On Winning the Gmail Lottery

June 14th, 2004 was a fateful day. It was the day I accepted an invite from my sister to Gmail, the still-in-beta email service from Google that changed the way that people think of web-based apps. I didn’t know it then, but as I chose my username, I was signing myself up for a lifetime of cases of mistaken identity.

hungtruong@gmail.com. The highly coveted first/last name combo. Super-easy to remember and to send to other people. I’d feel weird posting it here, but it’s easy to guess if you know my name.

In fact, it’s a little too easy to guess my email address. So easy that many people seem to assume that their Hung Truong is me. I’ve been invited to speak at the Annual Vietnam Offshore Oil & Gas Conference. I’ve been included on email threads with the subject “Toilet partition” from Vietnamese building contractors. It took a really long time to convince them to remove me from that thread.

I’ve been mistaken for a university professor multiple times, mostly from clueless students asking for deadline extensions. I get an email every one or two days notifying me that funds have been added to my Bank of America Commercial Prepaid Card. Unfortunately, I haven’t figured out a way to log into that account yet.

The list goes on and on. Overall, I don’t really mind getting emails for other Hung Truongs. Honest mistakes happen, and it could be worse; my name could be James Smith.

You can read more stuff from me at my blog, which no one has mistaken for another Hung Truong’s blog. Yet.