I spent some time a few months ago reading @sriramk’s list of great memos, and tweeted some of the ones I particularly enjoyed. Someone privately pointed out to me that the authors I’d tweeted were all men. I was disappointed that I hadn’t noticed that earlier myself, and decided to spend some time exploring for great memos written by a more diverse cohort of authors.
Before going too far, a quick note on how Sriram defined a memo in his collection:
I’m fascinated by interesting memos written for an internal audience -
a company, a campaign or even for the President. Raw, not smoothened
over for PR departments, they help shed light on how people really think inside institutions.
These are challenging to find. They typically seem to come into the
public domain in one of three ways: through being really old, being
part of some lawsuit/legal process or, sadly, being part of a hack.
So far in my searching I’ve found it difficult to find many exclusively internal memos, and to recognize that I’ll split the memos I found into three categories: internal memos which meet the spirit of Sriram’s original list, and external which tend to be memo-like commentary written for a public audience.
What I took away from this exercise was primarily that there are very few of these out there, which combines with the glass ceiling to mean there are even fewer written by women.
Send suggestions my way and I’ll add to the list with attribution.