Buy Michael's books:

The art of selling yourself

The art of selling yourself

Or: Why Spammers should be summarily executed.

I get a lot of e-mail.

My grandmother gets angry when I spend half my time looking at my iPhone and clicking away. She assumes I’m spending my time with her texting some girl random nothings. (“I remember a world before text messages. People talked,” seems to be a familiar cry around my family circles.) In reality, though, I’m reading a far less intrusive but equally ubiquitous invader of my private time: my email.

Plotting the history of this panacea of communications technologies is interesting. You have but to look at the name and its metamorphosis throughout the years to see a history marked by the progression of time in the spotlight. As hard as it is to believe, email was born in 1965 — before man walked on the moon.

It started out as a necessity. Timesharing mainframe computers meant users would access the machines at different times. They wouldn’t necessarily enjoy the face time of your typical corporate shop, so they needed a way to communicate. Best as I can find out, the first email was sent sometime in ’65 at MIT. I’m betting the content was as electrifying as, “Meet me at the quad for a quick game of Chess after class?”

Necessity indeed.

With that said, you pretty obviously know I have my own domain. (, right? Please say you recognize that. I mean, you’re reading the words on this page.) Many of you though, may not know that I also receive much email to this domain. My email is simple enough. me at, well,

Yes, my email address is me@. Not Michael@, or any of the permutations thereof. Not info@, as that’s generic and impersonal and this is a personal site. It’s also easy enough and a good conversation starter. “Email me at” “What’s your email address?” “Me at” And since I have my own domain and am master of it, I receive a fair amount of spam.

Usually it’s addressed to “Dear michaeldevault,” or “Dear ,” as the spambots cannot process “me” into a suitable name. Today, that all changed. A spammer sent me the following email:

Dear me,

I accidentally sent you the wrong file!

It made me chuckle at first, but then it got under my skin. That little accidental “Dear me!” allowed it to get through my spam filters and waste my electrons!

I’ve seen kids exposed to porn, old women exposed to viagra ads, and pretty much everyone I know exposed to viruses. (Buy a Mac already!?) So why are these lowlife pondscum allowed to waste oxygen? Can’t we scrape them off of society with a spatula?