Email is a blight upon modern life - a never-ending stream of junk pouring into your day, uninvited and uncontrolled. Email cannot be bought, bullied, reasoned, or negotiated with. It always finds a way to win. A lot of people have developed interesting workflows over the years to deal with the deluge, but all of them are attempts to cover up the truth: email is fundamentally broken.
It's Microsoft's fault, really. It established the standards and practices of the medium. It introduced the modern notion of the Inbox, that ever-present monster made up of to-dos and haven't-dones that threatens to devour us daily. Over the years, they've added tags, folders, rules, filtering, forwarding, and so one and so forth, turning what should be a simple digital message into a beast that refuses to be tamed.
I believe email still has a purpose, even in a world of tweets and text messages. For one, it's much better suited to communicating complex thoughts. For another, it's uniquely cross-platform. But unless we rethink the experience of using email, we're never going to exploit it to its full potential.
So hats off to the development team at Orchestra, which has done yeoman's work in moving us toward that goal with its new app, Mailbox for iPhone. Mailbox is the first real practical rethinking of email I've seen in a very long time. The Orchestra team understands that email piles up, and Mailbox is designed to reduce the pile. Plain, simple, and to the point.
Mailbox: highly recommended. It might just make email usable again.