Don’t send that attachment!

One of my faithful “dotted line reports” (a term I despise, he knows this, and likes to tease me with it) recently attended a large technical meeting with 350 other engineers. As is commonly done for large gatherings like this given that people are all remote from each other, it was conducted over a telephone conference line and a desktop sharing tool so that everybody could see the slides being presented. An obligatory moment for such meetings is when somebody asked for a copy of the slides and, not wanting to disappoint, the speaker said they would be sent out to everyone.

That turned out to be a mistake, seeing as the slides were 8Mb in size and the speaker sent it as an attachment.

To 350 people.

And then he realized he made a mistake and sent out an updated 9Mb version.

Do the math: 350 people * 17 Mb of slides = 5.95 Gb of file space taken up on the email servers that could have used up 9Mb on an internal website had a pointer been sent instead of sending the slides as attachments.


While it is a lot more convenient to send information to wide distribution lists as attachments, think twice about it if what you are sending is over 1 Mb or so. I’ve certainly been guilty of this myself, although not to the tune of almost 6 gigs. If you aren’t careful, you might end up accidentally using up %661 more resources than you need, as in the example in this story. Even with disk space as cheap as it is, that’s never good.


2 Responses to “Don’t send that attachment!”

  1. Michael H Says:

    I had to do something similar recently for a group of Powerpoint files, though I didn’t have that many people to them to. I posted the files on a secure server here at the university and sent people links to the files.

    I look at it as pushing the information vs. pulling the information. Your user pushed the files to the users, where the users I work with pull the files only if they need/want them.

  2. Nerd Guru » Blog Archive » What’s your best email productivity tip? Says:

    […] picked up a few ideas recently, most notably Delay 2 minutes, avoid looking like a jerk and Don’t send that attachment! but I wanted to see what the general public […]

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