Q and HEY, Part 2with Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
Basecamp co-founders Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson held a recent livestream session where they answered questions about HEY, the company’s new email service. You can listen to Part 1 or watch the entire livestream on YouTube.
- Q1: What's the timeframe on new features? - 00:38
- HEY for Work - 00:50
- Shape Up - 1:13
- Apple vs. HEY - 4:33
- It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy At Work - 6:07
- Q2: How did you get HEY.com? - 7:12
- "How we acquired HEY.com" (Signal v. Noise) - 7:30
- Q3: When would you say you've taken on Gmail? - 9:53
- Q4: What's the environmental impact of HEY? - 14:14
- Data analyst Jane Yang's SvN post on carbon negativity - 15:45
- Q5: It's been crazy at work for the last couple weeks. How do you get back to normal? - 15:52
- Q6: Now that you have two products, are you concerned with context switching in the future? - 17:38
- Q7: What's the problem with "inbox zero?" - 20:04
- Q8: How could I possibly move to HEY with 16 years of emails in Gmail? - 24:10
- HEY's guide for moving from Gmail - 24:10
The Full Transcript:
[00:00:00] Broken By Design by Clip Art plays.
Wailin: [00:00:01] Welcome to Rework, a podcast by Basecamp about the better way to work and run your business. I’m Wailin Wong.
Shaun: [00:00:06] And I’m Shaun Hildner. This week we’re bringing you part two of the Q&A that Basecamp co-founders Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson did a few weeks ago. It’s all about Hey, the new email service from Basecamp.
Wailin: [00:00:20] Next week, we have a very special episode for you detailing what d David has called the most important two weeks in the company’s history. But first, here’s Jason and David on everything Hey.
[00:00:30] Broken By Design by Clip Art plays.
Jason: [00:00:38] I want to answer a bunch of questions at once which is basically what’s the timeframe on X or Y? We don’t have any timeframes except for there’s a few things coming this year. Hey for Work officially is coming this year and custom domains are officially coming this year. Custom domains could be on Personal, could be on Business. We’ve got to work some stuff out. We haven’t made final decisions on these things, but as far as all these other features, what about a calendar, what about this, what about that? We don’t even know internally. So we don’t have internal roadmaps. We work six weeks at a time and if you want to learn more about how we work, you want to go to Basecamp.com/ShapeUp.
[00:01:18] We literally work six weeks at a time so we have a couple things we know we want to do this year, but I don’t know. Is it going to be three months from now? Is it going to be five months from now. We only have, what, six months left in the year so it’s got to be within those six, but that’s it.
[00:01:28] So there’s so many things that we are going to bleed into the next year and the year after that because we only have so much time to do things and we have to figure out what makes the most sense right now versus later. How much… what’s our appetite for taking on some of these projects? How exhausted are we? Like, do we want to take on really hard, complicated things right now? Probably not because we’re tired. Do we want to take on high value, easier things? Probably. So we’re going to kind of half to shuffle the deck here, lay them out on the table and figure some of this stuff out.
[00:01:55] But we truly don’t have roadmaps internally to share even externally. So we just don’t’ know. But calendar. Would love to tackle a calendar at some point. Don’t know when that might be if ever. But yeah. So any time anyone’s asking when, we just truly, truly don’t know. Like family plans? We would love to offer plans, absolutely. We have some really interesting ideas around families being able to share things together but it’s real work. We’ve got to figure it all out. We don’t have an ETA on it, we just know that it’s something we would like to do at some point. But it also doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. We hope it will, but other things may jump in line before that. We’ll have to kind of see how that goes.
David: [00:02:33] Yeah, I think in the 20 years I’ve been writing public software, I have a hard time remembering when I ever was like, oh, I’m so glad I announced that feature in advance and committed myself to a timeline. The history of… we’ve done this several times in the history of Basecamp and almost every time, we’ve regretted it, right?
[00:02:52] So the fact that we’ve gone out and said, we’re doing Hey for Work and we’re doing custom domains and we’re doing it this year is already like… we’re going to do the work. Clearly there’s a lot of demand for that and otherwise we’d be spending our entire time saying, like, uh, we don’t know. Whatever. So we’re committing to that. That’s already very un-Basecamp-y to commit to specific features ahead of time. But yeah, we’re going to do that.
Jason: [00:03:14] One of the things that we want to do is continue to be weird. We want to continue to build unusual, differentiated features into Hey. Part of the brand of Hey is different. It’s different at every single level and it needs to stay that way for quite a while. One of the really hard things about product development is if you put something out there in the world. In a world where people are used to a certain way, like email has been the same forever, basically. Easy is the wrong word. But it’s easier to do something behind the scenes like build what we want, which is what we did, to release 1.0, because you don’t have to listen to people’s feedback. Right? It’s easier not to listen to people’s feedback, let’s be honest. I think everyone who knows, who’s doing work, it’s easier not to have someone over your shoulder telling you this and telling you that and changing your mind and whatever. It’s just easier. But, once you release something you have hundreds of thousands of people giving you their opinions. Which is a wonderful source of information and insight and perspective and that’s super, super valuable. But one of the really hard things is is to not begin to backfill early on with all the stuff people wanted from what they’re used to.
David: [00:04:22] One example I’ve been using for this, although I need to find a new example now, I think, is the Apple Watch. We were trying not to sort of harp on the Apple issues since so much has been said about that. It didn’t show time until like, five minutes ago.
Jason: [00:04:37] Fifth generation. Yeah.
David: [00:04:38] Fifth generation. Right? Like, five years into development it didn’t show time unless you did this crazy exaggerated move. And I thought that that was just a great example of a lot of things launch and they’re like, they’re not for everyone in V1. Right? They slowly become broader and broader and broader and then more and more people can feel like it fits into their life, but it’s very rare that a V1 of something that does something new comes out and everyone goes, like, well, that’s perfect. Or that does everything I wanted.
[00:05:11] Both because it’s perfect because it’s different from everything I had before but also it does exactly everything I want. That’s not a thing. What usually happens is something new comes out, like Hey, that’s really different in a bunch of ways where the people who can appreciate those differences go, like, you know what? Those differences are worth some trade-offs. I’m not going to get everything I had before with, whatever, Gmail, or whatever product they used before. But these new things are so interesting that I’m going to be okay that the product doesn’t do X for a while.
[00:05:43] So I think that that’s something we’re going to try to stick to and also just, I mean, we’ve run at the red line for two weeks. I am personally completely, utterly, smashed. I mean, I’m trying to think back if there’s ever been a time in the history of Basecamp where we have worked like this. I don’t think so. I don’t know if it’s ironic, but it’s illustrating that we just published a book, like a year and a half ago called It Doesn’t Have to be Crazy at Work where we talk about, like, hey, we’ve been running for 20 years, we’ve had our emergencies. We’ve had our crises at Basecamp, and sometimes you need to do something. We’ve never had a two-week crisis where everything was just all-in like this. And do you know what I can tell you? It’s exhausting. It really is. And I know no one’s interested in a sob story from two founders of a successful email product. But that’s just the facts. That’s why we can’t do everything right now is like, we’re just completely blasted. I feel like I just want to lay with the head down for two weeks and do nothing. Stare into a pillow or the wall or something. No one can keep this up. Or maybe they can in Silicon Valley, I don’t know. There’s a lot of people who are all about like, well, I work 10, 12-hour days all the time for years. I’m like, I’ve worked some 12-hour days in the last few weeks. No. I’m not going to make that my life. Do you know what? I would rather then not do this than I this was… if the last two weeks were like, oh, that’s just your life now. Look forward to that for the next five years, I’d be like, yeah, nope. Nope. Nope.
Jason: [00:07:11] Yeah. I’ll take one real quick. Someone just curious about how we got Hey.com and how much we paid for it. I can’t share how much we paid for it but I wrote the whole story up about how we acquired it, because it wasn’t ours. If you just Google or DuckDuckGo or whatever search you use, how we acquired hey.com, you should find the answer. The first—I emailed the owner of it back in June of 2018. So that’s when we started—we started building Hey prior to that. Actually, internally it was called Haystack because owned Haystack.com and that’s what it was going to be.
[00:07:46] And to another question someone asked, earlier, were custom domains planned from the start? I don’t really know, but once we got into—once we were able to acquire hey.com, we knew that that was… we acquired that because we wanted people to have that email address. So we always have been running it on Basecamp.com as well, but I also have a personal hey.com address and David does as well, and everyone at Basecamp does. So once we went down that road, it was pretty clear that we wanted to make sure hey.com was something we focused on because it was expensive. And we… it took about, almost two years, well, not quite. About what? A year and a half to get. A lot of emails back and forth but I wrote the whole story up so you can check it out. But we can’t share the price, that’s part of the NDA. And so that’s forever a secret.
David: [00:08:30] I’ve been using emoji to symbolize the price, and it’s usually like money bags, like the whole way down. Because—
Jason: [00:08:36] It was expensive.
David: [00:08:37] This is the most we’ve ever ever ever spent on something like that. And at the time, funny anecdote. Jason was so convinced that I would have thought that that was outrageous, criminal amount to spend on a domain. He was like, I don’t know. If you don’t do it, I’m just going to buy it myself. And I was like, um. Dude. I think it’s a good idea. Because the thing is, the domain actually really does matter. And I think it is a key part of why people are excited for Hey. That like, this is a great email address. David@hey.com? That just… it sounds cool. It’s easy to say. It’s easy to say on the phone. It’s quick to write. It just… it matters. You don’t really want to just say that I am like DanishDude79@gmail.com. Eeeh. I don’t know, maybe you do. Whoever has DanishDude79@gmail.com, no offense intended.
[00:09:31] But clearly, there’s just some interest in the domain itself. It’s an important part of the product, and I think that’s part of realizing that products are so many things. They’re features, they’re opinions, they’re marketing, and sometimes they’re a domain. That’s part of the deal, that’s part of what we’re selling. I think that’s part of why people are so excited about getting just the right one for them. So that’s part of it.
Jason: [00:09:52] So, this is an interesting question. When would you say that you’ve taken on Gmail, and that the philosophy behind Hey has been a complete success? I think this is a really great question, fundamentally great question, which is, if you compare yourself to another company and define your success based on whether or not you’ve beaten them, taken them on, whatever, you’re just in a bad spot to begin with. There’s a famous quote, it’s been attributed to a whole bunch of people, I don’t know who said it. I’ll say Mark Twain. That’s who said everything, apparently. Is, “Comparison is the death of joy.” And I absolutely believe that.
[00:10:29] This is not about taking on anybody. This is about building something that we believe is excellent that we want other people to see too, and use too, because we think it’s really going to change people’s daily habits. People are in email every single day and if we can make that better, that’s meaningful. I’m not saying we’re changing the world, none of that stuff. But we can help your day. If we can save you an extra half hour, 45 minutes, an hour a day? Or whatever? Or even 15, 20 minutes a day? That’s an improvement, a real improvement. And you do that day in and day out, it actually becomes an investment in yourself, and I think that’s what we’re aiming for, here.
[00:11:02] This is not about beating Gmail. We’ll never. Gmail is 1.5 million accounts, billion, sorry.
David: [00:11:06] Billion!
Jason: [00:11:08] Billion. 1.5 billion accounts. We’ll never get there. I don’t want to get there. We couldn’t run that company here, that’s not. We can’t do that. We don’t want to do that. So success for us has always looked the same way, which is, would we want to do this same thing again. Now, the last two weeks, we wouldn’t really want to do again. But looking back, you’ve got to reflect. You’ve got to go, let’s shoot ahead six months and look back on that. Would we want to do those six months again? I bet we would. And if we say yes to that, like the last two years, which we’ve been working on Hey, yes. We would love to do that again. So that is our success. It is not measuring against anyone else’s yardstick, anyone else’s success. Dollars, numbers, none of that stuff. That doesn’t get you anywhere. You’ve got to really want to do the thing again, and if you do, then it was successful.
[00:11:53] So that’s our general take on that. And again, we know we can’t beat Gmail. Gmail has… they own 50% of the US email market. We’re never going to get that. We don’t want that. We couldn’t have that. So if that was our only measure, we are going to fall down every day and be exhausted doing so. Not worth it. Like David said, I’d rather quit. I don’t want to do that. That’s not the business I want to run. So anyway, that’s our general take on success, measuring up, comparisons. I try to avoid them at all costs.
David: [00:12:24] And it also flows then into the products and pricing decisions. Hey is $99 a year. There’s just a bunch of people who, they’re not going to pay for email, no matter what we do, right? And I’ve already heard a bunch of comments come back. But you know, if it was $20 a year, then you’d get more users. If it was $5 a year, then you’d get even more, still. If you did a free version, that was just ad supported, just insert, and it would be even more users. Yeah, no thanks. Not interested in a billion users. Not interested in everything. Not interested in running an ad-supported product.
[00:12:59] So we make these decisions consciously that limit the potential. Some people would say, the ambition, of the product. But our ambition is obviously think that’s because this is what we’re doing. But it’s focused on making the best product not getting the most people. Not beating everyone. Not dominating anything. We can have, I mean if we’re… I was gonna say, and then I caught myself. I was gonna say if we were 1% of the US email market.
Jason: [00:13:29] No…
David: [00:13:30] Right, like it sounds like the first slide of a novice VC pitch. I don’t even care about the 1%. I don’t even know what it factors out to in percent. If we can make a great product that’s profitable, sustainable, with a great bunch of people working at Basecamp and Hey. The customers who choose to pay for email really like, success. It doesn’t take that much. I’d argue we’ve already probably crossed the threshold where Hey just given the 125,000 people who’ve signed up, is sustainable. As in, we can continue to make the product and there’s enough customers for us to go, well, we can’t afford to do it, or whatever. We still have a lot to figure out but we’re already there.
[00:14:14] I was going to take two here.
Jason: [00:14:14] Oh, go ahead.
David: [00:14:15] One was the environmental impact of Hey. This is actually something we’ve been working on a bunch lately. Jane, our data analyst has been working on a way for, not just Hey, but all of Basecamp to, first become carbon neutral and then for us to do what, I think it was Microsoft, or maybe it was Shopify, who announced that they were essentially going to find a way to clean up everything that they had done in the past. We’ve committed to doing both of those things internally. And I guess, maybe on this call now. Not a public… [Inaudible 00:14:49] in the sense that we haven’t written it down, but this is what we want to do.
[00:14:53] Basecamp and Hey should be carbon neutral. Now…
Jason: [00:14:55] And not in 2030. Now. Or as now as we can.
David: [00:14:59] Now, not in like 10, 20 years. This is… the climate emergency is now. And we’ve had a lot of discussions about this internally. How do we do meet up, how do we deal with flying, how do we buy our services from, whether it’s AWS or others, how do we offset things. And thankfully, a bunch of people have done work on this in the industry. Shopify has done a bunch of work. We’ve talked to them about our calculations, how do… what is our carbon budget remediation? How can we do something about it? We offset? What are good offsets? Like, there are a lot of people selling offsets, far fewer of them sell things that are actually credible, that’s not just for PR, right? So we really want to do that, we’re really committed to doing that. I hope we can have something… I think Jane was actually going to write… now I’m committing Jane in public, here.
Jason: [00:15:41] [crosstalk] already.
David: [00:15:42] I didn’t square that off, so this has the disclaimer, it wasn’t squared off. She was going to write that up for SvN, we’re going to put out an article about all the work we’ve done to figure this out. One other thing, there was a question here about, so it’s been crazy at work for the past two weeks. How do you recalibrate and get back to normal for the culture?
[00:16:01] Super important. We keep saying, you are the habits that you make and we’re just on the cusp of getting some really nasty habits built where, just like running at the red line is normal. That people do work 10- or 12-hour days, that that’s normal. No. It’s not going to be normal. It’s normal that I’m going to respond on everything on Twitter in like five seconds. That’s not normal. And we’re just at that cusp. So the internal idea here is like, next week’s got to be transition week. Next week is when we go from this was an emergency, this was a crisis, now we’re ramping back. If you have more work on your plate than you can make happen in a normal week, we’ve got to figure something out. Either because we need more people, we need to reschedule, or reshuffle the plate, we’ve got to get back to normal.
[00:16:47] Because I think this is the problem that a lot of entrepreneurs find themselves in. They start out working these 80-hour weeks. They’re absolutely crushing, and then they work those for years and now that’s life. Now that’s just life. That’s just how you do it. Even when it’s not necessary anymore, you’ve built that habit. This is just life. I don’t want this to be my life. We’ve gone over that topic repeatedly. I don’t want this to be the life of anyone at Basecamp. We have to get back to calm. We have to get back to 40 hours a week is enough, eight hours a day is plenty, and we will do the work, the great work that we can do within that and we will work on all the other things, making sure that people have long stretches of uninterrupted time, but this is not a new normal.
Jason: [00:17:23] And the reminder is, is that we built Hey that way.
David: [00:17:26] Right, yes.
Jason: [00:17:27] So we can do this again. We’ve done this. This is how we work. We just need to get back to it. And the transition doesn’t mean it’s going to happen next week, but we’re going to begin to slide back into good habits.
[00:17:38] This is a good question, it says: The company’s focus now has two major products. Are you concerned with the context switching costs in the future?
[00:17:45] So we used to have many products and then about five years ago, we committed just to being Basecamp and now we’ve got two things. We’ve got Basecamp and Hey. I think this is going to make both products significantly better. We’ve already begun work on Basecamp 4, which is going to come out next year. Basecamp 3 is the current version. Basecamp 4 is going to be significantly better because of Hey. The ideas, the design, the point of view, the things we’re learning right now. The things we know that are important. The interface, all that stuff. The tech. It’s all going to be better because of Hey. And then when we build Basecamp 4, we’re going to learn new things again.
[00:18:19] Because the only thing we seem to learn new things is when we build something brand new. And we’re going to build something brand new with Basecamp and we’re going to bring some of that stuff back into Hey. So we’re kind of internally calling it like, tick tock development, back and forth, back and forth. And we’re going to kind of let both products inform the other product and really help us work. Because the thing is, every time we do something new and we start from scratch, we come up with new interface ideas, we come up with new technical ideas, we come up with new approaches. New points of view, and it’s very hard to come up with that if you’re just working on the same thing over and over and over.
[00:18:50] Sometimes, if you really start over, like we usually typically do with Basecamp, you can get to some of that, but there’s still so much legacy attached to reworking something you’ve already done compared to starting something new. So, for example, Basecamp 3 customers will probably be very familiar with what the Imbox looks like in Hey, because it’s based on Basecamp. Basecamp’s Hey menu, we have a Hey menu in Basecamp. And at the top, it’s New for You, I think it’s called, and then the before, it’s like Previous Notifications at the bottom or whatever it’s called. We changed the name of it because we don’t have notifications on by default with Hey.
[00:19:24] But that pattern is something we’d already determined, had already come up with in another product. We basically took that, expanded it. We change it of course. Now we’ve got Reply Later and Set Aside and some different behaviors but conceptually, Basecamp informed Hey. And so for those of you who think Hey is interesting, you’ve got to see the source. That’s Basecamp. Basecamp 3 is wildly different than any other project management tool that exists, any other team communication tool that exists, and a lot of the ideas in Hey are born from that. And when we get back to 4, a lot of those ideas in 4 are going to be born from Hey.
[00:20:00] So this is a good thing, to have a couple of things to go back and forth with, which inform each other.
[00:20:03] All right, we’ve got like 10 minutes. You want to pick up a couple more? How about the inbox zero thing, David?
David: [00:20:07] You’ve got to pick up—
Jason: [00:20:10] Someone’s like—
David: [00:20:10] I was just, that was what I was going to do, ah!
Jason: [00:20:11] Good. Heyyy.
David: [00:20:13] First, let’s zoom out a little bit. Why did we come to this position that inbox zero is not actually where you want to be? So, as I’ve said, I’ve been using, or I was using Gmail until a year ago or something when we switched to Hey, and I’d been using it for like 16 years, since it came out. And I was on that inbox wagon, right, where I was so proud that I was so organized and I was so quick that I would get back to everything. And either I’d be at inbox zero, or I’d have like five to ten things. But as I said earlier, like, it’s really disruptive for your mental space to do that. And getting to inbox zero is not… just seeing that empty screen, I get the adrenaline, or dopamine hit that you get from that. Aw man, so good at email. Do you know what? That’s not the thing I want to be the best at in the world is to like, just email.
[00:21:04] I want to do other things that require me not to answer email all the time. So the concept that we came up with, this idea of the river, where there’s like, why are people feeling bad about email all the time? And inbox zero, as a concept, makes people feel bad about email all the time. The number of times I’ve seen someone sort of show their screen and they’re like, they have 10,567 unread emails, and they’re like apologetic. They’re like, I’m sorry. I know I’m like, kind of disorganized, but this is email, this is just what I—
[00:21:34] Email should not be making people feel bad about that. Email is just something that flows. You can’t do all of it. You can’t read everything, you can’t process all of it and you shouldn’t have to. So Hey is different in the sense that like, I get a tenth? A twentieth of the email into my Imbox that I used to get. Maybe it’s even less than that. Maybe it’s it’s a hundredth. Like, I just opened my Imbox this morning, right? I had five new messages in my Imbox. That didn’t used to be a thing. I would open up Gmail in the thing. I’d have like a hundred things. And some of them would be ads, and some of them would be newsletters, and some of them would be super important stuff I had to get back to. But I had to wade through the whole thing to get to inbox zero. So I’d spend like, two hours on that in the morning reading newsletters or other things. Again, I love newsletters. That’s why we built The Feed. I want to read newsletters. I just don’t want to do it all at the same time. The mental task switching, trying to do that at the same time, processing everything in one go? Not good. Not nice.
[00:22:36] So I’ve come around. I used to be a proud inbox zero person, right? The flip side of people being sort of embarrassed about having a lot of unread emails was that people would be really proud when they were like, ah, man, inbox zero! If you search on Twitter, I’m sure you’ll actually find some, like, ah, man! I got inbox zero! And I’ll tweet like the Gmail person on the beach or something is the illustration you get?
[00:23:01] And I realize now that that was bad. That was not a good way to do email and there was nothing to be proud about. Email is a river that flows. What we built is a dam and that dam generates a bunch of energy and it all sinks back. But it allows you to control the flow. You just need a bit of it. That bit is good. And you deal with it. Like, those five emails that hit my inbox this morning? They were actually important. I totally need to get back to most of them. And then a bunch of things hit my Screener and I dealt with that later, and whatever, and that was fine. But inbox zero is not good. It’s not something you should be striving for. Email is a river, while still appreciating that some people’s rivers flow faster than others and maybe there are things we can do to make all of it happen, we’ll see. But that’s the inbox zero spiel.
Jason: [00:23:50] I have such a cool idea for this, I can’t wait to tell you about it Monday. I came up with it last night. I think you’re going to dig it. It’s kind of a good solution, but it’s weird. Because I’m trying to filter everything through it’s got to be a little bit different, here. Versus just a hide button, which is like, that’s not really interesting. So I’m excited to show you Monday.
David: [00:24:09] Migration. So I’ve heard this from a lot of people.
Jason: [00:24:11] Oh, yeah, yeah yeah.
David: [00:24:12] I’ve been on Gmail for like, 16 years or whatever, like I had. How do I got to Hey? All of my email is in Gmail. I had serious arguments with Jason over this. We have to have import out of the box because otherwise no one’s going to switch to it. And this was while I was still using Gmail, and I was thinking like, how can I switch email if all my email are in Gmail. And Jason, thankfully held the line here and no. Hey is a fresh start. And I’m like, this is nonsense. This doesn’t make any sense. And I grudged and I kept trying to find the angles that I was going to convince Jason that he was wrong. And then I switched entirely to Hey. This was around the time when were sort of using both things at the same time. Hey was still buggy enough that occasionally we had to go back to Gmail to use it.
[00:24:53] Then I switched over to Hey full time and I started making not of how often did I go back into the archives? How often did I have to find something? And I did go back into the archives, like once every three to five weeks. I’d go like, oh, this email was actually something… I need to find this email. And I’m like, wow, that is a lot less than I thought. I mean, I literally had, I think, a quarter of a million emails in Gmail and it was so rare that I felt the need to go back that I just found that profoundly interesting and then when we build exporting around Mboxes. So Mbox is this general-purpose format. You can, at any time, export all your emails from Hey into the Mbox format and Gmail does something similar. It’s quite slow if you have a lot of emails and Gmails, it took me like three days to export. But so I exported all these emails out because I wanted to get off Gmail. And now I have them sort of locally on my machine. It’s this… I think it’s 40 gigabytes or something of 16 years of emails. And they’re actually really easy to search like that. The mail app on the Mac, you can just pull in an Mbox account… it chugs for a while if you have 40 gigabytes. But you get it in and you can just search.
[00:26:03] And I’ve done that in the past four months, I think I’ve pulled up maybe three emails. We vastly overestimate, I think, the value of old. We feel like we have to take it with us, and I know people have furious debates about this and they really cherish it and that’s why I think the Mbox format is great. It’s a shoebox where you go, like, these are just things I want to keep. I don’t know if I’m ever going to get back to it. Maybe I’m going to get back to it in 40 years. I’m going to take the shoebox out and go through it. But right now it’s going to go up on the shelf. I just know I have it.
[00:26:33] So Hey is a fresh start. Do you know how often you get a fresh start in email with a new email address that’s empty and not full of everything else? Once every 16 years. That’s the answer. So maybe in 16 years something else is going to come out and you’re going to take your shoeboxes out of Hey. But this is a rare opportunity and I would welcome people to embrace it. Again, pull your stuff out of Gmail or wherever you have it. Put the Mbox file on your desktop so you just know it’s there. It’s going to give you some security that you didn’t throw it all out. But then also give a thought of like, do you actually want 16 years of email around? What does that do to your privacy and your security?
[00:27:10] Would I want someone to get ahold of 16 years of my email? I don’t think so. I probably sent some embarrassing emails over the past 16 years. And not because like… that’s life. That’s what people do. You send a bunch of stuff. Do you want that liability around? And it’s one of the things we’ve been thinking about. It almost made the cut for V1 of Hey, which was this idea of retention. A lot of corporations already have retention rules where email after like a year, unless you specifically set them aside and mark them, they’re just going to be auto deleted. And we thought, do you know what? There’s some interesting ideas here. We should think about how that could actually apply here. Because when I was exporting those 40 gigabytes, I went like, on the one hand this is really cool, I get all my emails. On the other hand, why does Gmail have 16 years of my emails. I don’t feel comfortable with this, so.
Jason: [00:27:53] In fact, when we switched off Gmail for Business, too. Many of us just decided to delete all of our business email.
David: [00:27:59] Yes.
Jason: [00:27:59] I did. I didn’t take any of it with me. It’s all gone. And you know what? If I need something, someone else will have it, and if they don’t have it, it’s gone. Like, that’s just the way it is. I don’t want to keep that all around forever. And also, to your point about the 16 years of personal email. Like, I was… it was funny, I ran into… I found a notebook that I had from college with a bunch of poetry that I’d written back in college. And it’s so fucking embarrassing to read that shit, right now. And it’s like. That’s what your email is from 16 years ago. It’s your poetry from college. Yeah, there might be something in there that’s great, but most of it is fucking embarrassing and you don’t really want it around anymore.
[00:28:34] So yeah, fresh start. Clean moment. Here’s the other… this is kind of, let’s wrap it up here, I guess. This is the other thing that’s wrong with email today, which is why we built the Screener, which is that, if you’ve had the same email address for 16 years or even five or whatever… it’s not yours anymore. The world owns it. It’s everywhere. It’s been bought and sold and traded. It’s been posted online where you don’t want it. You make a donation to one group, they give it away to 15 others. You buy this product, it’s given away to 16 others. Your email address is everywhere, which is why you have to deal with this onslaught of crap all the time. And it’s so wonderful just to draw a line every 16 years. That’s a long time. And say, like, I’m going to start over here.
[00:29:14] It’s like moving into a new house and not bringing all your college furniture with you. It’s like, no, I’m going to buy some new stuff, finally. I finally have the money or have the time or whatever to buy something new and start fresh. It’s hard. There’s sentimental value in a lot of this stuff, but like David said, you can carry that with you. You don’t need to look at it all the time. You can carry it with you so you have it, so you know you have it. So you’re comfortable there. But moving forward, you can start with a clean slate. Forward in new stuff that comes into your old address so you don’t lose the stuff that’s happening right now that might be relevant. But other than that, you just can move forward from a fresh start. It’s a wonderful way. It’s a new path. So, anyway. This was fun. I hope people enjoyed it. I know we didn’t get to all the questions, there were so many questions and, again, we were overwhelmed by the response so far. We’ve never launched anything nearly this exciting before and we’re still recoiling from it all, and hopefully we get back to normal soon, here. But thank you so much for your interest so far. Also looking forward to bringing you some new features for those who use Hey. Some new cool stuff is in the wings when we get back to it, so, thanks so much and we will both see you later.
[00:30:19] Broken By Design by Clip Art plays.
Wailin: [00:30:25] Rework is produced by Shaun Hildner, and me, Wailin Wong. Music for the show is by Clip Art.
Shaun: [00:30:30] There is probably another entire episode worth of Q&A that didn’t make the show so if you’d like to watch the whole thing, you can find it on our YouTube channel at YouTube.com/Basecamp.
Wailin: [00:30:40] You can find show notes for this episode at Rework.fm and we’re on Twitter at @reworkpodcast. You can reach Hey at @heyhey.