Mike Arrington at TechCrunch is crying like a
baby Scoble, as he faces upwards of 2400 unread emails.
Mike says there's a real opportunity for entrepreneurs out there; and here's my reply. Here’s what you’re looking for: 90% of anyone’s inbox can be classified into 5, 10 or 20 different issues. For instance, someone might:
(i) want an interview with you
(ii) want to discuss a “serious” issue in a published post in TC
(iii) want you to know about their “hot” startup
(iv) want to invite you to speak/participate at an “key” event
…and on and on it goes. Your decisions come down to the evaluation of what “serious” really is, or how “hot” the startup is, etcetera.
REAL friends might be sending out the stupid youtube links and photos and such, but most people have these categories. Which the user can determine, and create forms for.
So, I go into gmail and type Mike’s address. Gmail puts me on hold: “gathering Mike's workflow requests for you”. Then a list of, say, 15 items like the above comes up. Then if I want to “invite to speak/participate in an event”, I fill out a form with the fields you have defined. If I still want to send an email, then I do it knowing that I’ll be breaking your workflow and you may never reply/read.
Whenever you have the time, you can review all such requests. And software could even rank the requests based on your own settings. If a field in the form is amount, it is quite probably important.
This would improve workflow tremendously. Most of the time we would be on “review of interview request’s mode”, or “review of employee travel request mode”, or “review of relevant hilarious stuff not on Digg”, or review of something else mode.