A reader called "Elite Office Services" asks Valleywag:
Mark Hurd. Does anyone there have his email address. I have issues I would love to say I emailed to him without any regard which we all know is exactly who he is as is all that work for his company. As we know, the attitude of a company filters from the top...
So you want to e-mail the CEO-chairman of Hewlett-Packard? Elite, as with all questions of etiquette, this is best answered by putting yourself in the other person's position. Mark Hurd doubtlessly gets plenty of e-mail each day, and more than enough inquiries from an aggressive press.
Furthermore, e-mailing just so you can be rejected puts you in kind of a spot. If Hurd doesn't respond, you still look like a dick — and if he does, well, now you're a real bad guy. If Hurd is able to fend off Congress and the press, he could take you out over e-mail with half his keyboard tied behind his back.
Now, some execs are famously approachable. Marissa Mayer's e-mail is just Marissa at Google. The friendly Google VP tries to respond to every e-mail she gets. Still, I'd bet the open-minded e-mails get a much better response than flames.
But in general, look at it this way: You know how stupid your family looks when they say "You work with computers! Can you fix my e-mail?" That's how you'll look when you approach a company head trying to attack them about your "issues."