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Smarter Email

The benefits of having push email on your blackberry or iphone are simple and obvious.

But that comes with a price. It means that people expect you to read their email sooner than later. It also means it’s tempting to read email when you deserve or need some downtime. Or it can be distracting at best. Read an email that makes your mind wander and even if you don’t send off a reply pronto it will keep your mind busy. Not effecient and not healthy.

I want smarter email.

Here are a few things I want:

0. I want a “weekend setting” mode on my iphone or blackberry. Let me define a group that I can receive. All other email would be available on my desktop or webmail. In my case “weekend” mode would include family members, close friends, CEOs of our portfolio companies and probably some fellow board members.

1. Vacation mode would be a subset of the weekend setting mode.

2. Traveling is a killer for keeping up to date with email. I was in back to back meetings in SF last week all the way until my red eye flight back home. I probably responded to 10% of the inbound email. But I missed some important messages until late the next day. That’s not helptful. I need an alert for urgent messages. But I should define who is urgent not the sender. That’s key.

3. I don’t have a good system for following up on old email. I know some people use the task manager on Outlook but that doesn’t work for me. I need something much better.

4. I also need some kind of system to remind me if I don’t hear back after I send someone an important email. Maybe they missed it because they don’t have smart email either :) I would ping them again if I remembered to do that.

5. Email needs to also solve the never ending problem of scheduling meetings. The constant back and forth right now with various parties just sucks. It seems silly that no one has nailed this one yet.

I’m probably listing off things that have already been solved but I don’t know about or it doesn’t work for me yet. But I’m all ears!