Derek Sivers

Have a private email account


I used to like the internet. I thought it was cool, creative, wild, untamed, expressive, decentralized, and educational. I guess it was, back then, but now? I kinda hate most of what’s out there.

I don’t like social media, either. Staged photos, and people trying to get a reaction. Noise, hype, and drama. It makes me want to avoid the internet completely.

Then I thought about what I do like.

My email inbox is really nice. It’s only people I like, who are emailing me personally. No lists.

I highly recommend setting up a private email address.

Use Fastmail, Posteo, Mailbox, or any similar service where you actually pay $1-$3 per month and in return get a completely ad-free spam-free wonderful email experience.

Then never give this new private email to anyone except dear friends and family.

Let your old Gmail collect the junk. The people you really care about will use the new one, so you won’t need to check the old one much anymore.

It feels nice to have a notification mean something again — to only get one or two emails a day, and know that they are really for you. Or, if you don’t get any notifications, then nothing you really care about has arrived — so no need to check.

Most days I don’t look at the web or any apps. I just write, text friends, call friends, and check email. That’s enough.