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DMC: Mark Hurst from Creative Good on Reducing Info Clutter

Mark’s was one of the talks I was most looking forward to at the DMC. I’ve followed his work at Creative Good for quite a while. I was disappointed, overall, in his talk because it really seemed like a LONG promo for his book, Bit Literacy. What would have been really great is if his book was handed out at the DMC; then I wouldn’t have minded the “read my book to understand what I’m talking about” nature of his talk as much.
As it was, if you had never heard of Mark and didn’t know he was using a special tool (GooToDo, see below) to de-clutter his inbox, I would imagine you were a little frustrated. The lead-up to the talk promised a lot and then ultimately delivered, in my opinion, little.
However, I AM going to get the book .. because Mark is quite smart and quite passionate about the info clutter topic. I’ve read a free guide on managing your email (PDF) that he wrote a couple of years ago. And I’ve enjoyed his Uncle Mark’s Gift Guide and Almanac where he really applies his understanding of technology and usability to the practical arena of gift giving.
We interviewed Mark after his talk and asked him what the one thing you can do to get out from information overload … clean up your inbox!! You can play the video that Alexa shot if you want to hear him say it 🙂
[NB .. if you can’t see the embedded video, use the direct link. I’m currently having issues w/ Viddler.]

For those of you who were wondering how the heck Mark sent emails to “monday” or “2 weeks from now”, he was demo’ing his online To-Do list (paid) service called GooToDo.
If you have any feedback on Mark’s talk or tips on how you manage info overload, please leave a comment!


  1. Dave Nourse
    Dave Nourse November 8, 2007

    When this guy was on stage, I felt like I was in kindergarten being walked through a history lesson. Didn’t learn anything new and his style of engagement was a little childish “Anyone, anyone?”. My inbox is fine, thanks.

  2. Mark Hurst
    Mark Hurst November 8, 2007

    Appreciate your kind words on the Uncle Mark guide and e-mail report!
    Re the CMA talk, interested in your feedback – given that the talk covered e-mail, todos, team training, file naming, file formats, and bit levers, what was missing (in that the talk “delivered little”)?

  3. Stefan Eyram
    Stefan Eyram November 9, 2007

    I agree with Dave. I didn’tt really get anything from Mark. In fact, I felt it was much more a pitch for his software.
    How did time management become a hot topic in the Canadian Digital Marketing industry?
    I spoke to people in the email marketing roundtable and they wondeed aloud why there wasn’t an email presentation included in the event. These people all considered email an important part of their digital marketing.

  4. Kate Trgovac
    Kate Trgovac November 10, 2007

    Hi, Mark ..
    Thanks for stopping by! And I apologize for the mis-spelling of your name in the article title. It’s fixed now.
    In thinking about it, my main issue with the talk was the time allocated to each part of the presentation. I was super-excited to see your initial list of topics that you were planning on covering (your list above of e-mail, todos, team training, file naming, file formats, and bit levers); however I would say about 87% of the talk was on email.
    Some of the most interesting things you mentioned (to me anyway, but I suspect also to a digital savvy crowd), around team training and bit-levers as well as managing your media diet and managing photos (two other topics in your topic list) got pretty short shrift in your talk.
    Because you got a bit pressed for time at the end, it felt like you were saying for each of these topics “want to know more, read my book”. And, along the lines of Stefan’s comment, “if you want to manage your email, subscribe to my software”.
    The tips that were software agnostic (e.g. file-naming and the importance of training your team on bit literacy) were great – I just wish there had been more of that.
    I do, however, think that it was entirely appropriate to have you at the conference. Bit literacy is a HUGE thing – and not limited to a particular marketing tactic. And being able to manage your media diet, in particular, as marketers and communicators (especially if we’re trying to monitor media for our clients) is an essential skill. Right now, I look at my feed reader in a state of quiet desperation.
    So Mark, I guess what I’m saying is that I would have liked more of your content, particularly that was was tool-agnostic and that dealt with content consumption beyond the inbox.
    Stefan .. In no way do I speak for the CMA 🙂 but my impression is that they try to cover tactics in the roundtables and broader issues (innovation, bit literacy, the future of digital) in the keynotes. I would like to see participants be able to go to more than one roundtable and maybe not have as much talky-talky from folks who are just making a sales pitch (though I know sponsors are super-important to conferences like the DMC).
    So, I disagree with you – I think Mark’s topic was appropriate for digital marketers, but I would have liked a different content focus. And I would think you, as an email marketer, would appreciate a little inbox de-cluttering. So your clients’ customers have more time to read your email 🙂

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