The Future of Your Inbox

There was an interesting comment from Anne Libby on Brad Feld’s post awhile ago┬áthat got me thinking about the future of the inbox.

Here is Anne’s comment:

If I were to write a similar post, it would be titled “Email is no longer working for me.”

 

Every day, we all create transaction requests, questions, introductions, responses to questions, needed data, jokes, attempts to be understood, negotiations on a meeting time — and so on — into what’s essentially a giant pipe called “email”.

 

Then we press “flush,” and expect it to be sorted out on the receiving end. (Yeah, we can set filters. It’s somewhat helpful, but for me it’s not enough.)

 

My five year future would include the emergence of email “process owners” in organizations. Industrial engineer/design specialist tasked with understanding the cost of the sorting out process, distributed across every person in the organization (i.e 100 emails/day * time to process each email* people in the organization). Then they’d figure out ways to get info where it’s meant to go…bypassing email where it doesn’t make sense.

It’s not just about tweaking the email client, but creating alternate and more effective communication behaviors.

I whole-heartedly agree. My inbox sucks, and there is an opportunity for an exponentially better experience. The inbox is certainly not a small problem one individual can solve. It’s a big crazy idea to totally redefine what an email inbox looks like and how it operates. Big risk, big reward.

The other day, I finally got around to putting together what I believe the future of the inbox is and posted it over at Geek Wire. Head over and give it a read and let me know what you think!

Work Productivity Screen Share App (aka POW)

You’ve all spaced off while “working.” Maybe that means watching a YouTube video, perusing Facebook (for the 36th time that day), g-chatting a friend, or checking ESPN for the 15th time. It results in hours and hours (and hours) of lost productivity.

What if there was a powerful and simple way to avoid wasting so much of your time?

Sure, there are already apps and browser extensions that enable you to “block” social media sites, or provide visibility into exactly how much of your life you’re wasting. They are great in theory.

The problem? They all rely on YOU to initiate and execute them. And even if you do turn them on, you can turn them off with a flick of a switch (click of a mouse if we’re being picky).

The solution?

POW – a work productivity screen share app that uses the power of your friendships to keep you productive.

Crowd-source your work productivity, and rely on the power of friends to keep you in line. I’m much more likely to stay productive if real people, or even better yet, current friends of mine, are the ones keeping me in check. The human aspect is why I prefer working at co-working spaces or coffee shops — because there are other people around which makes it harder to just goof off and do nothing.

How exactly would POW work?

First of all, you’d be paired with 4 other people to form work teams of 5. In the upper right of your screen, you’d have a small window which gave you a quick view into what your friends were doing right that moment (think TV-in-TV from the 1990′s). If you noticed one of your 4 friends was goofing off, you could click the “Lazy” button on them which would trigger a quick takeover of their screen indicating they’ve been spotted. See the quick wireframe below…

pow productivity

I firmly believe this would work. But I leave it up to someone else to build it…please send me a note if this exists, as I’d love to try out a service like this. And if this doesn’t exist and you build it…I’ll be your first beta tester.

PS: It doesn’t have to be named POW. Name it whatever you like :)

Centralized Trust System for P2P Marketplaces

There is a wealth of “sharing economy” sites (not sure what sharing economy is – read this), with new ones popping up everyday. AirBnb. Lyft. Uber. Kickstarter. TaskRabbit. Skillshare. etc

1280-sharing-evolution

Each sharing economy site has to build out their own trust system, which happens to be the most critical component to the viability of their marketplace — and the single hardest part to execute on (IMO). Users on their site need to know they are transacting with trusted people who will not rip them off.

There is an opportunity for a neutral source to aggregate user trust in the form of authenticated social media accounts, phone numbers, photo IDs (AirBnB just added this), and reviews that can be plugged into any peer-to-peer marketplace.

It looks like TrustCloud is already well down this path. But, surely, they aren’t at critical mass as of yet and someone could yank this opportunity from under them.

What do you think? A needed system? Or just added complexity?

[Image via http://www.fastcoexist.com/]