Inbox Zero, Gmail, and Mobile Collaboration Tools

This story starts with a strange company that created an ambitious iPhone app simply called “Mailbox.” In their words, “Two years ago, a small team of engineers and designers set out to build the world’s best mobile collaboration tool.” Despite my interest in advanced tools, I typically use stock, boring, popular solutions like the standard Mail app on IOS, Gmail, WordPress, etc. so I couldn’t get my head around why Mailbox would be useful even though it is extremely popular. Then they did something VERY clever. Since they are owned by Dropbox, which is a fantastic product, they offered 1 GB extra storage on Dropbox for installing Mailbox and connecting it to Dropbox. That motivated me to persevere with Mailbox past the learning curve and I fell it love with it. It is fast, beautiful and, as an additional motivation, presents a new picture each day “inbox zero” is reached.


So what is the point of this discussion? The obvious conclusion is that Mailbox is a great way to manage the deluge of email that comes in daily. It supercharges email into a mobile collaboration tool by adding scheduling and categories. The upfront cost is a steep learning curve (although their introduction video doesn’t even have words). More importantly, once a niche technology company begins to develop a presence in its marketplace and gets past the basics of an online presence, social media, and sales automation, it pays to increase exposure by providing something extra that might attract new customers through what I call “surprise and delight.” A few examples include creating a support community, giving away a useful tool or benefit, or providing a low to no cost entry level option. In general, these are investments that help people discover the non-obvious benefits of your products or services and hopefully fall in love with them. These investments may not pay off directly, but create an environment conducive to being in the “right place at the right time” in front of customers for opportunities to develop. By the way, I reached inbox zero again today and loved the great sunset on the beach photo, way to go Mailbox!