The future of Email
Working in Sales for the past 5 years means the browser tab I most consistently have open is my email. It’s also one of the very few active app notifications I have on my phone.
Email is an indispensable part of my job, as I’m sure is for many others. This is why I’m really excited about this relatively new trend that’s sweeping the startup world — changing the way we use emails.
Just a simple Google search is enough to showcase a ton of differing data on email, from various sources:
- “Between 2014 and 2018 the average office worker received about 90 emails a day and sent around 40 business emails daily”
- “On average, professionals have more than 200 emails in their inbox and receive 120 new ones each day but respond to only 25% of them.”
- “293.6 billion emails sent per day in 2019”
- “2.4 billion emails get sent every second. That’s 74 trillion emails every year.”
The point is, email is this universal tool everyone uses, both in their work and outside of it. Most people even have several emails for different occasions (I’m ashamed to admit I have 4).
Since its invention in 1972, there have been just a few milestones in the evolution of Email, but in its core it has pretty much remained the same.
At first and for a very long time, it was just plain text messages. Then, in the late 1990s, HTML was introduced, making it possible to send colorful, image-rich emails. At the same time, Google, Yahoo, and AOL established themselves as the main email clients people use. Early to mid-2000’s people started using their Blackberries to check emails on the go. From then on, the main focus was basically making emails more responsive.
But email still remained email, with all its flaws — cluttered inboxes, spam, losing track of old messages, getting confused in email threads, data privacy, etc.
Here comes the part where companies and independent makers take on the challenge of disrupting Email. Many companies have chosen to focus on solving a very specific problem with emails, e.g. LeaveMeAlone, allowing you to connect your inbox and check all the email lists your account is currently subscribed to. That way, you can directly unsubscribe from newsletters only with a single click, instead of going through each individual unsubscription process when you receive the next newsletter issue.
There are also services specifically created to tackle the privacy issue, such as Proton Mail (the main email I’m currently using), putting a strong emphasis on encryption and email security.
So far, we’ve seen some pretty good attempts at overhauling the essence of the way we use emails, e.g. Superhuman, but mostly it’s been new services offering the same solution in a different UI. Something fundamental needs to change, but nobody is sure exactly what and more importantly — how.
Here comes another reason why I’m excited about the next few months. Apparently, another company that has been thinking about the issues of emails for a while is Basecamp.
The founder has recently made a bold announcement on Twitter that the Basecamp team is working on a tool that’ll fix all of the core problems of email.
They’re calling it Hey, and judging by the incredible interest, this is something a lot of people have been waiting for a long time.
Also published on Hackernoon.