This is a niche issue, but honestly, I am wracked with immobilizing fear!
The Mailbox app is a “cult favorite,” if one can say that about something as unsexy as an app created to help people manage their email: its parent company was acquired by Dropbox for $100 million in 2013, and it drew almost 400,000 pre-registered users before it even launched. Why?
Well, Mailbox had—or, has for 20 more days, HELP!!!!—a very efficient and instinctive functionality: you could swipe right, varying your pressure, to either archive or delete a message; you could swipe left to snooze a message, setting a timer for when you would see it again. It also synced immediately and had a working search function, two things that most email apps (and Apple’s nightmarish native email app) do not do. But most importantly, Mailbox shared an attitude about email with its customer base, i.e. the attitude that email is a GODDAMN NIGHTMARE and there is no reason to INTERFACE with it unless the point is to MAKE ALL THE EMAILS GO AWAY.
And Mailbox really delivered. I mean, truly—and there’s an equivalent of this in every field—lots of things are demoralizing about working on the internet, but for me, none quite so much as checking your email right up till midnight and then waking up early in the morning to see a roiling, nightmarish, 65-email-deep stew that is mostly comprised of bullshit that you need to swipe away as soon as possible, and with Mailbox, could do so while the coffee’s on.
But then, last December, the Mailbox people dropped a bomb:
When the Mailbox team joined Dropbox in 2013, we shared a passion for simplifying the way people work together. And solving the email problem seemed like a strong complement to the challenges Dropbox was already tackling.
But as we deepened our focus on collaboration, we realized there’s only so much an email app can do to fundamentally fix email. We’ve come to believe that the best way for us to improve people’s productivity going forward is to streamline the workflows that generate so much email in the first place.
In other words: “We realized that email is fucking horrible no matter how well you manage it.” I look forward to whatever they do next to “streamline the workflows that generate so much email in the first place,” which I assume means...permanently disable the grid. Fine with me!
The demise comes February 26. Till then, there’s this every morning:
I am comforted very slightly only by knowing I am not alone. Two of my coworkers, Clover Hope and Bobby Finger, are also with me in my plight. I asked Clover how she was dealing with the transition: “I couldn’t even deal with the countdown,” she said. “I had to delete the app and cope.” She has started to use CloudMagic, which she says has a good design and a similar swipe feature. Then I asked Bobby:
Isn’t this all disgusting? But actually, what are we going to do? CloudMagic? Start being bad at email again? Please like and share if the Mailbox app counting down to its own extinction is the single most destabilizing factor in your life right now!
Contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image via screengrab/half-Photoshop