How to Find Email Addresses

Being able to start a dialogue with anyone in the world is a super power…

In today’s environment, email seems to be the easiest way to do this.

This post reveals 11 tools and methodologies to find anyone’s email address once you’ve got the name of the person you’re trying to reach.

Rapportive trick:

The first stop for me is the rapportive trick. When I enter the correct email in gmail, rapportive will often populate my target’s other digital profiles. To guess the correct email I start by plugging in popular email syntaxes followed by the company’s domain name:

first initial +last



first name+last

first initial+last

first initial+last



If Rapportive populates a profile, I know I have guessed correctly. Note the difference:

Incorrect Email

find email address

Correct Email

find email address

There are frequent instances where you may have guessed correctly, yet Rapportive does not populate a profile. This occurs because their data sources (Rapleaf amongst others) does not possess additional information for that email.

I start this process with Rapportive because in addition to determining the target’s email address, it also gives me additional context such as tweets and links to their various digital presences. These all provide potential touchpoints for a connection which makes cold outreach more effective. “Hey noticed on twitter your an Eagles fan. I was super bummed about the loss too. Anyways…”


If rapportive fails, I move to This service checks whether email addresses are attached to a specific domain then determines whether the name combination you’re trying is correct. This is valuable because it first determines whether you’re guessing the right domain. Often large companies have separate domains for email than the one that their native website resides on. MailTester enables me to determine whether this is the case. Once I have the domain correct, I begin to plug in the popular syntaxes highlighted above. If the server allows email address verification, MailTester will let me know if I’ve guessed correctly.


 find email addresses


find email addresses

Again, sometimes don’t work with mail tester because they do not permit email address verification. That looks like this:


This is an excellent work-around for finding someone’s personal email address. Snapbird is a twitter search engine. People will sometimes share their email address on twitter when someone tweets at them that’d they like to send them something. You can use Snapbird to isolate these instances by entering their handle and the relevant domain – i.e. @Scottbrit // gmail

Screen Shot 2013-04-19 at 1.59.51 PM

Above is an example of how you can use Snapbird to isolate these instances an ultimately find someone’s email address.

If you use these methodologies there is about a 95% chance you can find anyone’s email address. Otherwise there is always the contact form.


When Rapportive and MailTester don’t work, I hit up Jigsaw/ It’s a contributory contact database that is free to join. After you’ve exhausted you’re credit for free contacts, you can exchange your rolodex for access to target emails.

If they have the contact I’m looking for I double check the email address provided via Rapportive and MailTester. Because all the content is user-generated there is some poor information here so it gives me piece of mind to double check.

If they don’t have the specific contact I’m looking for, I’ll obtain the contact information for two different people at that company to try in order to determine the syntax. When I do this, I try to get the most recently added contacts and make sure they were added on different dates. Why? Because I want fresh data and people often batch phony information.

[ois skin=”Cold Email Skin”]

Google Your Best Guess

If you have still not been able to find the person’s email address your looking for there is still hope. Often people put their email on pdf’s such as press releases which appear in search results. So go ahead and google the popular syntax combinations.

Call and Ask

Find the main phone number on the website and call the organization you’re trying to reach. Tell the receptionist you were trying to send something important to x and politely ask if you could have this person’s email address.

I know talking to an actual person might be scary, but relax. You’re not asking the receptionist out on a date. You’re asking her for information. It’s her job to provide this to you. She won’t tell you to bow your head in shame after this request. I promise. Pick up the phone.

Go Rogue. Hit their Personal Email

When all hope seems lost, I do something I don’t like doing. I try the rapportive trick with my best guess of their personal gmail. When a profile populates I cross check with whatever social profile appears to verify that this is the person I’m trying to reach. Although it can feel like you’re crossing over sacred ground, if you’re offering is truly a value add and you’re able to convey this effectively, people will appreciate you reaching out.

I always preface these emails with:

“Hey x,
Apologies for pinging you on your personal email here, but I couldn’t find any other way of contacting you”

If you’re hesitant to do this, think about what you have to gain vs. lose. I never hit a shot a I didn’t take.

If you’re dealing with a small site (1-2 person operation), you may be still stranded on the unlisted island even after doing all of these things. At this point, I’ll go to and do a reverse who is lookup for whatever domain owner I’m trying to reach. If the domain is not private which is often the case, I’ll be provided with the owner’s contact email. Believe it or not, I’ve gotten a deal through this.
Emails for Corporations

Emails for corporations is a free resource that provides the business email address patterns for over 1000 companies. It also provides other valuable information such as the corporate phone number.

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One feature that I really like is that I’m able to search by industry and geographical location. These facets are valuable for prospecting.


Toofr is another email database that I’ve called upon to find email addresses. It claims to have email addresses for over 400k companies. I’ve used it a few times and I’d say 80% of the time its correct. They start you out with 10 free attempts, but after that you need to pay. Considering, there’s a bunch of free alternatives I only go here as a last resort.

find email address


CEO Email AddressesCEO Email addresses is exactly what it sounds like. Not surprisingly sometimes the CEO’S email address doesn’t match the syntax of the rest of the company. Other times it does. Either way this is a valuable resource to find email addresses for the folks hanging in the c-suite.

[ois skin=”Cold Email Skin”]

I Eat Ice Cream When I’m Tired

For a long time I was told I need to get 7-8 hours of sleep without a compelling explanation why. “You need to be well rested” doesn’t exactly make me want to drop whatever I’m doing to uphold some seemingly arbitrary mandate.

Lately I’ve noticed a correlation that does make me strive for 7-8 hours: rest facilitates discipline. When I’m well rested, my willpower to maintain discipline is much higher. I’m less likely to cheat on my diet, skip the gym, and undertake new activities instead of finishing difficult ones.

Inadequate rest provokes me to settle for the path of least resistance. This manifests itself through inferior discipline. My hands dip into the cookie jar and eyes linger longer in my inbox on days I’m tired. Why? My guess is that this happens because resistance requires energy which we try to preserve. From the cost-benefit analysis we engage in to making the concerted choice to say no we’re expending energy. So when the energy bank is completely empty or running low we opt for the choice that requires less energy.

Yet no one has ever said to me “you need to get some sleep to be discipline tomorrow.”

Discipline is important to me because its the foundation of high performance in all arenas of my life. My health, effectiveness at work, moral compass, and spiritual life are all enhanced and defined by discipline.

I look at the healthiest people I know and they all share one thing in common: their lives are very regimented. An integral part of this regimen is sleep which I imagine perpetuates itself in their ability to maintain discipline. Does the same phenomenon exist amongst your network?

Note* healthy is not defined by who has the most rippling six pack.

I’ve been trying to experiment with getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep regularly. This is hard which seems weird to say. I can definitely notice a difference in not only my energy levels, but also my discipline which I’m sure are correlated.

Little things like this are why I love self-experimentation. It’s an amazing way to learn about ourselves.

Thoughts on The Knowledge Economy

Two things that I love are learning and businesses that create surplus from uncaptured value. A space that particularly intrigues me is the Knowledge Economy.

Knowledge Economy
So much of the incredible knowledge that people have gained through experience lies dormant. People always want to improve, gather more data points, and find things faster so there is a continuous demand for this knowledge. The supply is equally abundant: Odds are someone else has done what you’re trying to do or found what you’re trying to find. Yet despite someone really smart inventing the internet, there is still a disconnect between knowledge supply and demand. I attribute this to the fact that the channels through which knowledge is exchanged are still not fully matured as well as the ever-changing landscape of the world. 

Companies like  Quora, Skillshare, and HyperInk have played a role in my life and are mediums that are closing the gap between the two axis. How? More so than anything they’ve lowered the barrier for participation with respect to traditional knowledge sharing platforms. In the process, they’re creating surplus within the knowledge economy by creating exchanges that otherwise would have ceased to exist.

Quora = lowered barrier to blogging, personal publishing
Skillshare = lowered barrier to teaching in a classroom-like setting
HyperInk = lowered barrier to publishing a book

It’s amazing that in an hour and a half, I ,to an extent, learned what Georges Janin  did after of 9 months pounding the phones in a cubicle by himself. Would I have been able to accrue this knowledge from Georges without Skillshare? Probably not unless I decided to go work with him. Ah, the creation of surplus!

We’ve just begun to scratch the surface of what’s possible with the knowledge economy. So much of the knowledge out there that I crave is still loafing on the couches in peoples’ heads.

How can we extract more? Challenges are highlighted by examining why people don’t share knowledge.


  • Are not familiar or experienced with modern sharing mechanisms (think of AOL users or all my college friends. Quora is some girl they went to highschool with.)
  • Do not realize that people seek their knowledge (demand perception)
  • Do not internalize that people will pay for access to it (Skillshare, Hyperink, Udemy)
  • Do not perceive an ROI on their time for sharing their knowledge using the given mediums
  • Feel they’re sacrificing some type of competitive advantage
  • Fear potential detrimental effects to their reputation and image
  • Do not have time or perceive this to be the case
  • Are generally too shy, embarrassed, or lack the confidence to put themselves out there
  • Are just lazy

Coin flip. People share knowledge because they:

  • Perceive some ROI on their time often in the form of:
    • Money
    • Social capital
    • Enhanced personal well-being
  • Are altruistic
  • Desire approval or acceptance
  • Feel a sense of duty

When I contrast these two lists and think about realistically what entrepreneurs can change without going door to door with hawking self-help books, a few things come to mind:

Boost awareness/unfamiliarity with SEO juice: When people have questions or want to get better at something they usually go to google. This is especially the case with normals who aren’t comfortable broadcasting messages to hordes of strangers. Crazy right?!

All of these platforms want to be a destination for consuming content and/or a portal to purchase the means to obtain it. But in order to do this they’ll need to familiarize themselves with prospective audiences by penetrating their existing workflows (Google/Facebook). Quora has done a good job of this (SEO) and has the easiest row to hoe.

Stress the human and social elements of teachers/influencers: Before I took a Skillshare class I didn’t think there was a snowball’s chance in hell that someone would actually pay money to learn something from me. Before I saw a friend answer a question on Quora I acted like a passive content urchin on that site. I never thought anyone would pay for a book I wrote until I talked to a guy who wrote about something equally niche with Hyperink.

If we want to maximize the knowledge pool thoughtleaders can’t be the only ones perceived to be contributing on learning platforms. As a prospective contributor/teacher/author, I need evidence that inspires the confidence to participate. In order to do this there must be equal signaling that both the Fred Wilson’s of the world and JV Johnny are contributing. Profile pages and highlighting professional titles are a good start as they typically span the spectrum.

Expose demand outwardly: The internet is laden with content on how to raise money, find a good doctor, or buy your first house. Yet I still can’t easily find out what the best hyperlocal content portals are or which gyms in New York are more geared toward functional training. I know there are people  on these platforms that have this information. They just don’t recognize that I need it.

Most of the things learned through experience eventually become internalized to a second naturesque degree. After writing cold emails for a year, it becomes just something I do. At that point it’s hard to internalize that this is a skill others put on a pedestal. Its uniqueness has lost its salience.

Once we’re prodded by an external signal that someone desires this knowledge/skill we recall its uniqueness and are provoked to share. This process is crucial to populating the knowledge economy. It’s why there needs to be greater focus on exposing this demand. I’d love to see a forum style area on Skillshare where people could put forth topics they wished people would teach. The same goes for Hyperink. Exposing demand would help people internalize that others actually would pay for their knowledge.

Note* you still need some form of street cred for me to open the wallet.

I’m really looking forward to seeing companies mature that improve the knowledge economy. It will be a great day when an internet connection is the only resource I need to learn anything or answer any question effectively and efficiently.

How to Be A Better Thinker

I’m not sure if you can become smarter, but I think there are things we can do to be more effective thinkers. Here are things that have enriched my thinking ability in my own life: 

Better Thinker

Value thinking and Give Yourself Permission To Do So:

I write about this a lot, but the pervasiveness of smartphones, email obsession, and information portals often diverts our minds from actually thinking. Many people these days correlate digital activity with “getting ahead”. They assign value to it. “I’m going to respond to emails faster. I’m going to be more engaged on social media. I’m going to read more blog posts, thus absorb more information. If I do all of this I will be a better entrepreneur! YAY!”

This is a reactive existence. I can’t recall an entrepreneur crediting his success to reading blog posts all day. Sure it might warm your mental muscles up on the treadmill for a bit, but it pales in comparison to intentional, focused thinking in conjunction with execution.

So instead of lauding digital stimulation, assign value to thinking and give yourself permission to do so. This means being okay with not looking at something on your cell phone every free minute.

Again, I can’t recall many great minds that attribute their success to their ability to answer emails faster and consume more tweets. Rather, they credit the ability to focus, out-maneuver competitors, and think outside the box.

Write Your Thoughts Out:

Focusing is hard. There are usually no less than 10 things I want to be getting done at any point in time. If I’m not careful, I find myself jumping from one thought to the next to the next. Before you know it, I’m bopping back and forth between 10 different thoughts. In this state I find myself thinking about a lot of things, but never thinking really hard about one thing.

Putting my thoughts on paper allows me to focus on one thought or theme at a time. It serves as a guide to stay the mental course. The mere fact that I’m looking at a string of characters acts as a potent reminder that I should be thinking about them. This helps me avoid or extract myself from the state of cognitive belligerence I outlined above.

Carry A Notebook:

I have a moleskin notebook on me at all times. Partially for utility, partially because I want people to think I’m a some kind of mad scientist when I break stride in the middle of the sidewalk to whip out my notebook and feverishly write something.

In terms of thinking, this practice sets the conditions for me to be an astute observer of the world around me. It enables me to keep a repository of my fleeting thoughts as I go about my day. Instead of focusing on remembering something, I can quickly log it and direct my mind towards something else. Again the goal is to avoid juggling a million things to have purposeful, crystal thoughts.

The presence of my moleskin in my back pocket is also a gentle reminder that my time is best spent thinking instead of entering digital stimulation euphoria. Also known as looking at my cell phone.

 Note, I’ve found taking notes on your phone to be highly ineffective compared to putting ink to paper. The last thing I want to do be doing is dangling distractions (email, twitter) every time I have a thought I want to remember. Do you scatter peanut butter cups around your house when you’re on a diet?

Notebooks are like cleats. I don’t need them to play football (or a notebook to think effectively). But man, I sure play better with them on.

 Power Hour: Notebook Review

 I usually have a lot of thoughts throughout a day that are disconnected. During the day I write the ones down I think I might want to remember and every 1-2 evenings I review them.

When all of my fleeting thoughts are laid out, I have a bird’s eye view of my mind. This makes the review very powerful. I see connections between things I never saw. I develop more cogent reasoning. 

Think about the person trying to get somewhere by walking the streets using solely their intuition. Now juxtapose this with a guy whose got google maps. That’s what its like.

Reviewing your thoughts at a later hour is also awesome for creating new thoughts/ideas. The context of which I’m recalling these thoughts is different; more things have happened and I’m usually in a different physical location. All of these factors are great for idea generation.

*Note: The moleskin practice, and note taking in general, is far enhanced if you actually review your notes. Otherwise you’re just doing all of this work for far less return. Taking notes to make yourself feel better because the person next to you is, is not a good reason to take notes. Stop doing this.

Observe The Context of Your Best Thinking:

I try to be observant of the conditions I do my best thinking so that I can replicate this over and over.

I do my best thinking engaging in intermittent writing and reading. I read a page or two and every time I have an interesting thought I put pen to paper and just start riffing on that thought. Sometimes that means one sentence, sometimes it means a full page. It just depends. In a given “reating” session there usually ends up being an even split time wise between writing and reading. For some reason, I experience the highest levels of mental stimulation here.

I like to do this in the morning with a cup of coffee. At this point, I feel much less mental atrophy than at the end of the day. 

Other random things I’ve noticed: Doing work in bookstores or on this bench by a fountain near my place seem to unlock some additional focus and creativity. I also notice the same thing with classical music.

In general, try to capture of the context of when you feel like you’re at your best. Find places and things that inexplicably unlock creativity.  Once you find the NOS boosters for your mental horsepower let it fly! Dry, rinse, and repeat.

Surround Yourself With A Variety of Influences:

The things we decide to consume (inputs) directly effect what we say and think (outputs). If you read the same books and blogs everyone else does you’ll most liklely think like everyone else. If you only hang out with people that only talk about tech, you’ll spend more time thinking and talking about tech. Aside from this being mentally limiting, you also risk becoming the tool who has nothing more to talk about outside of who just raised money. This is bad.

I think trying to consume the same thing that everyone else is a losing strategy. Some people think the answer is more. More tech blogs does equal better entrepreneur! If anything, this equals lazy and/or fearful entrepreneur.

I’ve found that what really stretches my brain is consuming content and interacting with people that come from different sides of the tracks. This really pushes me to think and question things. That’s why I try to surround myself with content, people, and things from all walks. Its also why my social agenda stretches far beyond just tech parties.

The CEO of the company I work for Wiley said something to me about building a company that I think is really intelligent and in alignment with this notion. He told me that he’s not looking for people that think and act exactly like him. He wants people that think differently because these people bring new ideas to the table that he may have never thought about.

I agree with this strategy and think it says a lot about his humbleness, maturity and character.


I can’t claim this these things will work for anyone or that if you apply these concepts you’ll be churning out brilliant business ideas manana. All I can say is that they’ve had an awesomely positive effect in my own life and that I wish the same for anyone reading this. 

I Lost Sight Of My Life Goal

A few months ago I had the painful realization that I had lost sight of my primary life goal in the process of trying to achieve it.


Life Goal

I have a lot of life goals, but the most important one to me is to build something that benefits the less fortunate at a grand scale. Whether this will manifest itself in a charity, social enterprise, school or church I’m not sure.
With this goal in mind, I’ve felt like my time is best spent learning as much as I can about how to build a company. I still feel this way.

I’ve tried to squeeze as much output out of every day in order to maximize my learning and value-add to whatever I’m involved with. I walk fast to the subway. I try to optimize every process. I’m obsessed with productivity. Sound familiar?

But in my brisk walks to the subway or feverish moleskin journaling, I casually pass by people who’ve fallen on hard times. On weeknights, I forego opportunities to volunteer to “network” or purge my inbox. I opt in to read stories from some tech blog before TheDailyGood.

One day it hit me. During this obsession of learning how to build a company/be an effective employee/founder, I actually deviated from engaging with my goal: helping the less fortunate. I lost sight of the end goal in the process of trying to achieve it. It’s silly to think I need to build CharityWater 2.0 before I allocate some more focus on helping those who’ve been dealt a worse hand. Just like it’s silly to think you need a technical co-founder or funding before you start working on your company.

Now I’m a realist. I acknowledge I can’t stop for every person I see on the street or spend every night volunteering and still play at the level I want to at my job. I’d also like to admit that care about money. Why? Because I never want my family to want or be excluded from the opportunities I’ve been afforded in my own life. But still, I can find a better balance and keep in mind that the seeds I sow at every scale matter.

If nothing else this realization was a valuable lesson that we need to keep the big picture in mind during the journey. Otherwise, we risk foregoing opportunities to engage with our end goals in our preparation to achieve them.

Which begs the question to anyone who is reading this right now: What is your ultimate goal? Are you engaging with it during your journey to get there? 

Unconventional Thoughts About the Best Thing Young People Can Do

I’m on my 4th job since graduating in June 2010. So yeah…compared to most of the people I graduated with, I’ve had an extremely unconventional career thus far. In short, I look like a Mexican jumping bean.

When I ask a good portion of my classmates what the plan is, I often hear a familiar ring: “I’m going to spend two years banking/consulting, than go to a private equity/hedge fund, than go to business school…than some day I’m going to be happy in Greenwich Connecticut!”

That sounds exciting and fulfilling.

At one point during my undergraduate years this sounded pretty good. But my benchmark of good was everyone else in an atmosphere where the blind followed the blind. Looking back, its strange to think I’ve pretty much done the opposite of what every career counselor and traditional parent asserted. “Stay at a job for two at least two year. Work your way up the food chain.” After all, future employers want to have confidence that you’ll give up at least 2 years. Even if you’re miserable!

At times it seems like young people are celebrated for enduring misery early in their careers. I don’t get it.

I guess I’ve just never been one to wait for something and have been blessed with the good fortune to take chances. Contrary to what everyone used to tell me, I feel this path has served me well.

Make no mistake, shooting from the hip like I have has made the past year and a half a roller coaster. And we’re not talking a shiny new steel one that pops up at six flags every other summer. We’re talking more of an old wooden one where the white paint is chipping off.

I’ve slept in offices, changed industries, tried to start a company, lived pay check to pay check, and consistently woken up having no idea what I’m doing. But through this process I’ve attained something far greater than a fat bonus or nice apartment: I’ve come to know myself.

I know what activities in a job I like. I know extravagance does not correlate to sustained, personal happiness. I know that learning and personal development are my passions. I know what my many weaknesses are. I know the type of people I want to surround myself with.

So though I’m much farther from being financially free or having an important title, I’m much closer to knowing the life I want to live and how to get there. I’ll take this position over the former any day. Besides the type of people I want to work for aren’t impressed by passive in-action or mastery of microsoft office.

I feel grateful for this. Knowing thyself not only brings confidence and purpose to your life, but also peace. Stressed out people often point to their jobs as the source of their angst. This could be the case. I often think they’re more stressed about what they want their lives to be vs. what it actually looks like. I imagine one day this comes center-stage. Enter mid-life crisis?

I feel strongly that there is nothing more valuable a young person can do than get to know thyself. For me that has meant trying many things, living with uncertainty, and enduring some discomfort. It’s hard for me to say what the formula may be for someone else, but I encourage young people to seek this out, intentionally. The long-term rewards far outweigh any short-term hardships.

When you know thyself, it becomes far easier to see where you want to go…and trains always run smoother when they’re on tracks.