Monday, July 15, 2013

How to Send an Email When You Do Not Know the Email Address

It can be a challenge to send an email to someone when you do not know his/her exact email address.  Here are some tips for overcoming this challenge.
The first (and obvious) thing to do is to search the web for the person using a search engine.  Google and Bing are good search engines to use for finding someone.  In addition, search common social media sites, such as LinkedIn and Facebook, to see if the recipient has openly posted an email address.  You can also search for someone via a fee-based search sites like Spokeo (

Often when you want to email someone, you will know the most common information about the person, which you can apply to the email address.  For example, you will likely know their name and company.  With that, you have what you need to get started.

The first thing to do is to search the web for the company where the recipient works.  That will enable you to learn the “domain” part (e.g. the “” part) of the email address.  The company URL (e.g.““) will often equate to the email “domain” part.  If you cannot determine the exact company name, but find variations, then jot those down.  Also, include the best known ISPs that offer email (Google, Yahoo, etc.).  The maximum length of the “domain” part is 255 characters.

Now, mix and match all of the “local” and “domain” part words you found and created into a group of email addresses.  This group can be as large or small as you would like.  If you were searching for “Mary Smith” who works for the “Very Big” company, you may create email a list of email addresses that look like this:

The last step is to pick one email address from the group you created.  Pick anyone, it does not matter.  The one you pick is the email address you will place in the “TO:” field of your email message.  Then, copy all of the other email addresses from your group to the “BCC:”  (Blind Carbon Copy) field.  The result of doing this will be that the recipient will likely receive the email, but only see the one email address in the “TO:” field.  The recipient never sees the “BCC” field.  So S/he will never know you placed many more email addresses in the “BCC:” field.  The secondary benefit is that you will likely receive “undeliverable” email messages for all of the invalid email address.  The email address for the one you did not receive an “undeliverable” email message is the actual email address.  VoilĂ !
David Schuchman

Thursday, July 4, 2013

When to Hire a “Hit Man” (Contractor)

When to Hire a “Hit Man” (Contractor)

A hit man (or contractor) is simply a person that is a subject matter expert who is paid to perform a specific task for a specific sum of money.  In this case, I mean for you to consider when it is appropriate to hire a contract specialist for your next project.
As you approach starting a new project, take stock in the skills, backgrounds and timely availability of the in-house resources already accessible to you. Then, determine the skills and availability that you need to complete your project on schedule.  If there are gaps between those two reviews, consider bringing in contractors.  It’s important that the assessments of the skills, backgrounds and availability are performed objectively.  An over confident or over ambitious program manager may not see these clearly (or truthfully).

A professional consultant brings to a project:
  • Accountability for results, schedule and costs to complete key project tasks.  These tasks and goals can be identified and added to the contract, which will translate into significant economies as compared to in-house efforts.
  • A proven methodology applied to the appropriate tasks.
  • Creativity drawn from a wide base of prior experiences.
  • No cost of training or “experimenting” on how to complete the assignment.  The contractor will focus on achieving results. Training of in-house staff can be scheduled into the project.

Once you determine that you will hire a contractor, you have many options for finding the right resources.  If your project involves purchasing a product, consider the vendor.  While this may appear to be the most costly upfront option (e.g. highest hourly rate), the vendor will provide well-trained resources that performed the needed tasks before.  Hence, the vendor-provided resource may get the project completed sooner, actually not costing more than a non-vendor resource.  Also, consider independent contractors with demonstrated experiences in the targeted area of expertise you need.

Hiring a consultant can be extremely advantageous by helping you plan, manage, and implement your key project goals.  The apparent cost may actually be less than the real cost when you consider the benefits gained from hiring a “hit man”.

David Schuchman