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How Jason Fried wants to change your perception of email with Hey

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Email is the cornerstone of the current work culture. Even after companies like Slack have tried to eradicate it, email continues to be a large part in the day to day office life.

A few players such as Gmail, Outlook, and Yahoo mail have dominated the email service business for a long time. Then there are some privacy-focused email providers such as Proton Mail and Tutanota with a few million users.

All email services largely behave in a similar manner in terms of how you receive an email and who can email you. This whole process has introduced the stress of reading and replying to emails in daily workflow.

Jason Fried, the co-founder of project management and communication platform Basecamp, wanted to change that — so he created Hey. A couple of months after the service’s debut, it has tens of thousands of paying customers; 200,000 people have tried it — including me. But I have to say there’s some way to go before I might think about making Hey my primary personal email.

I spoke with Fried about what the customers like and dislike so far, how he wants to bring a philosophical change to the way we use email, and what’s in store for Hey in the coming months.

A history of Hey

In February 2020, Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, another co-founder of Basecamp, announced that the company was launching a unique email service called Hey that aimed to give you more control over your email.

 

The firm asked users to write in with their experiences and pain points with email, in order to score an invite to try the new service. Later, in June, the company launched the service for $99 a year.