If You’re Serious About Email Ditch Mailbox For Boxer, Launching Today

Boxer, Taskbox, Austin startup, Mailbox app, sxsw, relaunch, startup launch

Earlier this year the startup world was abuzz about the brand new Mailbox app. You remember, the one that made you download a countdown timer, and for most, wait several days before getting your hands on the app. However, people who get high volumes of email, quickly saw that Mailbox was a hype machine. The hype got so loud they quickly got acquired by the team at DropBox.

While all that was going on, tens of thousands of people descended upon Austin, Texas, for the annual Woodstock of startups, SXSW Interactive. It was there, at the Capital Factory and then on one of the startup stages, we found Taskbox. 

boxericonsmWe got to hear about the meat and potatoes baked into Taskbox during a pitch session focused on startups that were immune to the series A crunch. All the startups in that pitch session had an investment ask at the end of their decks, but we were just longing for a really good email app designed for people that actually get email.

Taskbox proved to be that app. In fact, the Taskbox team accelerated at Capital Factory which just happens to be founded by Joshua Baer, who made most of his fortune in–you guessed it–email.

After downloading, I discovered immediately that the team behind Taskbox had loaded the app with easy to use features, an appealing UX/UI, and had actually considered people who received a lot of email.

I receive anywhere from 350-500 fresh email messages a day that can’t be marked as spam. If I factor in “spam,” we’re closer to 1000.



So Andrew Eye tipped me off a few weeks ago. He told me that during SXSW he had met  Xoogler Jason Shellen. Shellen has a very strong background having worked with Google, AOL, and his own startup Brizzly. During their time together at SXSW, Shellen told Eye that he was working on something new called Boxer. Boxer had even simpler, easy to understand features. The Taskbox team quickly acquired Boxer and brought Shellen on as head of product.


Shellen helped the Taskbox team revamp the UI by flattening it and adding some features that I’m really excited about, like the ability to “like” an email. This feature will let the writer know “Hey, I’m not ignoring you.” Sometimes that’s all you need to say in an email: message received and understood! It’s like a 10-4 button.

Other features include:

  • Powerful swipe gestures to help triage, respond, and manage on-the-go
  • Inline profile images & helpful contact cards
  • Works with all your existing email accounts (including Gmail, Exchange, Yahoo and more)
  • Dropbox integration for adding files to email from the cloud
  • Adds elements of social tools to email to make email more fun and like-able again

While the Taskbox team had a great product to start with, in reforming and launching under the Boxer name, they’re going t take email to yet another level. They also added more heavyweights to their founding dream team. Adam Cianfichi. formerly with Accuvant and Ciphent, and Ian Ragsdale who worked with Baer on OtherInbox and also Skylist, round out the new Boxer team. Andrew is the CEO, Adam heads up Design, Ian runs Engineering, and Jason runs Product.

The app is gesture based (yes like Mailbox), but what you can do with the gestures is infinitely more powerful. You can swipe to earmark an email for a set later date, you can archive it, like it, use a quick response or add it to the “to do” list. They’ve also integrated a favorites list and the ability to call up all email exchanges between you and another person with a click of a button. It’s almost like a mobile email based CRM.

Currently, Boxer is only available for iOS. Find out more here at getboxer.com

Now read: Am I the only one on earth who thinks Mailbox Sucks?


Email Is Ripe For A Disruption Is It Coming From HotMail & Microsoft?

Hotmail,Gmail,Microsoft,email disruption,Mailbox app,TaskBoxBack in the mid 90’s you were too cool for school if you were using a free web based email service. Hotmail  had surged to the top of the email providers that were called “web based” then, now of course it’s cloud based.  Back in 1997 Microsoft acquired Hotmail for $400 million (that’s about a billion in 2013 dollars).

Around the same time there were other providers out there like Yahoo, Rocketmail and a host of quick up and comers but none had the market dominance of Hotmail.

In 2004 the tables were turned when Google introduced their GMail platform. The attraction was it’s clean look and virtually unlimited space. We’re all too familiar with the ticker that shows just how much data those Google servers are handling.

Now as everyone turns to mobile, it’s been a pretty safe assumption that the next email disruptor would be of the mobile variety. Mailbox app came out with a lot of thunder, despite the fact that I hated it. I like an app called TaskBox but it hasn’t had the big red carpet marketing push that Mailbox had. It was actually their great marketing stunt, making people wait in line, that attracted a ton of attention, a ton of early users and then a purchase by the folks at DropBox.

There have been a few other subtle email disruptions that have come up in the past few years like Sparrow but nothing has disrupted email the way that GMail did nearly a decade ago.

Until now?

This is how Hotmail looked in the 90's (image: Business Insider)

This is how Hotmail looked in the 90’s (image: Business Insider)

Microsoft has just redone their cloud based email platforms. They’ve given a new look to all the various email brands available in the Microsoft cloud. Today, by going over to hotmail.com you can sign up for a brand new Hotmail email adress, a Microsoft live account or Microsoft’s new outlook.com service which was the big thing Microsoft was pushing at SXSW this year.

Gone is the clunky style 1990’s interface that plagued Hotmail and made them look decades behind when it came to competing with GMail. At first glance most users to the new Hotmail may get confused and think they are looking at GMail.

The new interface is extremely clean and the ads have been moved to non-obtrusive boxes on the right side of the page.  Microsoft has also incorporated contacts, calendar and their cloud based Sky Drive as part of the new outlook.com/Hotmail experience.

It would take a lot for me to move off the totally integrated Google cloud that I’ve been chained too for the last few years. My contacts, calendar and mail have been managed by Google for at least the last 4 years. I’ve also been using Google Docs and now Google Drive since they were first introduced. It had actually been a solid 4 years that I hadn’t’ had a Microsoft product on any of my Mac computers (I recently purchased the latest version of Office for Mac).

One thing that could be a game changer for me is how long I can tolerate the newest “compose” screen for GMail. While you can still “temporarily” go back to the original compose style, the new style is extremely hard to manage when you’re trying to get through your GMail as fast as possible.

On iOS it seems that Microsoft accounts integrate just as easily as GMail accounts, however I haven’t used a native Microsoft mail app, nor have I even looked to see if one exists.

For now I’ve got the Hotmail account set up and we will see how it goes. All of my primary mail accounts are still GMail though.

What about you? Add your comment below.

Now Read:

So Am I The Only One On Earth Who Thinks Mailbox Sucks?


Vindicated: Business Insider’s Nicholas Carlson Deleted Mailbox Too

Mailbox app,Mailbox,startup,app review, business insider, nicholas carlsonSome say I went on a tirade yesterday morning when I published this story, “Am I The Only One On Earth Who Thinks Mailbox Sucks”. Despite putting up some pretty good arguments I received some hate mail and hate tweets, after all I was downing the latest app phenomena that all the hipsters absolutely love… Hipsters that don’t receive any real volume of email.

In that piece I couldn’t figure out how some of my more established journalistic brethren who must get more email than me, could actually stand the Mailbox app. I receive anywhere from 300-500 emails per day. I usually receive 500 emails each day Monday-Wednesday and then it tapers off to the much more manageable 300 per day.

My biggest problem with the Mailbox app was batch deleting and folders. Carlson, a writer for Business Insider, found the exact same thing to be problematic.

“There’s one reason why it didn’t work for me: Mailbox makes you deal with one email at a time. You have to open or swipe (to the left, further to the left, to the right, or further to the right) each individual email. I get several hundred emails a day. ” Carlson wrote. 

He goes into the same detail that I do about batch deleting:

When I go through my email – which I do about 3 times per day – I go into the iPhone’s default mail app, tap “Edit” on the top right, and then quickly tap every email I don’t need to ever read (most of them) and then tap the bright red “archive” button.

It feels like one decision, an answer to a single question: “Are there any emails I need to see?”

Then I go back over the emails that remain and respond to the ones that need immediate attention. I flag the rest – emails I need to respond to, but not right away. I always get to them eventually.

When I’m doing email from my desktop, it’s the same process, but even better, because in Gmail I can shift-click to select multiple emails to archive or delete at once.

So I’m still not sure how much email you need to receive to get enjoyment out of the Mailbox app but if you figure it out please let me know in comments or on Twitter.

Read all of Carlson’s Business Insider Post here.

See my post from yesterday here


Am I The Only One On Earth Who Thinks Mailbox Sucks?

Mailbox app,iPhone,gmail,startupsI stood in line to get the latest app phenomena mailbox. I’m an early adopter so I was able to get into the app about 36 hours after my text message saying it was officially ready. I went through the process of downloading the app that showed me how many people were behind me and how many were in front of me. When I actually got into the Mailbox app there were over half a million people behind me.

To that, the creators of Mailbox get a big fat well played. They created an ear piercing buzz and created hype that will never be replicated quit that way again.

I’ve heard and read so many stories about how impressed people are with mailbox. A couple of my journalist friends seem to love it, even ones with much larger publications than nibletz. I can’t seem to figure that out one bit.

I also just read this piece on Business Insider, it’s a love letter from Cablevision’s PR Guy Jim Maiella, who’s been using email just as long as I have. Again I can’t figure this out.

I would assume that some of my journalist friends at larger publications than nibletz receive more email than I do. Perhaps I’m wrong, but for the record on a week day I get between 300-500 new emails on my main account.

I try to separate accounts where my important account is one address and my account for PR folks to bombard is another, but I’m talking about my “important” account, that’s where I receive 300-500 emails per day.

I can’t see how Mailbox was designed for anyone who gets more than a handful of messages a day, or anyone who’s corporate account is with Gmail.

So let’s go over why I think Mailbox sucks.

long pressing and swiping right can take entirely too long for people who receive a high volume of messages.

Quick deletion

All of the promotional mentions before Mailbox was released said that it would allow you to delete email quickly. I’d say a good 90% of my emails can be deleted by just reading the preview line of the email.

To delete an email on Mailbox you need to long press to the right. This may seem cool and hipster but it takes a lot longer to long press to the right than it does to simply batch check a bunch of emails in the GMail app or the native iOS app and then hit trash.

There’s also the issue of the wrong swipe. I tried the first few days to use the long press and swipe deletion method but every once in a while I swiped too fast telling the app to take an entirely different course of action.

While later is a great feature, Mailbox doesn’t bring through the rest of your folders, again troublesome for someone who is more than a casual emailer

Folders Suck

When I installed the Mailbox app it added a few cool delegation folders to my GMail account. The later folder is the one I liked the best.

What it didn’t do is allow me to take the actual useful emails that I needed to keep and put them into the folders they need to go into. I found myself going to inbox 0 and then trying to keep up with Mailbox so I could use it but it wasn’t a pleasant experience to say the least.

The first two days using Mailbox I tried to keep emails I needed to delegate until the end of the night and then go back to the computer and delegate them accordingly but that just ended up being one more headache.

I’m definitely not one of those “email haters”. I love email I would much rather someone email or text me than actually talk on the phone. Talking on the phone takes too long and requires a secondary form of input if the person is talking about something important. For instance if I take a phone call from a business colleague about business, I’m most likely taking a note on a computer, phone or iPad so email takes out an entire step.

I was under the impression that Mailbox would improve my efficiency… not so much.

I’m still waiting for an email app that will allow me to one click and create a calendar item in Google Calendar and than click back to the contact, record and keep them all together. Yes I’m looking for a GMail CRM.

After this posting though, Mailbox is going into my trash box.