We’ve all been there before.An Analyst buddy sends a group-wide email. Something about a relevant deal and he wants to be sure that all the MDs know about it. Not to mention, it’s almost bonus time and he wants them to know that he knows about it.
“Is he serious with this shit?” you think to yourself. Why not give him a little grief?
So, you shoot off a quick reply. “Way to make me look bad, d*ckhead. Get back to spreading comps.”
You chuckle to yourself. Proud of your pithy, yet topical, comment, when suddenly it hits you…
“Oh my God. What I have I done.” You hit ‘Reply All’
During my three year stint in banking, there were two things that I feared above everything else.
- Getting staffed on a “Strategic Alternatives” pitch on a Friday afternoon
- Accidentally hitting ‘Reply All’ on a snarky email to a fellow Analyst
Unfortunately, I had to face Fear #1 on more than one occasion. There’s little worse than knowing that you’ll have to cancel plans so you can put together a 120 page pitchbook explaining to Boeing why they need to sell a subsidiary, and hire us of course, knowing that there is no chance in hell that it’ll ever happen. Literally nothing in banking worse than spending your weekend turning draft after draft of a useless pitchbook.
Hitting ‘Reply All’ is a close second, and it’s something I managed to avoid throughout my entire three years. Looking back, I’m honestly kind of baffled that I never did it. With the sheer amount of email you get every day (make that every hour), you start to fire them off on auto pilot. I had a couple of close calls, but I always managed to check to make sure I didn’t hit the dreaded Reply All button when it would’ve come back to haunt me.
An article last week in Businessweek addresses the ‘Reply All’ problem. Apparently, email client makers are starting to offer fixes. Microsoft recently released a plugin for Outlook called NoReplyAll, which allows a sender to prevent recipients from responding via ‘Reply All’.
A company was founded on the premise that ‘Reply All’ is a nuisance. Sperry Software, not to be confused with the boat shoe business, sells a simple program that assaults users with an alert every time they hit Reply All to any email. It acts as a failsafe mechanism to prevent any foolish mistakes. And get this, it sells for $14.95 and has allegedly sold hundreds of thousands of copies, making the anti-‘Reply All’ business a big business to be in.