Miles Fitzgerald

April 16, 2021

A new way to email

I'm writing this newsletter from my email client. It's called Hey. It's made by the folks over at Basecamp. I've been using it for a month now. It's a bit of a learning curve but it's been interesting to experience email in different ways. Here's what I love about it: 

  • It's private and secure. There's no trackers and the parent company is not trying to sell my information to sell more ads. They are not an Ad base business and the founders are vocal about how they want build products. It aligns with how I've been thinking about the internet. 
  • It's designed to reduce emails. My personal email over the last 10 years is 99% newsletters and spam and 1% friends and on going projects. Hey lets me separate these emails. I can send all my newsletters into a feed type view where I can read it when I want to and not worry about them. 
  • It's paid. Yes I have to pay $99 per year for this service. I'm happy to pay that price for zero ads and secure email. I'm saving time and stress. I'm also buying less because the ads I get now on the internet are a lot less targeted. 
  • It's new. The two main players for email are Gmail and Outlook. They are both 20+ years old it's become very hard for them to innovate. I'm excited to be an early user of Hey and help shape it into a tool I'll use for a long time. 
  • It's hard. Switching emails is hard. Like really hard. I still can't close my Gmail because a lot of people only know that address and many services are connected to that email. It's like switching phone number but it's attached to the service. Imagine if you had to switch phone number every time you switched providers. Email clients have designed a monopoly system. For now I FWD all my Gmail to Hey and it's working. 

I'll keep sharing on this. I just finished reading "A World Without Email: Reimagining Work in an Age of Communication Overload" and Cal Newport goes deep on the research of how email and now Slack (any messaging platforms) are created to make use hooked. From the book:

"Any workflow that requires you to constantly tend conversations unfolding in an inbox or chat channel is going to diminish the quality of your brain’s output. I also argued that communication overload—the feeling that you can never keep up with all the different incoming requests for your time and attention—conflicts with our ancient social wiring, leading to unhappiness in the short term and burnout in the long term."

I'm sure you can relate. Here's what I'm trying: 

  • Check at set times. I check my emails in the morning and in the evening. I've stopped refreshing the app every time I'm bored. 
  • Say it later. If I have something to say to someone I draft and add more before I send short messages. Communicating at work like you text just keeps you busy. 
  • I'm trying Trello. When emails come in with a request I add it to my personal board and stop thinking about the email. I focus on getting the action done. 
  • Async video. I send updates via async video with services like Loom. This avoids meetings where time is wasted on small talk. 

This new way of working is here to stay. There's a whole generation who's going to be remote first. In this shift, new ways of working will be established. The amount of digital communication is exploding and we (humans) cannot handle all of it.

I'd love to hear from you if you've tried different processes. What's worked and what hasn't?


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