My mom works at a printing company. They did a survey of their customers. They did it on paper (thinking that to be appropriate for a printer) with a return envelope.

The very first one they got back chastised them for wasting paper and not using SurveyMonkey. So they responded by having the entire company put this in their email signature:

Notice: It’s OK to print this email. Paper is a biodegradable, renewable, sustainable product made from trees. Working forests are good for the environment and provide clean air and water, wildlife habitat and carbon storage. Thanks to improved forest management, we have more trees in America today than we had 100 years ago.


Here’s what I think:

1) Don’t make your entire company do something (ever) based on one survey response. Make decisions based on observed patterns and aggregate data.

2) Don’t use big fat email signatures (ever). They make email threads harder to read. If the environment is a huge deal, remember that’s all the more data that needs to be transferred and stored, which takes power.

3) Don’t get political in business, especially if it’s against popular opinion. Unless you don’t mind if you lose customers due to your righteousness. There are better times and places for political battles and they involve discourse not one-way signals.

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