Subject: Re: A Game (Email - Kelly)
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <turnbull@sk.tsukuba.ac.jp>
Date: Fri, 14 Apr 2006 19:04:35 +0900

>>>>> "Kelly" == Kelly Anderson <Anderson> writes:

    Kelly> Email Clients Are a Stagnant Pool of Mediocrity

I gotta echo Tom's call for identifying the audience.

I'm pretty happy with mine (and will be happier when I switch back to
VM).  Mutt users tend to be vocally happy with theirs.  MH users (by
which I mean to include those who use various front ends over the MH
back end---does anybody use MH from the command line?) seem happy
enough with theirs.

I have to conclude you are speaking about MUAs that target Them
Lusers.  OK, where's your marketing plan to break into that market?
The actual features don't terribly much matter, you know.  It's the
features you can convince the users that they need, and that their
current MUAs don't have.  If your audience is sophisticated, like FSB,
actually describing the features can hook them.  But unsophisticated
users want to know how this is going to get them in touch with their
friends and families, not to mention reassured that it will make them
happy.  http://www.jwz.org/doc/groupware.html is a crude but effective
description.

Also, those users mostly don't "buy" productivity apps.  They come
with the OS, or as part of a suite.  Do you have hooks for the
OS/suite vendors?  If not, how are the investors going to get their
dividends?

    Kelly> The modified SpamAssassin has not only negative weighting
    Kelly> features, but also positive weighting features that
    Kelly> indicate that an email may be more important than an
    Kelly> average email. It also computes a continuous scale of email
    Kelly> desirability, not a binary "is spam/is not spam"
    Kelly> decision. By being integrated with the email client, rather
    Kelly> than running on some distant server, the email can be
    Kelly> constantly refiltered, thus utilizing the CPU productively
    Kelly> for one of our most important productivity applications.

We already have this, though.  It's called "stock SpamAssassin".  This
isn't a very good pitch in that respect.  You should focus on the
configuration of SpamAssassin to take advantage of these features.

And that's the hard part.  OK, the Father and Employee roles as
described are easy enough to implement.  Something like:

    Role Wizard: Configuring Father Role ...

        Child Name:  Shin-chan  Email:  buriburi@zaemon.net  Priority: +20
        [ Add another child ]

        Wife Name:  Samantha    Email:  bwitch@cbs.com       Priority: +15
        [ Add another wife ]

But you can do that easily with name/address filters, etc, too.  It's
just not obvious from your pitch that there's really anything there
that's new.  What's going to be new and interesting is content
filtering ("this would interest my kids, I should forward it") etc.

Also autoconfiguration --- auto-elevate names, addresses, keywords,
etc found in messages that you read to the end, bonus points for saved
messages or reread messages, auto-deprecate for messages flushed
without reading, etc.  Slogan: "The MUA that reads your mind!"

To be honest, I wouldn't pick up on this without a demo.  Do you have
one?  If not, you should get one.

-- 
Graduate School of Systems and Information Engineering   University of Tsukuba
http://turnbull.sk.tsukuba.ac.jp/        Tennodai 1-1-1 Tsukuba 305-8573 JAPAN
        Economics of Information Communication and Computation Systems
          Experimental Economics, Microeconomic Theory, Game Theory