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Music + Technology + Random Nonsense from the Music Industry by Ethan Kaplan, VP Product, Live Nation

E-mail and the Problem

[Regarding The Holy Grail: How to Outsource the Inbox and Never Check Email Again | The Blog of Author Tim Ferriss]

If there’s one thing that I really don’t want, its to appear all big-headed executive, but after reading this article, I’m more and more certain that I need to change and adjust my e-mail habits.

I make it a point to respond to each e-mail that I get, if it warrants it, and to do so in a timely fashion. However, within the last two months, my ability to do so has been outpaced by the shear volume of e-mails coming my way. Its almost hard to delegate to the extent I need to, because I can’t get my head above water.

One thing that I’ve noticed is that the linear fashion that e-mail and indeed all web-based information comes in is not condusive to prioritization in any way. I can’t understand why no e-mail client, and no RSS client has yet implemented, seamlessly, some bayesian clustering algorithm. It’d auto-group threads of messages and group those threads according to implicit thematics. You would be able to weight whether to group more by sender, by subject, by lexical analysis, etc.

The same would apply to RSS.

Better yet, how nice would it be to have an Apple-ish interface, attached so some fine AI based communication software that managed not only e-mail, but RSS info, web history, chat transcripts and random notes.

You’d think, that with the power of a small super computer on my desk, I’d have this by now. The interface of The Brain came close to an ideal, but someone needs to apple-fy it.

So there’s my challenge. Someone with the UI chops of Delicious Software, with the data analysis/organization chops of OmniFocus/iGTD, and integration of software to form a nice universal CRM type solution.

That is my challenge. Help me manage my information.

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3 Responses

  1. Ethan,

    Excellent post. I agree with pretty much everything you write. I’ve been working in this area for a few years now, and it’s amazing how seemingly simple and yet incredibly complex these challenges are. The real challenge is accomplishing these goals in a way that a) actually works with close to 100% accuracty and b) does so in a user-friendly way that fits within a natural information flow. It’s tough to find the happy medium between how broad a slice of information you tackle and how deep you go with automation. I’ve written more on my blog here: http://www.emaildashboard.com/2008/01/my-email-and-in.html

  2. Mark Evans says:

    Ethan,

    If someone comes up with a brilliant idea, let me know because I’m the same camp – way too much email and not enough time to process it effectively.

  3. Ethan, I’d love to chat more about this. We at Omni hear you :) -Ethan