Yahoo! Follow up

Posted in Big Thought by Harsha on November 1, 2007

As a follow up to my post on Yahoo! new and “improved” email site, I wanted to pen some thoughts on what would be termed as a good email system for me. For me. Now that level of customization seems impossible but follow my thought for a moment. This has intrigued me for a while now.

Gmail is way too bare and Yahoo! is way overpopulated. Isn’t there anything called moderation? These services look like their on some sort of diet! They either have too less of something or too much of something else…

Today’s trend is to open up development to the legions of open source folks to create widegts and apps for “platforms” like Facebook, Myspace etc. I wonder why that cannot be extended into email? (disclaimer: Don’t let any techie fool you into thinking that is is technically impossible or suicidal). For instance, since I am borderline crazy, I’d like to have my email read to me. Or I’d like to track when my email was read (better stats than currently available). Or I’d like to give high priority to certain emails, have them forwarded to my cell phone and if I don’t respond to it within oh, say 5 hours, then the system generates an auto-responder (customized to the recipient) that I am being notified via email, secondary email and wireless phone and that my response is being tracked. I’d do this only for my say my wife or my largest client or someone else that is #1 to either my personal or work life. Or a widget that records every spam address, traces the sending server and reports it to the SPAM commission (is there such an organization?). Or reports it to say Symantec that can surely use this data.

The idea is, if you sat down and thought of a pet peeve you have about your email, you can create a widget out of it. The company that creates these widgets should be able to create millions of such apps that can be distributed through yet another widget that now understands the kinds of things I want tweaked in my email service and suggests it to me. Don’t tell me this is science fiction.

On the business end, how would this company make money? Each widget is downloaded for a nominal amount (yet again collected by a widget). Renewals are also handled by a widget. So think of this business as a widget itself that is just creating one widget after another for even its own services like bill payment, collection, surveys etc. Think of a mini-Microsoft that is just spitting out one widget after another. So for instance, take Microsoft Excel and split it up as widgets. So now I can create a customized Excel version just for myself. I use it for my purposes and maybe even resell it for a fee through an eBay reseller widget?

I think it takes sometime to soak in the decentralized, broken-into-bits thinking because you’d imagine that one needs all these processes in place to churn out software. You don’t. You’d need a credible widget engine at the center that will allow your programmers to generate these little bastards at a super clip. Then you track how each download is doing (guess how?) and generate more widgets. Each project can be completed in a day and ready for production. Build a steady (small) slow stream of widgets and cash in on the recurring sales. Eventually, when batches of ideas (like email, social marketing etc) become entirely widget based, then I think you can a truly enjoy customizable experience online.

You saw it here first.


One Response

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  1. camphor said, on November 21, 2007 at 1:59 am

    Linux works on this – take what you want and leave the rest – principle.
    Problem is that a non-programmer is going to waste a lot of time figuring it out… but I already have (except the read-the-mail) all the other things you listed set up and working.

    Have you tried the filters function in MS Outlook or Thunderbird? Your forwarding would work that way… The priority response would too.


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