Greg Thinks Things #8
I didn’t think I would get to write to you this week because the internet gods were against me for most of it. My fibre internet slowed to a crawl and meant that I had to connect to my phone just to sync files to Dropbox or send an email. Not a huge deal normally because we are all out the house, but when I am working from home it is a disaster.
Of course after then, come the dance of calling customer support (with long delays) and explaining everything 20 times. This is worse if you are somewhat educated in these things and can call them out on their lies and half-truths. My personal favourite was that he wouldn’t admit there was a speed problem until I had done a speed test on a PC in safe mode!
I gave them a bit of slack because I am sure pressures being felt on every business in the current situation. Nevertheless, three telephone calls, and an engineer visit has sorted the issue, and I am back to 300mbps+ and writing to you all once again. Thankfully I have things to write about again, events are happening, news is coming out that isn’t about this dam virus and I can feel a sense of normality coming.
That is unless we are just becoming used to the way things are, and this is now the new normal. Either way I feel the pressure easing, do you feel it too? If not, why not — drop me an email and let me know I would love to hear from you.
Hey, what’s wrong with your email
What is there to say that already hasn’t been covered about the new email service from Basecamp. I have been using it for a couple of weeks now, having made sure I got hold of invites for me and a couple of people I wanted to take a look at it. After initially rejecting it, I have grown to like it and feel like it will make a difference to my email interactions. So if you want to reach out to me, you can always email me firstname.lastname@example.org, especially if you’re using the service too, as I would love to know your thoughts.
This is without discussing the Apple App Store issue that are combined with the launch story, which I don’t really want to comment on because this has been said a hundred times and will continue to be head about every so often for ever more. Some fo this is a valid concern, some of this is marketing and it’s nearly impossible to find the divide, but there has been a resolution for the time being, so we will wait to see what happens.
There are two things that have really changed the way I use my email and made finding thins so much easier. Hey allows you to rename the subject of emails, not something you would think revolutionary but it makes a bit of difference. I get loads of emails with no subject to being able to rename them makes it look and feel much better — this is completely on your side and doesn’t mess up anything for the other person that emailed you.
The second is being able to combine threads. I have never found an email client that gets this right and often end up with disjointed emails on the same subject. Or just followups that the other person didn’t reply to and instead sent a new email. In Hey, you can select any emails chains you wish and combine them all together. Agin this is completely on your side, so you can combine those from different people but about the same thing and nothing messes up the other end.
This is without considering all the features like reply later, tracking blocks and notification customisations. For a great overview check out Matt Birchler’s video below.
There is so much wrong with email, but there is nothing better. Every time someone tries to come up with something better it become tied down to payments, or locked to services. Hey is both of those things, but still open for people to contact you the same as normal. To me, this service is not perfect, but shows all the signs of making email better. It might not be forever, but at the minute, it’s great.
WWDC and iOS14
Now is not the time to start talking about features, there is enough coverage out there for you to find out all the details. What is relevant is the experience and the way in which Apple competed their keynote and it was interesting to say the least.
Thankfully for my inner nerd instead of cancelling the event, Apple took the whole event online. WWDC is usually packed full of developers and press, and tickets to be able to attend the headline keynote are well thought after. People packed into a theatre obviously isn’t possible at the moment, so attending as out, but the video portion took on a completely new feel.
The whole keynote was prerecorded, with special effects, cleaver editing and a really nice feel. It managed to keep Apples usual flair and in jokes but got straight to the point. I enjoyed it much more and it was easier for my wife to suffer through it due to not feeling pushed out. Ultimately the event felt more approachable for almost everyone, it was much easier to understand and didn’t get dragged off talking about retail or revue income.
If I could choose, id like Apple to keep the more streamlined appeal, but also with some in person feel. What that looks like I am not sure, but it helped not to have to pause after every announcement for whooping in the audience. Developers have also felt more able to code alongside an event you can pause and rewind, so I think everyone will benefit from the lessons learnt this year.
This should be a lesson to all companies needing to switch their business model, it is Vitaly important you keep your business moving but maintain your personality. Moving things online doesn’t mean you need to miss out on the personal touch.
This is the first time in a long time I have had something effortless to talk about. Two things that have been large in my life and felt like they matter to me again. Things are starting to come back, but I have a feeling they will never be back to normal. Unfortunately I spend no time traveling and no time in my office, so I am listening almost no podcasts.
I am not alone either, it's great to not have to travel all the time and commute to meetings all the time, but I feel I am missing a certain amount of information by not listening to my beloved podcasts. The only time I can grab an episode or two is while running, and that doesn’t happen very often since becoming much more inclined to take my bike out.
Listening seems to have shifted to an at home experience for some, but I just can’t make it stick. If I try to do things whilst listening then I don’t pay nearly as much attention and often missing large sections. Ultimately, I just don’t feel as engrossed as I am if I listen while driving. No great loss, but I do feel less informed than normal — perhaps that’s a good thing.
What with all the Hey email drama going on, someone pointed out a short book by the creators. There are several points in ReWork that seem eerily predicted by this book, and almost feel as if it has been slightly engineered. Whatever your feelings it’s a fairly small book, gives a great insight to a tech company thinking a bit different from most.
Before I go
Thank you to all those that have signed up for a membership, or contributed through Ko-fi. It means a lot that I can begin to move towards a self sutaining business model, but there is a bit more to do so I can do more with the site and newsletter. So if you will allow a quick plug before I go, this is it.
Stay safe, take care of yourself, see you soon.