How many unread emails do you have?
I have over 14,000. 🤯 And the funny part is that I’ll never read most of them.
Then there is the small minority that I did read, but subsequently marked as unread under the impression that I might return later. Most of those are also lost to oblivion.
Email as a medium is interesting. After text messaging and phone calls, it’s likely the best way to get a hold of someone. Yet we’re all completely resigned to the fact that the vast majority of things in our inboxes are completely irrelevant. It’s largely a bunch of meaningless notifications, marketing messages, and spam.
Given that email is one way that you can ask someone a question, we’ve thought about this medium a lot at Vectr. Email is dead simple. You type in an address, subject, your message, and send. That’s it. But the issue of clutter is a serious headwind. So this led us to a question. What if emails disappeared? If you get an email and decide to do nothing after glancing at the sending address and subject line, it just vanishes after, say, a week. How liberating would that be?
This is one way to think about ephemerality on Vectr. When you ask a question, you will receive one or more answers. If you read an answer, and decide not to discard or save it, it vanishes after a few days. Similarly, when someone else asks a question, it will show up in your knowledge exchange. If someone else answers it before you, it starts a timer for you. If you decide to do nothing, that question will vanish for you after a few days.
The idea is to ensure that you’re knowledge exchange is always relevant and up to date. There’s no way for it to become cluttered over time due to inaction.
We aren’t the first to think of this. Photos and videos disappear on Snapchat and Instagram Stories after viewing. There are messaging apps that do the same. But I think we might be the the first to apply it to knowledge sharing and productivity.
Our world is awash with distraction. So we hope we can’t help take a step in the opposite direction
Jeremy & Jake