Introbot: A Script to Ease the Process of Writing Introductory E-mails

The introductory e-mail is a message where I introduce two (or more) people who have yet to meet each other. It generally takes the highly structured form, “Salutation A and B! A does X. B does Y. You should meet for reason Z. Valediction.”

I almost always do opt-in intros, where I’ll write to each party separately and make sure it’s okay if I share their information, and explain why I think it’s worth their time. I find this approach to be more respectful of people’s privacy and busy schedules.

That means that by the time they get the formal introduction, they generally know what’s going on. Still, I find these messages peculiarly stressful.

Stressful task? Check. Highly-structured output? Check. Repeating the same information over and over? Check.  This calls for … a script!

You can grab the code on github here.

The first step is to set your valediction and names in the settings.py file, then to add people that you want to introduce with a brief description. Finally, you need only type something like:

python intro.py alan betty

to generate and copy to your clipboard (on a mac, anyway):

Alan & Betty, please meet.

Alan is the fake director at fake company, where he does fake things.

Betty is the fake person who does other fake interesting things.

I think you'll find quite a lot to talk about.

Cheers,

Hilary

Paste it into your favorite e-mail client, send, and relax.

This is how I mentally organize introductions, but I have no idea if it’ll work for anyone else. Would you ever use something like this? What does it need to be useful for you?


  • George Lewis

    I think it’s a really good idea, but should be expanded to be a more general email template engine.  One could write a small number of templates including a number of keywords, such as recipients, closing messages, etc, and then run the shell script over those templates with keyword arguments corresponding to the blank template fields.  For example:

    Hello {{ author list }},

    I am {{ my_name=”George” }} and I am writing you about ….

    {{ Closing_message }}

    From,
    {{ my_name }}

    What do you think?  If you approve, I can try to make a pull request.