Posts from June 2005.

Yahoo Integrates Their Oddpost Acquisition

According to this CNET story, Yahoo! annouced on Monday that they are enhancing their web-based email service so that it functions more like a desktop client; allowing drag/drop functionality, faster message access, enhanced search capabilities, etc..  It seems they are finally taking advantage of the Oddpost acquisition made almost a year ago, disproving the initial theory that Oddpost would be "disappearing into the bowels of corporate America." For more detail read the full article, Yahoo overhauls free Web e-mail service.

Post a Review, Get a Free License

Just a quick reminder – we’re giving free licenses away to anyone who posts a review of ClearContext in a public forum.  For full detail see our previous post, Who Wants a Free ClearContext Inbox Manager License?

*** The free license program has been discontinued. This blog post remains up for reference only

Gates and Ozzie on Email Hell

This Fortune article has a great interview with Bill Gates and new Microsoft CTO Ray Ozzie on how they see email tools evolving.  It’s not hard to guess why we find Ray Ozzie’s comment so intriguing:

"Funneling messages in chronological order into
an in-box is not necessarily the best model for dealing with different
projects, different teams, different issues, while other unrelated
things get intermixed with those. You have no sense of the priorities."

You’re preaching to the choir here, Ray.  Read the rest of the article for Bill’s explanation on how he manages his email account.  Good stuff.

Product Plan: v2.0 and Beyond

We’ve been getting increasingly excited about our future for ClearContext Inbox Manager.  We posted earlier some of the ideas that we’ve been working on and, based largely on user feedback, we have updated plans for our next major release (v2.0) and beyond.  As we have said before, we want to keep our product plans closely aligned with user needs, so we are posting them here for your review and feedback to ensure that we build the best product possible.

We’ve broken this information into a few sections – v2.0, Incremental Features, Future Functionality, & Additional Products:

ClearContext v2.0
The next major release of ClearContext will transform the application from an inbox manager to a fully featured email productivity tool.  The major new functionality in this release will accommodate many user requests, including some key features that we believe will further our goal of becoming the silver bullet of Outlook productivity and management.

New Functionality – Email Workflow Processing
Convert to task – create task items from email messages
Convert to a calendar entry
Defer or “Snooze” a message – messages moved out of inbox for specified period
Unified view of related items (email thread, tasks, calendar entries)
Response Management – auto-notification based on reply status

User Interface/Usability
New View – “Received By” with color-coding and threading
Installed Views – additional downloadable views packaged with installation
AutoAssign functionality integrated with Outlook Rules
Import/Export of ClearContext Settings

Performance Enhancements/Bug Fixes
Prioritization Optimization
Domain Resolution for Exchange Users
Advanced error handling
Topic DDLB UI Enhancement

Incremental Features
These are additional features under development that we plan to release soon after version 2.0 goes out the door.

Multiple machine support – “Master/Slave” mode
ClearContext functionality in other folders
Topic/Priority sharing in groups
Advanced AutoAssign Rule Management UI
Advanced Reply Management
    –    Change in priority after reply
    –    Thread expiration / “unsubscribe” on reply
Topic DDLB Enhancements – Better UI for management of large folder hierarchies

Future Features
These are mainly large new areas of functionality that we will be tackling in future major releases of the software and primarily focus on increased automation of message processing.  We have not definitively prioritized these features and encourage discussion/feedback on which of these areas you feel are most important to address.

IMAP Support
Message Content Analysis for Message Function
    –    AutoAssign Topic, Priority
    –    Suggest What to Do With Message (Convert to Contact, Create Task)
    –    Adaptive Learning / A.I.
Automated Attachment Processing (documents, photos, etc.)   

Additional Products
These are a few more product ideas we have in our longer-term plans. This list has not changed since our last update.  Which of these we focus on will be largely based on user demand.

Corporate/ Exchange Server Integration – Port core Inbox Manager functionality (prioritization, scoring, topics, etc.) to Exchange Server for application on both individual email accounts and on emails/threads across the organization.

Mobile Extension
– Port core Inbox Manager functionality to mobile devices to allow functionality such as downloading of only high-priority messages.

Vertical Customization
– Job-specific customizations for fields such as Sales, Financial Services, Project Management, etc.

Again, user feedback can and does help us refine our product plans, so if you think we should re-align our priorities, we absolutely want to hear it.  You can post feedback here on the weblog or in our forums, or send us a note at support ( at ) clearcontext. com.  We will update the plan and provide more concrete timeframes as we integrate your feedback and continue product development.

Lotus Notes Taking Cues from ClearContext? published an article today previewing upcoming features in the next release of Lotus Notes; code-named "Hannover:"

For example, Hannover will be designed to let people organize and
manage their information based on a specific project or topic across various Notes tools .
Using a demonstration version of the software, Loria showed that if a
person were to click on an e-mail related to a specific issue, he or
she could quickly access all of the correspondence that might have been
received about the topic from others, regardless of the manner in which
those messages were sent. Data could also be organized to reflect
communications with a particular person, or group of people, using the

Good news, Outlook users – ClearContext already allows you to organize and store your received and sent email messages by Topic.  And, as our users know, these topics can be associated with communications with an individual or group of people.  We are currently working on our next major release which will extend this concept to task and calendar items and give you a view of related objects.  We’ll post a Product Plan with more detail shortly.

Smart Money

We had the opportunity to meet with Buzz Bruggeman a couple of weeks ago.  Among the pieces of sage advice that he gave, one stuck out.  He stressed how important it is to take "smart money" when building a startup.  One thing we didn’t get to discuss with him was  our particular approach to fundraising.

It’s no secret that ClearContext is a young company and we’re working hard to turn into a profitable organization.  What has been something of a secret, until this CNET article, is our unique method of bootstrapping.    Online poker winnings might not be the easiest way to fund operations, but the money comes with no strings attached and affords us the opportunity to make decisions that are good for the product and our customers. 

Smart money!

Read High-stakes start-ups for more information.

Forbes: Email Addiction is Good

Forbes magazine posted another analysis of the AOL Email Usage Survey with some additional data from a Cisco study.  The conclusion:

"Give an executive a laptop computer he can use
at home, and you’ll probably get an extra hour of work out of him at
the tail end of the day. Give him a BlackBerry, and he can arrive at
the office caught up on e-mail and ready to attack real work earlier in
the day. Streamlined communications usually lead to faster decisions,
which can result in a more nimble, responsive and competitive company."

How to Lose Friends with Email

Bert has posted a list of things you should do in email if you really want to alienate people.  My favorite is the fourth one down:

"CC everyone you can imagine, especially their superior
– This is especially good when your recipient has slipped up and made a
mistake.  If the mistake is small, do this before you have all the
information so it looks a lot bigger than it really is.  This is also
effective when dealing with confidential or sensitive information."

Carbon copy bloat is the #2 contributor to email overload, right behind spam.  Take Bert’s tips to heart the next time you start to send an email.