Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Information Overload Hacks, Part 3

In my previous posts on this topic, I discussed the information overload the wired worker deals with, and some of the causes of the overload. I wrote that part 3 would be an overview of a possible solution to one component of the problem- email overload.

Well, the plan has changed- the main point of Part Three will be about how there is no Part Three.

For each blog entry I post, there’s five or six that never make it past draft- I realize halfway through the writing that the topic is not actually that interesting, not germane to the subject of this blog, or I’m just not doing a very good job of expressing myself. Well, Part Three is different- it’s the first time I’ve spiked a post because it was apparently too good.

I’m not referring to its literary merit, or even its pure entertainment or informational value- I’m talking about the basic idea. I was planning to outline a possible software solution to the problem of email overload; a combination of technology and design that, if built, could substantially help humans manage the flood of email they receive every day.

I ran an overview of the idea past a couple of people who are much smarter than I am- and they convinced me that there is a real possibility to develop some intellectual property from my concept- property that I shouldn’t be freely distributing on my blog. I had intended the exercise to be a thought experiment to demonstrate how a fresh review of an entrenched problem can lead to novel solutions. These smart people pointed out that there are people who start businesses and launch companies on similar premises, and that I’d be a dope not to at least explore that avenue (especially given some of the funded companies out there with no discernible utility, let alone business plan).

Given my schedule (and my full time job) it’s highly unlikely that I would be able to make much progress on it on my own- but maybe some Red Bull fueled fit of wireframing will lead to something I can hand off for development. If productized, my idea won’t change the world- but it might make email just a little bit better to use, and it would certainly make my life easier- and I may even end up answering that email you sent me ten months ago.

1 comment:

Nathan said...

Actually, any solution that takes a real bite out of email overload will definitely change the world, much for the better. This one problem is responsible for so much misery that any step forward is well worth doing (and if you can make money out of it, good for you!)

Nathan Zeldes