The Story Of E
By Stanley Bing

(FORTUNE Magazine) – I knew the final upgrade of my E-management capabilities was complete when I caught myself e-mailing Ronny. There was something I wanted Ronny to do, and it only made sense to me to whip off a couple of e-words so that he could get the job started. I popped up his name in the Global Address System. Gave him a couple of quick e-nstructions. Fired the SEND button. Job done. E-Management accomplished.

There's only one thing. My man Ronny is about ten yards down the hall, in the next office but one. A lot of the time, when I want to speak with him, I just call out the doorway, and if he's available, he comes right in. "Ronny!" I say, and there he be, when he's free.

So stick a fork in me. I am done. Wired. Plugged in. I've finally achieved the perfect mix of devices so that I am never out of touch. I am...E-Manager! Ta-da! I have met the E and he is me.

Yes, as I sit in my chair I can feel my bones softening, my muscles, such as they are, turning to suet, my need to see other human life forms evaporating like a cell phone call in a tunnel. That's all right. In a couple of years, they'll be able to hardwire me to my Barcalounger and I'll be able to get down to the business of e-managing the way it should be done, without meetings, boring discussions, or one-on-one interface with anyone whatsoever.

I'm there now, in fact. Here's how I e-complish it.

The primary tool of the e-manager, of course, is e-mail, which enables you to have very short e-versations with e-ple you don't really need in your real face but from whom you need either (1) e-greement, (2) e-nformation, or (3) knowledge of your e-ctivities. Quality e-mailing consists of three factors and possibly four:

1. A good TO: that either implies confidentiality or creates an e-community.

2. An information-rich nugget in the RE: box.

3. A pithy body containing some data and at least one action point; if the e-mail is designed strictly for e-lationship building, a joke or confidence can take the place of e-managerial e-nstructions or e-dmonitions.

4. (Optional.) A P.S. that is more interesting than the rest of the e-mail.

Here is an optimal e-mail you can use as a template:

TO: Bob, Fred, Larry, Betty, Freddy, Mort, Jackie, and

RE: Your careers

It has come to my attention that the whole Barbetsky scenario has major holes in it, mostly having to do with ascertainment, purchasing, and accountability issues. Can you guys get together and work up some alternative scenarios by midday tomorrow? I'll be in then and can e-mail you back any thoughts, etc. Thx. Bing

P.S. Annual incentive checks are being cut next Thursday!

In this e-mail, I have (1) formed a management team in the TO: section that will view itself as mutually dependent, (2) created a false problem that calls for collegial action and can be easily solved by electronic means, and (3) reminded them who puts bread on their table.

You will notice there is some attempt at levity but no humor. E-humor is for the completely e-volved only and should not be tried by amateurs. Many an e-ophyte has tried to get clever with an electronic communication only to find the corporate police at his door in the figurative middle of the night.

E-bviously there are situations where stationary electronic management is impossible. Lunch, which takes us away from our desks for the purpose of nonvirtual feeding. Trips to one coast or the other, or even to the strange land between the coasts, where business appears to be done now and then. On those occasions, hope springs e-ternal in the form! Not a Palm! Palms are a private matter between you and, well, your palm, I suppose. But no e-management can be done without a BlackBerry.

The BlackBerry is a small device by which e-mail can be accomplished from anywhere, to anyone, whether he's on your home e-mail system or not. Having a BlackBerry means never having to say you're out. And the management power it contains is virtually limitless, because (1) people always know they can get you and you can get them, and (2) all you can do with one is issue terse and gnomic e-mmunications that set people to wondering where they stand with you.

E-magine, if you will, a long, explanatory e-mail describing a hairy situation that your employee wishes to tell you about without risking getting yelled at. He waits until he knows you are on an important trip to Augusta, Ga., playing golf for the good of the corporation. Then, "Blah blah blah and fiduciary responsibility and downtime in the regional offices and so forth," he e-mails.

"Must resolve prblm by Tues. Yr. ball to play. [REMOTE]," you BlackBerry in reply.

What a tool for the sophisticated e-manager it is. (1) He thought he could slip one by you while you were on the golf course! Ha! (2) You don't have to deal with any nasty complexities while you're engaged in so many other issues and challenges. And (3) you think the guy gets the message? No duh!

BlackBerrys are also excellent for eliminating that most annoying of e-tools, the cellular e-lephone. No matter how many times you make crackling noises with your mouth or pretend to be driving or walking under a steel object, people will get to you on a cell phone, and then you will have to respond nonelectronically. That spoils your stylistic purity e-gregiously. But with the BlackBerry, you can turn off your cell in most situations where you used to require one.

Say you're sitting in a restaurant, watching all the doofi yammer away on their little brain scramblers. In the old days you would be one of them if some issue arose at the office that needed your attention. Now, instead, there is a discreet buzzing in your breast pocket. You haul out your BlackBerry and sure enough, there is a message from your assistant. "Bob called," it says. You know Bob. He's your boss. You know he called because he knew you were at lunch and he owed you a phone call but had no e-sire to speak with you. You BlackBerry right away, "Call back and tell him I'm in a meeting and will call later." There. Mission accomplished.

No, wait! Here comes another! "Bing," it says. "Big problems with Gewirtz thing. Need advice. [REMOTE]," it says. It's Harworth, one of your closest pals in the e-company, e-mailing you from his own BlackBerry!

"You on yr BlackBerry, you nerd? [REMOTE]" you shoot back.

"Yeah!" he replies. "And you're a bozo! [REMOTE]."

You're having fun and building corporate bonds! Isn't that what e-xistence is all about?

By day, STANLEY BING is a real executive at a real FORTUNE 500 company he'd rather not name. He can be reached at