by Bob Walsh
Tuesday of this week I didn’t read e-mail. I had to get up at an incredibly early hour to catch a flight to meet with the people on a project in another city then flew back and collapsed into bed. Wednesday morning when I got all my e-mail in one pass, it hit me: Email has become an Evil Thing and it’s high time micro-ISV’s find a way to kill this monster once and for all.
Out of 214 emails in my Inbox:
- Spam caught by Cloudmark and sent to spam hell folder: 160
- Spam Cloudmark missed: 12
- Emails from companies I pay money to telling me yes, they charged my credit card or got the payment, or are shipping what they said they’d ship: 2
- Emails from companies I’ve bought something from in the past, and they want to sell me something now: 15
- Email from tech media (CNet, O’Reilly, techRepublic, ZDNET, FTP Conferences, etc.) that had a smidgen of possibly valuable information, but really were about selling me something: 13
- Meaningless news alerts: 11 (plus 6 I’ve already Outlook ruled out of my inbox)
- Self inflicted Google alerts: 3
- Pointless alerts from AT&T integrated Voicemail that force you to log into their crappy system to get your Voicemail or just listen to it on the phone anyway: 3
- TypePad spam comment alert: 1
- Even more alerts, this time re politics (okay, I admit it, I’m a politics junkie): 3
- Real actual business email: 4
- Real actual email from family members: 1
Anything that works 5 out of 214 times is horribly, horribly broken and should be shot and put out of its misery.
What’s the bullet? RSS. But even with RSS in every blog and a few web sites, even though IE7 has RSS baked in, even though Nick Bradbury (a former micro-ISV) has created a great RSS reader, FeedDemon, I feel in my bones there’s a world of RSS applications and services micro-ISVs should be out there creating. Here’s several:
- I want a micro-ISV written add-in for Outlook that would let me turn any particular stream of e-mail from a given source into RSS that I can control and manage the way I want.
- I want a micro-ISV written service that takes all of my alert this and alerts that from CNN, CNet, the Washington Post, the New York Times and my local TV station and dumps the 90% of these alerts that mean absolutely nothing to me, aggregates into a single RSS feed, the 9% that might be useful, and actually sends me an e-mail I will want to read for the 1 in 100 of these alerts that really matter to me.
- I want a micro-ISV service that I’ll pay gladly for each month that extracts and summarizes from all the various tech media e-mails and technical blogs I like to follow out there just the stuff I really actually want and should read.
- I want a micro-ISV application or Web 2.0 site where I can reliably outsource control of who gets in or not into my InBox. This comes in two parts: an app that lets me pick and choose who gets screened and an RSS feed summarizing and linking to those emails.
- I want a micro-ISV to make a million dollars by offering a service that makes it so easy for companies to create custom RSS feeds like CastingWords.com does today to tell me the status of my order that every online vendor uses them instead of email.
- I want to see Amazon start using RSS and SSE to feed me their micro-content in a much more useful way.
- And I want every spammer to be chained to a wooden block and have their guts pulled out with a metal claw William Wallace-style and left for rats and vermin to eat.
Okay, the last is a little much to ask, but we can hope, can’t we?