I was chatting with a friend today about the best emails I've ever received.
Like the reply from Bill Gates to a 1994 DaveNet piece. That was a good email, because it proved that the then-nascent art of blogging could be two-way. Gates was at the pinnacle of power in the tech industry at the time, as the web moved into the desktop. He was at the start of one of the biggest pivots in history, and this exchange was totally on-topic with that. (And some of the questions he asked have since been answered, for example, yes the web meant the end of Encarta.)
Then I thought of an email I got from Bob Atkinson, also of Microsoft, in the winter of 1998. I had just written a piece about how to do networking protocols using the web. It had occurred to me in what I call a mind bomb, a flash of insight, that XML-over-HTTP could replace the deeply complicated and history-laden networking protocols of the Mac and PC, which were totally incompatible with each other. Using the web for program-to-program communication would turn out to be a breakthrough in simplicity and today whole industries are based on the idea.
Anyway, I don't have a copy of Bob's email but it went something like this.
"We want to do this too. Would you like to work with us?"
The next week I was in Redmond in a big room with a bunch of Microsoft people, designing what would turn out to be XML-RPC.