Subject: RE: A Game (Email - Kelly)
From: "Larry M. Augustin" <>
Date: Fri, 14 Apr 2006 11:41:52 -0700

A general comment on this whole thread: role-based email systems have been
tried previously.  There were at least two companies I know of funded around
2002 with this pitch.  One of them in particular implemented this as plugins
on Outlook/Exchange.  (No flames - it has a huge installed base, and if you
want to enable the features described you can implement them on the client
and server sides via Outlook and Exchange plugins and users don't need to
change email clients or server to get the features.  That's an easy test

The one in particular I'm thinking of even had the ability for someone
sending email to view the roles of the recipient and tag the message as it
was sent with the role, helping to improve the role-based filtering at the

Unfortunately, they weren't able to attract enough customers, and as far as
I know both are now out of business.

One of the issues seems to be that there are too many people that dislike
automatic inbox filtering.  Maybe it just hasn't been done right, but a lot
of people seem to object to a piece of software automatically rooting around
in their inbox.

Another issue is selling "improved productivity" is just hard.  "Buy this
and you'll be more efficient" is much less compelling than "buy this and
you'll be able to do something you weren't able to do before."  BTW,
companies buy anti-spam and anti-virus filters not because of improved
productivity, but because of legal and other risks.


Larry M. Augustin
+1.650.966.1759 / Phone | +1.415.609.3315 / Mobile | / Blog

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Don Marti []
> Sent: Friday, April 14, 2006 10:13 AM
> To: Anderson, Kelly
> Cc:
> Subject: Re: A Game (Email - Kelly)
> begin Anderson, Kelly quotation of Fri, Apr 14, 2006 at 10:40:56AM -0600:
> > I didn't explain myself well enough. Imagine a combo box (why a combo
> > box? Because it's easy to imagine) containing "Father", "Programmer",
> > "Student", "Homeowners Association", etc. When you pick "Homeowners
> > Association" the emails you see are sorted in such a way that emails
> > from the other board members of your homeowners association are at the
> > top of the list. When you pick "Programmer", emails to the XP list are
> > featured more prominently, etc.
> >
> > This is very different than just +ing the priority.
> So...the CMS, trouble ticket or CRM system just
> sent out a bunch of mail that may or may not need my
> attention any more.  Can this client talk back to that
> server and ask "what's the stuff that someone else has
> already handled that I can delete" or "what's are now
> higher-priority items since I haven't answered them"
> when I'm in "working" role?
> --
> Don Marti