Sunday, December 06, 2009

The Vision for reMail

As an entrepreneur, there's one question you get asked a lot: "What's your vision?"

Unfortunately, I don't have a beautiful answer like Larry & Sergey's "Organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful." That's a powerful one. So powerful that Eric Schmidt apparently questioned their sanity when he first heard it.

For reMail, the goal is to solve the two big problems in mobile email:
  1. You're on the way to a meeting and you need to look up where it is, or who you're meeting. This is an email search problem.

  2. You're walking from the meeting room to the bathroom and have 45 seconds to catch up on your new messages. This is a prioritization problem.

These two problems are not orthogonal: You can see prioritization as a special case of search. You're searching for important messages. You can see search as a special case of prioritization: You want to see the important messages related to your current state of mind, as expressed by the query. The solutions aren't as clearly separated as the use cases are. And that's good for reMail.

We started with search because it's easier to solve, and the value is clearer to the user. We've built a pretty successful product - it needs a lot of refinement but it fills a clear need for users. I've built some sketches of prioritization tools in May - reBoxed and something I called "reMail Commander" - but they need a lot more work.

We were so luck to focus entirely on mobile email. Mobile email usage is growing and there's no reason why mobile email usage shouldn't eclipse desktop usage in 5 years or so.

Sounds smart? This decision fell into our lap: In December 2008, we had a meeting with a potential investor (he didn't invest and probably wouldn't like to see his name here). We had plans to do stuff on the web, desktop, and mobile. During that conversation, it became clear to us that on the desktop we'd get killed by Outlook 2010, Postbox, Zimbra, Thunderbird, and many players with deep experience. In webmail, we'd get killed by Gmail Labs. Mobile seemed like the right spot, with lots of whitespace and huge problems. I'm happy that's what we decided to focus our efforts.

Say it with me, all together now: reMail is reimagining mobile email.

Thanks for your time.

3 comments:

zen sky said...

How about: "Organize all my email and make it universally accessible and useful"? :)

Cris

zen sky said...

OK, and speaking of re-imagining, how about some HTML with dat? :)

marc tobias said...

I'm already glad that I have all email offline with me. Especially in other countries where roaming costs are high (or roaming doesn't work at all). OffMaps does the same for maps (but based on OpenStreetMap not Google map tiles).
Looking forward to reMail version 10 (or reMail X) !

marc tobias