

A VC explains what a founders' email addresses conveys about the entrepreneur and his or her company.

When you started your business you probably didn't give all that much thought to the form of your email address. After all, whether to go for firstname.lastname or just stick with your first name probably didn't seem like a weighty matter when you were also thinking about perfecting your product, polishing your brand and setting your pricing.

But according to a recent, light-hearted blog post from VC David Beisel, the style of a founder's email actually reveals a lot about their approach to entrepreneurship and their ambitions for their business. You might not have meant for your email address to say anything about you or your company, but here are some examples of what one industry insider sees when he looks at entrepreneurs' emails:


The first-name convention projects that the company values the individual in a truly personal manner.  Or, it wants to ascribe internal prestige to the early employees (i.e. “I was the first John”) that will not whither as the company grows.


This convention conveys the importance of scalability in the organization, even from the founding stage...most likely stemming from a technical founder.


The founder’s last name is too long or hard to spell, and so nobody else at the company will list theirs either.


It’s a casual, yet hip atmosphere...the office eschews chairs for beanbags, shared tables for offices and cubes, and there’s not a Windows PC to be found.


 The founding team is all from Microsoft and can’t shake it if they tried.


The team is running in stealth-mode to look inconspicuous, but really wants people to ask.


The founders can’t even figure out how to buy their own domain name.


The founders are so convinced that they’re taking over the world that they want to leave the option of issuing email addresses to their consumer users.

Don't see your particular email format here? Check out the complete blog post for many more possibilities and the secret messages they may be conveying to investors and others.

Is your email address conveying the right image to the world?


Last updated: Sep 4, 2012


Jessica Stillman is a freelance writer based in London with interests in unconventional career paths, generational differences, and the future of work. She has blogged for CBS MoneyWatch, GigaOM, and Brazen Careerist.

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