Why I Sign My Email Messages As I Do

By Mike Maddaloni on Saturday, August 31, 2013 at 07:45 AM with 4 comments

It’s a question that comes up several times a year, and people have been asking me it for decades now. As many times as I have answered it, I have yet to write it down. Why I haven’t I don’t know for sure, but there’s no time like the present.

What is the question? Why do I sign my email messages as I do, with “mp/m”? And here’s a warning, it is a little retro-geeky!

photo of mp/m

When It Began

I have used this signature for my emails dating back to when I was a kid. Then, the messages I was sending were over dial-in bulletin board systems (I have included a link to its definition if you don’t know what one is!). I would typically sign my messages with my initials, “MPM.” But why do I sign it now in lowercase, and what’s up with the slash between the P and the M? Here comes the geek part!

There was a single user operating system for microcomputers popular in the 1980’s called CP/M. It had a multi-user version called MP/M. When I learned of this I was intrigued – it was the same as my initials! I thought of signing my messages with “MP/M” but didn’t want any confusion with the operating system name, so I made the letters lower-case, thus “mp/m” was born as my signature.

Dial-in bulletin board systems were replaced by dial-in services like CompuServe and AOL. Those were replaced by Internet email. Yet through the decades, my signature remained the same.

That’s my story and I am sticking to it.

Go ahead – comment away on this, you won’t hurt my feelings!


This is from The Hot Iron, a journal on business and technology by Mike Maddaloni.


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