Email has not evolved nearly as much as it could over the years. There is an opportunity for some major improvements by extending the capabilities available to users and administrators alike. Microsoft and Google have built very stable and robust offerings in the space while companies like Rackspace have built on those offerings. However one thing that is severely lacking is real innovation.
What’s the last “big thing” in Email you can remember?
Bam, bam, we all hate Spam
We’ve all struggled with Spam or Unsolicited Commercial Email (UCE). Few companies do a truly good job of preventing those annoying and potentially damaging messages from arriving in your inbox without causing you to dig messages out of quarantine. It’s an area where a lot of resources and energy have been put.
We all hate Spam and as luck would have it, this article is the result of a brain storming session after personally dealing with a recurring Spam issue.
Over the last few months I’ve been receiving pairs of messages (one to each of my major accounts) that are UCE. I have no idea what’s at the end of the rainbow, it could be malware, it could truly be an attempt to sell products, the what is not important. The what we can do about it is. In this case I ended up blocking Amsterdam in it’s entirety, from Emailing to my domain. Luckily I have the luxury of doing this, many people would not.
This was not the idea, but rather one of a two components, for my inspiration to improve Email.
4AM Idea Generator
Not too long ago I read this really fantastic book called “The Organized Mind”. The book led to a greater understanding of how our minds work and things we can do to improve our performance. One of the things the author discusses is the importance of letting your mind wander.
Never under-estimate the potential power of relatively mindless work.
For me the best places to let my mind wander are cleaning or organizing, sitting in a chair with a notepad nearby, driving on a long trip, or walking/hiking alone. Last night I took some time to organize a recently created work bench in our garage and in the process unpacked many boxes of stuff that had been stowed away since our move last year. During this remedial task, my mind wanders quite a bit, this type of work is food that my brain needs.
What this extra mind wandering time had done in conjunction with my Spam war against Amsterdam the previous day was to shift some creative energy while I was asleep to the subject of Email. So at 4AM in the morning when I came off my first 5 hours of my sleeping cycle (a frequent occurrence) I started brainstorming a way to solve one of the issues with Email – dealing with highly circulated Email addresses.
What is a highly circulated Email address? It’s simple, it means you have an address that has been in circulation for a long time and has been harvested by everyone and their brother, sister, cousin, aunt, uncle, neighbor and distant relative. Highly circulated Email addresses and their hosts are tested much more often by viruses, spam and malware.
So now that the fuel has been provided, I am now looking to others who have a desire to contribute, while I further investigate Email innovation.
What would you change about how Email works?
I was recently reminded of the importance of multidisciplinary thinking by my friend Bindu Garapaty, that is don’t just ask one discipline (e.g. Email Hosting Providers) for their ideas. Ask people of all walks of life and professions. Ask the users, ask the administrators, ask artists, ask scientists, anyway, you get the idea. So I am asking you.
This is about starting a conversation with anyone who wants to have it, about what can improve with Email. I made three pages of notes early this morning, but I’ll take anything you’d like to share, if you’re up for it, to contribute to this theoretical body of work. Your contributions can be anonymous or I can attribute them to you. You may participate in the comment section or via my contact form.