inboxlove

[Image credit: Inbox Love]

I know what you're thinking: a whole conference devoted to email? I'd rather watch Silicon Valley promos on repeat than go to that.

But you're wrong. Email is actually interesting. I'm not talking about email marketing, which is a sad thing some of us* have to do. No, I'm talking about email the application. Email the thing you interact with every day. Email the thing whose quantity you love to hate. (And Gander loves to parse.) Email is so ingrained in our day-to-day that it's almost subconscious, and conferences devoted to subconscious topics are always interesting. Plus, this particular conference is organized by two super-smart guys under the umbrella of a super-smart, and rather unconventional startup seed fund and accelerator. Together, they've pulled together a range of fluff-free speakers and germane (to me) sessions. There are still a few tickets left, so if you're in the Mountain View area October 24th, pick one up here!

Not convinced yet? Read on!

The sessions

Hotlook, G365, and Email's Merging Roles

  • by: David Dennis, Roger Neel, Joshua Baer
  • Why: I don't know what the first two things are, am hoping "hotlook" is the internal name for Outlook, and agree that "webmail is evoking into a crucial part of the online productivity suite."

Life without Email?

  • by: Gloria Mark
  • Why: Because quitting email is oh so trendy among the tech blogosphere right now, but I want to know what the actual effects of doing so are.

Platforms vs Clients

  • by: David Claux, Alexander Moore, Sherman Dickman
  • Why: Because it's a major decision that can be the deciding vote in a product's success (see Postbox) or failure (see Fluent).

Email Workflows, Today & Tomorrow

  • by: David Troy
  • Why: Because for many of us, email is a task list, and I want to see some ideas that capitalize on this.

Showcasing the Latest Apps

  • by: Christina Nguyen (Gander), Zvi Band (Contactually), Alex Jones (Otherinbox), and Josh Avnery (Wisestamp)
  • Why: Because Christina's presenting, I dig Contactually, and I'm eager to learn about the other apps as well.

The people

Joshua Baer + OtherInboxJoshua is the founder and CEO of OtherInbox, a company (now owned by ReturnPath) that makes ingenious tools for organizing, finding, and reducing email. Austin's entrepreneurs know him as one of their biggest champions--he founded early stage accelerator Capital Factory and regularly blogs about the city's entrepreneurial activities at austintrepreneur.com.

Jared Goralnick + AwayFind Jared's company, AwayFind, has one of the most innovative approaches to inbox freedom I've seen: it turns critical emails into other forms of communication (texts, voicemails, twitter notifications), allowing users to logout but still be on-call, so to speak. Jared is also EVP of the Informaiton Overload Research Group, which is a fantastic resource for anyone looking to solve this problem.

Gloria Mark, Professor, Department of Informatics, UC Irvine Perhaps no one knows more about the science behind multi-tasking--get off your phone and listen to me!--than Gloria Mark (@gmark6). Gloria's field of interest is Computer Supported Cooperative Work, and she studies collaboration technologies, distributed work and technology use, the impact of Web 2.0 technologies, and multi-tasking in the workplace. Her latest paper is "A Pace not dictated by electrons," An empirical study of work without email.

David Claux + Microsoft Exchange Back at MEC, I got a chance to check out the new Outlook Web App, and I have to say, it is a formidable (albeit still suckily named) alternative to the Outlook desktop client. There is some cool new functionality (offline access, contextual suggestions), but the big change is in the interface, which now looks like something you might actually want to use. David (@dclaux) is the man responsible for this, and Microsoft really owes him a big thank you, and maybe a jet or at least a jet ski.

Alexander Moore + Baydin Alex is the CEO of another email overload-conquering company, Baydin. I don't know where the name "Baydin" comes from, but chances are, you've heard of the company's flagship product: the email scheduling extension Boomerang. Baydin also makes the fantastic Email Game, which forces players to clean their inbox or live in lifelong ignomy. According to his conference bio, Alex cooks up a "chicken florentine that tastes like angels singing." I would probably forget my vegetarianism to try it.

Sherman Dickman + Postbox This is just a hunch, but I'm guessing June 20, 2012 was one of Postbox-founder Sherman Dickman's happiest days ever. On that day, Sparrow announced it was being acquired by Google, legions of formerly happy users jumped ship, and Postbox became Gmail desktop client numero uno. It's a worthy leader, by the way, thanks to a clean interface, priority view, smart calendar detection, and other handy features. As for Sherman--suffice it to say that the man knows how to grow a product, having held PM roles at Mozilla, Broderbund, Inc, and Apple.

David Troy + 410 Labs You know those people who send you novels in response to a yes/no question? If you use Shortmail, they can't. David Troy's (@davetroy) email platform caps messages at 500 words, doesn't allow attachments, and has none of the bells and whistles associated with typical email apps. It's not for everyone, but the working world would be a lighter place if it were. David is currently working on a new email web app called Mailstrom (great name) that lets you delete or archive thousands of messages at once.

Tawheed Kader + ToutApp "Serial entrepreneur" is often code for ADD sufferer who never puts the legos away, but in Tawheed's case, the title is legit. Among the man's efforts: group calendar app HipCal (which sold to Sean Parker's Plaxo--remember that?), product design firm Braintrust, and now Tout, the email platform tailor-made for sales people and marketers (features include real-time tracking, templates, and scheduling). I already know Dmitri is a big fan, and I'm excited to see it in action.

Ev Kontsevoy + Mailgun Email mailboxes are old as the hills, or at least older than the internet. Today's young bucks don't necessarily know how to create them, and thus steer clear of putting email functionality into their applications. Which is lame, because email is a very useful tool for app users and creators alike. Enter Mailgun, Ev Kontsevoy's APIs that let applications send, receive, track, and store messages. Mailgun was a Y-Combinator company, and is now owned by Rackspace.

The extras

Bagels. Beer (courtesy of MailChimp). More beer + fancy drinks (courtesy the other lovely sponsors, including Microsoft, Rackspace, Go.co, and GE).

*me

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