As many folks know, email has been a bit of a sweet spot for me over the past decade. I’ve always been focused on the marketing side of the medium, and less on the productivity / distraction side. That said, I wanted to take a moment and write about a whole new generation of email focused productivity apps that I have been using to enhance my experience with the inbox. We all suffer from too much email, and frankly for many of us its hard to keep up with. Maybe I am just speaking for myself, however I think many share the same frustration. Inbox Zero is a far cry from reality for most of us. So, in no particular order, here are the next generation email applications that I am using today, (full disclosure, I’m an investor in 3 of them, noted below):
PowerInbox – PowerInbox caught my eye shortly after I sold Blue Sky Factory. This is the kind of service that I would have looked to integrate with if I was still running my ESP. The concept is simple, PowerApps INSIDE of the inbox. These simple lightweight apps run inside your inbox and reduce additional workflow or steps to take a particular action. This works by authenticating with a variety of services (i.e.. twitter, linkedin, facebook, etc) and then you can perform tasks right inside of the inbox. To drive the concept home, I can’t remember the last time I left my actual Gmail inbox to accept a LinkedIn invite or respond to a direct message on twitter, etc. I am an investor in the company and love how Matt and his team are executing.
Contactually – Zvi Band is the CEO and a great guy from the local region. Contactually, solves a few problems, however the main advantage and the reason I use it is because it simply helps identify decaying relationships in email. Every morning I get an email that tells me who I should be following up with based on contact frequency. Pretty cool eh? Its a contact monitoring system within your email, letting you know when your communication is slipping. Of course, its only as useful as you make it. That said, I am amazed by how many email contacts the service uncovers that have gone stale. Literally, folks I haven’t connected with in months. Its CRM for your inbox, and they offer much more than what I am writing here. Check them out.
Awayfind – AwayFind is the uber app that allows you to stay away from your inbox. The service offers individual and enterprise licensing and seeks to increase productivity in the workplace by allowing folks not to be glued to their inbox. AwayFind offers a variety of alert services (sms, IM, push notification, etc) for the folks that HAVE to get in touch with you now. Everything else can wait until you return to your computer or device. There is a lot to play with here, however the one feature that I absolutely LOVE is the calendar monitoring feature. In short, you can set a window of time (say 2-3 hours), and if anyone who is on your calendar emails you within that timeframe you get an automatic push notification. I can’t tell you how many times this has allowed me to get ahead of a cancelled meeting, or an appointment that is running late. Its been very helpful. I am an investor in AwayFind, and Jared Goralnick is about to knock it out of the park. Try it and eye it!
Mailstrom – Finally, there is the Mailstrom! The latest product from 410 Labs (I am an investor). Dubbed as the smarter, faster way to clean out your inbox, I have to say, yes it is. I logged in with 41k emails in my gmail account (lots of history there), and after a few minutes I was looking at wonderful analytics about my top senders, subject lines, social network emails, and various lists that I am a part of. All displayed simply and easily. The best part is, Mailstrom lets you bulk delete emails with one click (Tame that inbox!). I took my inbox down from 41k to 34k in about 15 clicks (based on senders, subject lines and social emails). The process couldn’t be simpler. I was a bit concerned at first given the size of my Gmail inbox, but Mailstrom handled it like a pro. The synch takes a few minutes and then you are good to go. Its amazing how much “stuff” Mailstrom uncovered from my legacy Gmail account. I love what Dave Troy and the team are doing at 410 Labs. Get your beta account for Mailstrom today!
So, right now that is my current next generation email app stack. While the inbox can most certainly be a scary place, there are several new tools to help maximize the way you use it. Thanks to some really smart entrepreneurs who are focused on this space, I am confident the innovation will continue.
Thanks for reading.