Yeah... that's lazy templating. It's because they're bulk sending to lots of people and either couldn't find your first name or didn't want to bother with merging it into the email template.

Either way, the response from the reader is the same. As the reader, the genericness of the intro gives you the sense the email isn't specifically meant for you, so you ignore/delete it.

I teach entrepreneurship at Duke. Software Engineer. PhD in English. I write about the mistakes entrepreneurs make since I’ve made plenty. More @ aarondinin.com