If you haven't heard the expression, RTFM = Read The F*^(*&( Manual. 

I don't hate or love the expression. 

I take pride in learning the 'right' answers and understanding how things work, but I also aim to cultivate a style that invites questions. 

When I'm providing an answer, I aim to seek understanding/feedback from folks I'm interacting with & work to improve how I'm communicating until I'm confident clarity has been achieved.

There's room for telling people to 'read the manual' though - if it's generally well written and full of good information.

If the manual is only half correct, poorly written or just thoughtless in organization...why are you surprised that nobody reads it? The point of RTFM is that your time is valuable and people asking simple, superfluous or lazy questions don't value it. Writing a shit manual is telling a thousand people their time is worthless to you, subject matter expert. I am worth 1000 of you.

In case you're feeling confident, how does your manual compare to the Thoughtbot playbook?



On a related note,  I've been thinking about how overlooked some messages I receive from startups are. I subscribed to your mailing list and completed the double opt-in, which required that I open an email from you, and you didn't care about putting something mildly interesting in there. Are you setting the tone? 

I'll tell you this much with confidence:

If I apply for a job at your startup and you send me a confirmation email with nothing remotely special inside it, you're missing an obvious opportunity to make me think more about you. Why not at least ask me to like a page / tweet about what you're doing or share other open opportunities with me in case I can recommend someone?

Maybe I'm still just on a kick from Kevin Hale's excellent lecture, but I like people that read.


Kathleen MeilComment