Opinion: "40 Under 40" follies | CLT Blog

Opinion: “40 Under 40″ follies

Posted on 9 Jun 2009 by Crystal Dempsey


It so pays to know how to properly use the “BCC:” field when sending email.

Ask the Charlotte Business Journal.

The CBJ, along with Business Journals around the country, does an annual 40 Under 40 list. According to a CBJ press release, the list: “recognizes individuals, under the age of 40, who are proven performers in their respective industries and communities… These dynamic up and comers have shaped our community in ways that have made the Charlotte region a better place to do business and live.”

The winners get a special party, their companies send out press releases about them, everone is happy.

However, if you’re nominated and don’t make the cut, at least the CBJ lets ya know with a pat on the back, four complimentary weeks added to your subscription and an invite buy a ticket to the 40 Under 40 bash. It’s an honor to be nominated, right?

This year, however, the “sorry” email arrived with all the names of those who didn’t make the list in the “CC:” field instead of the “BCC:” field.

Here’s the email they received:

From:  XXXXXX@bizjournals.com
Sent: Tuesday, May 19, 2009 3:44 PM
To: .….…..
Subject: 40 Under 40

You were recently nominated for the Charlotte Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 award. The competition is always tough.  We received a large number of nominations this year and unfortunately you were not selected.

But it is clear you are seen as an up and comer who is contributing to Charlotte so we hope you will participate again next year.  We value your service to the region and your commitment to the Charlotte Business Journal. As a thank you for being a 40 Under 40 nominee we are automatically adding four complimentary weeks onto your annual subscription.

We hope you will join us at a cocktail event June 9 at BlackFinn American Saloon to network and celebrate with this year’s 40 Under 40 class. Click here or more information or to register.

At least one non-winner (they’re certainly not losers) replied to ALL with a few suggestions:

Sent: Tuesday, May 19, 2009 10:28 PM
To: xxxxxxxx
Subject: RE: 40 Under 40

Wow. I know lots of people on this public rejection list. Cool! With an opening like this, how can I afford not to reply?

Anyone want to chip in for a keg of Busch and some Aristocrat Vodka and throw a pre-rager on June 9 before we head over to BlackFinn to drink the good stuff with the illuminati from firms that are more politically connected than yours? Maybe we could get rent our own hall, get a band and bartender, and let loose while we read our free issues.  Maybe we could make T-shirts with a “41” logo.  I am less than 40% kidding about this.

Let me know.  And be sure to reply to all so everyone is included.

Looking forward to our above average gathering (…)


Life lessons:

  1. Don’t do mass rejections via email.
  2. A sense of humor is critical whether you’re on the list or not.
  3. Email travels. Quickly.

Congrats to the winners and those who got the “sorry” email.

The 40 Under 40 party is tonight, 5-7pm, at BlackFinn.


  1. Dave Potts 9 Jun 2009 at 5:47 PM


    One thing I’m still unclear on, and correct me if I’m wrong — but the email also makes it sound like the nominees are all actually subscribers who chose to participate?

  2. Pingback: Email lesson #9: CC-ing is not BCC-ing « From The Hip

  3. Katie Rozycki 10 Jun 2009 at 11:15 AM

    I think I’d rather go to the “loser” party… sounds like a good ol’ time.