Gary sollicits lot's of email. On his podcast and other online appearances he asks people to please write him. Result: more than a thousand emails on some days.
He also says he personally deals with each single one of them: every one is important!
Sounds like excellent advice. But what if you can't cope with the sheer amount anymore? Do you get an assistant?
I sent Gary an email just when he was on vacation and I got an automated response that explains how to deal with this in an effective and friendly manner.
The solution? Help people help themselves!
The automated response gives you a link to a page with a video message from Gary in which he appologizes for not being able to get back immediately and then he explains how to get an answer to 80 - 90% of the most common inquiries. (My estimate, but hey 73.4% of all statistics are made up.) He also refers people to those colleagues of his in the best position to help out.
(Since the message is in your viddler channel for everyone to see, Gary, I hope you don't mind linking to it.)
A long time ago I worked in a department that runs a helpdesk for thousands of government workers across the entire state of Florida. The most important lesson that the leader of that department taught his colleagues came down to the same principle: always help everyone who has a question. Even if you don't know the answer and even if it is unrelated to your area of expertise, help them at least one step further in the direction of a solution.
(If nothing else, suggest other sources of information.)
You can do it too!