Monday, February 11, 2013

Email with an attitude

Wow. Intersting post from Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten at The Next Web about a new email management system he's developing, InBox Pro.

Call it email with an attitude:
You can help me test it however by sending an email to Try it now and the following will happen:
Your email will land in my ‘Queue’ box and you will receive a reply via email with some information and options. The email states that my inbox currently contains 325 emails and that it takes an average of 3 days, 7 hours and 47 minutes for me to reply to emails.

I hope that message alone will make it clear to people that maybe they are sending me too many emails and to accept that they probably won’t get a reply within a few minutes. But it doesn’t stop there. I also invite the sender to optimize their email for me to ensure I get to it faster. They can do that by following a link and then changing their email to one of 4 formats:

1: Yes/No question:
2: FYI Message
3: Short Message
4: Long Message

Each format has a separate ‘Average Response Time’ and it is shown as you compose your message. Over time it will likely show that Yes/No questions and FYI Messages are answered faster than Long Questions.

In a few months I hope to have an iPhone and Android app that skips the whole email part of this setup and just allows you to pick an address and submit a message format.

There is one more feature that make Inbox Pro worthwhile for me personally and that is the ‘Expire’ function. I can set a time after which emails will expire. That means that if I haven’t been able to reply to your email within one week that simply means I’m too busy to answer it.
Of course, the equation here is how many people will you offend with those responses? But then again, wouldn't it be nice to add some of this kind of structure that would truly make email useful again as a multidimensional communication channel.

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At 2/11/13, 11:18 AM, Blogger Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten said...

If it offends someone then the system will have failed. The challenge is to make it seem like a shortcut to the front of the queue. :-)

At 2/11/13, 11:20 AM, Blogger Doug said...

Yeah, I agree. But I also live in the world of unintended consequences ;-)

Best of luck in the development. Looks like a fascinating idea with lots of potential.


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