Email is essential modern communication tool, it is therefore natural that many entrepreneurs have tried to revise it over the years.
Over the past decade, the Mailbox email client has come and gone, Slack launched to try to give people an alternative to email, and Superhuman has emerged to help people more easily reach the promised land of Inbox Zero .
The last startup to tackle email is Basecamp, a project management software company, who launched Hey last month. In the first 11 days after its release, Hey received 125,000 registrations, Basecamp founder and CEO Jason Fried told TipsClear. Those early days also included some dramas with the Apple App Store, but that’s not what it is. Instead, this is Hey’s approach, why Fried felt the need to try to rebuild email from scratch and how he approaches product development.
“The last time people were really excited about email was on a large scale 16 years ago, when Gmail came out in 2004,” says Fried. “I remember it was different in many ways. It was very fast, they had archiving, which was a new concept at the time. It worked differently from what I came from, which was Yahoo Mail, which was sort of stuck in the past. And I think that’s where Gmail is today – stuck in the past and we’re trying to bring out something new with new thinking and new philosophies and a new perspective. “
Basically, hey is about giving people control over their emails and reducing clutter so users can hear the people who matter most, says Fried. But control comes at a price: Hey costs $ 99 a year, with additional fees for three- and two-character email addresses (two-character email addresses are $ 999 a year and three-character addresses are $ 349 per year).
“We got a taste of our own medicine because it was not cheap to buy hey.com,” says Fried. “So everything that is short in the domain world costs more. It’s almost like a beachfront property because it is rare – more desirable. So since we have a three-letter domain, two- and three-letter email addresses are going to cost more. There are fewer and they are more desirable. “
Hey’s current iteration is for individual users, but by the end of the year, the plan is to launch a formal enterprise version with collaborative features such as shared messages and inboxes. In this unified Imbox (not a typo), people will be able to specify that they don’t want to see business emails beyond a certain time or on weekends.
“Many of the emails are collaborative in nature,” says Fried. “People end up sending emails to show someone how to take them. We think it’s totally broken and really outdated. So we have elements built into Hey for work, which allow people to share threads with each other in a very different way and be able to have upstream conversations on threads without having to have those conversations in another product or somewhere that is separate from the actual wire itself. “
There is a lot more in this conversation, like how Hey landed on his hypothesis, why control is so important, how email shouldn’t look like work and more. Here are Fried’s ideas.