Email is Still Good

A gazillion people sent me the link to Isaac Garcia’s follow up post to the ‘The Good In Email (or Why Email Is Still The Most Adopted Collaboration Tool)’ article he blogged a few weeks ago (both were Slashdotted, so both got quite a bit of visibility). This post, titled ‘The Bad in Email (or Why We Need Collaboration Software)’ has a lot of good information in it, but I’m not sure it’s that relevant.

He argues that email isn’t the perfect tool to be used to collaborate and share information with teams and groups. Although many people try to use email for this purpose (and many others), I’m not sure anyone thinks it’s the perfect tool for this purpose—at least in its current state.

I believe that because people spend so much time in their inbox, they try to make it do things it wasn’t meant to do as opposed to using specialized software to accomplish the same goal. Isaac and his team are working on specialized collaboration software services in hopes that people will go outside of their inbox to collaborate with team members and co-workers.

There are a ton of companies trying to do similar things and I think many of them are having a tough time. Changing learned and ingrained behavior is a very challenging thing to do and I think that is the reason so many technology startups with great ideas end up failing.

An example of a tough question that many technology startups face is: “at what point do we build something new and better and risk the learning curve and resistance to change that’s involved, versus building something and making it work like a Microsoft product since most of the world knows how to use a Microsoft product?”

It’s a tough question and one that most technology startups have to deal with. I don’t know the right answer but at Webmail, we do a little bit of both. We take risks where we think the potential payoff is big but we leverage the fact that “everyone” knows how to use email (and Microsoft Outlook in particular) as we build new features into our service. And that is something we will continue to do.

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