The Evolution of Email

Who is this for? Those looking to see where email is — and email applications are — really headed.

Email is changing, and I’m happy about that because it certainly needs to change.

Look at the apps we’re seeing hitting the landscape:

All of these apps are asking you to treat email differently. Some are asking you to foster relationship with those you communicate with via the platform, humanizing email more in the process (Cloze falls into this category) while others are trying to legitimately morph the platform into a task management utility (nearly all of the others I’ve mentioned above).

Apps like Asana, Flow, and IQTell are also bringing communication into their apps so that you can steer clear of the seemingly inescapable email inbox and focus on “the real work” instead. They’ve taken the idea of electronic communication and are finding a way to make it work within their own platforms rather than trying to merge the idea of a task management app and an email app into a whole new type of app (which I would call an “email management” app). Honestly, Cloze is the only one of the apps that covers all communication bases rather than just email, which means it becomes a communication inbox rather than an email inbox. I like that idea, but it’s a hard one to get used to.

Why?

Because Cloze doesn’t have the same functionality (yet) of apps like Outlook, Mail.app, Gmail, Postbox, and so on. That is a barrier to entry for a lot of people to use Cloze consistently – myself included.

It seems to me that people either want to be able to do everything within heir email app (in other words, have an email management app) or steer clear of it as much as possible. I’m a fan of the latter, but I am not blind to the appeal of the former. The learning curve may not be much different (especially since you may have to learn a whole new app for email management), but the idea of having two places to manage your “stuff” – and email application and a a task management application – is a challenging thing for me to sell – and for many to buy into.

So … what’s the real evolution?

No matter what way you decide to go, the answer is that you must deal with email as it is checked. It can’t stay in your inbox. It needs to go somewhere – and that means you perform the action associated with it, store it for later, forward it to someone else, or delete it. That’s it. Once you start treating email that way, then it doesn’t matter what you use because you will be treating your email better. By doing that, you’re treating others, your work, and yourself better.

That means the evolution isn’t the apps you have … but the approach you take.

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Comments

  1. Bottom line is that email is not a filing cabinet. Touch it once and do something with it. Do-delegate-dump?? I think that’s the rule. Anyhow, great post.

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