Tuesday, December 09, 2014

How to Email A Busy Person

Taken from here.

How to E-Mail a busy person.

While I don’t really like to consider myself as a busy person, but with an average of 200 E-Mails I receive a day (not counting social/promo emails),
I do have troubles catching up with everyone while still trying to get work done at the same time.
I pride myself in answering every single E-Mail I get as long as it’s not a mass E-Mail. I do this since many years, but I learned that this isn’t a scaleable solution.
Here is what I personally learned — And remember, it’s not about ME answering your E-Mail, it’s about YOU getting what you want by using smart tricks.

1. The elevator pitch

Whatever you’re writing about, begin your E-Mail with a short summary explaining what this E-Mail is about. Don’t do the “How are you, I’m fine whatever” bullshit small talk. I know it’s hard because we don’t want to sound rude, but it’s more rude to steal someones time with just throwing around words. Write a clear action oriented intro, if you need to add details they should be optional to read.
Try to not talk too much about yourself — Just add a link to your bio online if you want to add some extra credibility. (which does help a lot)

2. Say what you want

Write what you want upfront, then go into details if needed. Trust me, busy people appreciate nothing more than this. In case you write a non-busy person this rule might not apply and you begin with some irrelevant small talk trying to be polite — That’s great, but doesn’t work here.
Be friendly and polite but get to the point and say what you want. If you don’t actually want anything, just put FYI in the subject line but don’t expect a reply.

3. Don’t try to score on the first date

There are a few things you might want to achieve when sending an E-Mail. You’re either trying to establish a connection, or you try to get something specific. While I strongly encourage getting to the point and say what you want upfront, it’s important to know that there’s a fine balance and always two sides of the coin.
Trying to score on the first date is dangerous, it can ruin the whole relationship immediately. If you want something, first tell me WHAT and then tell me WHY this is beneficial for both of us. This is of course a case by case example, but trying too hard on the first date is not the same as saying what you want upfront. Busy people are usually willing to help without getting anything in return, but they do expect some WHY to do the effort.

4. Format your E-Mail

Don’t send a wall of text. Use breaks and format your E-Mail properly so it’s easy to digest. Most E-Mails that don’t get a reply are horribly formatted and a pain to read. Chances are high you won’t get a reply to an E-Mail that is not formatted at all.

5. Use numbers

Every time I reply to E-Mails I take them apart and give key sections of the E-Mail numbers, as I do in this article. It takes me a lot of time but helps the recipient to digest and get back to me in the same fashion which then saves me time in return. With that I give clear action steps. If you send me numbers back, I can easily reply to 1,2,3 and boom done!
This is one of the most important tricks to get E-Mail done for me. Don’t make me format YOUR E-Mails, just so I can reply to them. The easier you can make it for me, the higher the chances that I reply with exactly what you’ve been looking for — And isn’t that what you want?
I don’t think E-Mail sucks, but the way we write them does.
We need to fix the problem at the source.

6. Send it again.

I do this too. If you haven’t received a reply in more than a week, copy the same E-Mail and send it again. Don’t add more things to it or ask me if I got the E-Mail or why I didn’t reply. Just send the same E-Mail again. Every time someone does this I’m very thankful because it either serves as reminder, or sends me the E-Mail again I might have overlooked.
It’s not rude to send exactly the same E-Mail again (you might even optimize the intro part or subject line) — But it’s rude to reply on your own E-Mail asking me why I haven’t replied. Why? Because then I need to find the original E-Mail with no context which will delay the reply even further.

7. Don’t send NDA’s

Please do not send secretive E-Mails with NDA’s attached about this new awesome cutting-edge thing you’re working on but can’t talk about. There is just nothing actionable we can do here. Remember, busy people are not sitting bored at home waiting for random NDA’s to sign — If it’s a really important project, there are other ways to get the message through.

8. Question to ask Question

Sending an E-Mail with the question if you can “pick my brain” to ask me even more questions. What do you expect me to reply? Send questions through right away if you want answers (and use numbers, see Nr. 5)
If you plan to ask 10 questions but know I might be overwhelmed, send me 5 right away and the other 5 after I replied. It’s important to get to the point, but at the same time not overwhelm the person on the other end.

9. No bullshit office jargon

If you write something like “holistic high level overview of potential synergies using cutting edge technologies” my brain is already dead before I can hit the reply button.
“Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted.”
—John Lennon

10. Use a GIF & be funny

You can’t believe how much a funny GIF helps. Everything that makes me smile is a bonus. Time I enjoy wasting, was not wasted.
One of my favorites.
These are my learnings & how I try to write E-Mails myself as well whenever I approach people who I identify as busy. I believe E-Mail is as great as the people who write them. The known problems we face with E-Mails are because of the way they’re written (or written at all), not because of the technology.
Thanks for reading,

Monday, December 01, 2014

Taobao Spree


And fabric!!

This time, I engaged the forwarding services of eazyla - easy to navigate, reasonable fees and I was able to pay by paypal. Only thing is that they don't check your goods when they arrive at their warehouse, maybe it's because I didn't request for it. But if you do, perhaps they will inspect the quality of the goods first.

Ok enough, Ally!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Making Of The Wedding Backdrop

One of my November project was making a wedding photo backdrop for a friend. I went for the vintage romantic theme, and tried to make it as economical as I could. And let me tell you, JB is a fantastic place to get wedding decors. Since I am already familiar with several shops where I get my crafts from, I knew where to go and what to get. This is usually the hardest part for folks who are not familiar with the 'kedai kahwin and kraftangan' around JB. So the hunting began!

First, I drafted out the base where everything is going to 'hang' from. Metal bars would cost A LOT, and they are heavy too, so there's no guarantee they won't topple. 

PVC pipings was opted as the best, as it is strong, light, and really economical! Plus you can choose your length and slice them easily with a saw. All you need are the bars and joints. Cost was RM16.50.

The joints were spray painted.

The rods were wrapped with satin ribbons.

The mood board!

A lightweight pastel peachy pink fabric was roughly stitched onto the top of the lace curtain.

The curtains were then hung on the back rod, and the entire base was erected. This curtain is perfect because it comes with slot heading.

 The tulle is wrapped around the front rods and sides, and goes all the way down to the floor. Then the roses vines are loosely hung and wrapped around the tulle, tied with ribbons.

Two S hooks were hung on the front rod, to hang the chalkboard. This was a 'rehearsal'. I re-wrote the names on the actual day. I also hung some chains of crystal beads alongside the pearls. 


PVC pipes and joints, and spray paint - any hardware shops. {RM16.90 & RM10}
Satin ribbons - practically any 'kedai kahwin & kraftangan' {RM12 per roll, used 4 rolls}
Roses vines - Romantika, Plaza Angsana, Level 5 {RM12.90 per strand, I walloped all 6 strands there}
Tulle and lightweight peachy pink fabric- KAMDAR, Plaza Angsana {RM2 per meter, 2m x 2 for curtain base, 6m for tulle}
Lace curtains - ALVINE SPETS from IKEA {SGD14.90}
Chalkboard - Typo {SGD24.95}
Pearl strings  and crystal bead chains - iKahwin, Jalan Padi Emas 4/1, turn in from Jalan Skudai Kanan. {about RM80}

Monday, November 24, 2014

Mid Century Bedside Table

I have been actively looking for ways to get or make these...





5 This so cute.

Hunting for the materials in JB will be crazy, and maybe futile, especially those tapered McCobb legs. Looks like I have to order them online and buy the wood from IKEA. And a drill. And some nails. And lots of trial and errors... eek!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

My IKEA shopping in PJ

I lugged these home, with amazing savings after comparing to IKEA SG and currency conversion.

GRUSBLAD Quilt - warmer, King size (240cm x 220cm)

RM119 vs SGD69 (RM172.5)

EMMIE RUTA Quilt cover set - King size

RM199 vs SGD99 (RM247.5)

VARGYLLEN cushion cover

RM19.90 vs SGD9.90 (24.75)

BLAVINGE cushion cover

RM6.90 Deal! vs SGD9.90 (RM24.75)
Original price would've been RM19.90.
There was no deal for this cushion cover in SG.

LYRIK table lamp

RM129.00  vs SGD59 (RM147.5)

FORMAT floor lamp

RM89 Deal! 
No longer available in SG.


RM14.90  vs SGD8.90 (RM22.25)

I'm not a Singaporean, but I live in JB, and the nearest IKEA is in Singapore. I would rather take a trip to PJ! Of course I would have to take into account, the toll, and petrol for the travel. That's why I can only wait for events to attend in KL so that I can shop there! I think I will be compiling another list soon...


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

My Power November Weekends So Far...

I have been pleasantly busy! One weekend after the next since the start of November!

#1 - Wedding Cards
Since I've listed my collection on my Etsy shop, this was my first order through Etsy. Forty cards, twenty in English and twenty in Chinese. My first Chinese format invitation card too! It was quite a feat, considering I am Chinese illiterate... heheh.

#2 - IKEA shopping in PJ
After months of selectively compiling my list, I finally got my hands on them! I think I will reserve this for its own post, deservingly...

#3 - Wedding dinner in KL
This was the actual reason that let me shop in IKEA PJ! It was the husband's cousin's wedding. And lo and behold, this was the first wedding I attended where the groom's sister dressed up LIKE.THE.BRIDE. In full glory. The dress was a yellow luxurious embroidered satin with TRAIL, big set hair, heavy make up, 7-inch pumps with gold sides. HELLO!!! I thought entered the wrong ballroom! I think it was rude and inappropriate to steal the limelight from the bride like that.

#4 - Wedding Backdrop Project
This was a very dreamy and romantic project. I helped a friend set up a wedding photo-taking backdrop. And this deserves its own post too!

#5 - Prepare new home for aunt
This is actually on-going. I had the privilege of collecting the keys to a brand new studio apartment, for my aunt. Not my house, but the feeling of collecting keys is kinda exciting! Oh imagine a bare new house, ready to be decorated! It's like an artist's canvas! Well, I won't be decorating it of course, I will leave it up to her. But I will have to clean it, get her sofa bed in, install air-con and water-heater, put up temporary curtains, lend her some floor lamps since she has yet to choose her ceiling lights, and basically prep it in time for another aunt to stay first. If only I could be her interior designer!

November ain't over yet!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The VolksJohore Jamboree 2014 @ Sutera Square

There was mega vintage VW gathering last weekend at Sutera Square (open space in front of the Sutera shoplots, PapaRich being one of them). The peak time was actually on Saturday evening where literally ALL the VW owners brought their Kombis, Beetle and this other model I have not seen before, and gathered at one place for a jamboree. So fun! But then, stupid me, I missed that peak timing. I went at night, and that place wasn't well lit and my pictures end up dark. So the next morning, I went back with my SLR in hand... alas, almost 80% of the cuties were already gone. Sad. So I walked around and enjoyed the remaining vans there... Oh, the ecstasy. I almost kissed one.

At least I own two of em' in my house! Heheh.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Desaru Ostrich Farm

Two weekends ago, we took a ride to Desaru (work related) and explored some areas there and took the chance visit Desaru Ostrich Farm. This is what I love about Johor. You want city life, we have it, you want laidback kampung family entertainment farms, we have it!

After a delish ayam penyet lunch at Sungai Rengit, we continued our journey to Desaru beach and stopped by the ostrich farm on the way.

Rustic charm of Johor. I wish that gold Honda was a Kombi or a vintage car instead. 

The shopfront.

Souvenirs made of ostrich eggs and feathers.

Ostrich oil products.

Entrance fee and some adverts.

A day old ostrich.


The have other birds as well.

An educational talk on ostriches and their eggs. These guys are seriously the expert.

Pano view!


Feeding the ostriches. They let you buy a bunch of these vege/leaves for RM2. I can't remember the name of the plant but it is said to be the best.

These birds have no teeth so little kids can feed them quite safely. Heheh. 

The egg can withstand 100kg of weight! Note: He is NOT 100kg. 

WOW. Can feed family of 6. We adjourned to the eatery next to the farm's shop and had ostrich egg omelette. It tastes 'eggier'. They serve a lot of other food related to ostrich meat too like fried rice, bak kut teh, satay etc.

Gorgeous feather. It looks very glam. But the pen's ink is dried already I think.

Adds up nicely to my home decor!