Please be aware that I’m usually fairly busy. Between my day job, side projects and existing social commitments I don’t have a lot of free time. Generally, I am not available to do contract work unless it pays exceptionally well or I have a personal interest in the project. However, if I can’t help you myself, I can probably put you in touch with a trusted colleague who can.
- Don’t ask me to commit crimes! This should really go without saying, but... *gestures manically at their inbox*. I am a hacker, but that just means I am skilled at understanding how things actually work and leveraging that knowledge to achieve results that were not intended to be possible. As they say, with great power comes great responsibility.
- Just call me “Ryan”. I prefer not to be called by last name because it’s frequently mispronounced or preceded by an incorrect title. Even if you get it right, there’s still my mental association with all the times someone didn’t. Beyond that, please avoid using gendered language to refer to me.
- Conciseness is a virtue. The optimum length for a first email is a single paragraph, and the optimum number of decisions for you to ask me to make in an email is one.
- Don’t ask to ask. This goes especially for Twitter - please just ask your question, rather than saying “what’s up?” or otherwise leading with small talk. If I can’t determine from your first message what you want or whether I can help you, I am less likely to respond.
- If I don’t respond, it’s probably because I’m busy, not because of you. Do the math: your email, 5 minutes, my life, 1,440 minutes a day. If I don’t write back, it’s probably due to something from the other 1,435 minutes rather than anything you said (or didn’t) or anything about you personally. Politely try me again in a week or two, asking if I had time to look at your first email.