Basecamp is doing something with email, called HEY. They have a glorious domain name for it too, hey.com. I’m intrigued, because although I’m not an active Basecamp user at the moment, I have been, and they’re doing a lot of things right.

So I sent them an email, as requested.


I’m intrigued by what you’ll be, HEY. You want me (well, everyone, but I feel included in that, so, hey, why not?) to tell you a story about email. Love, hate, both – that’s what you said, although I get the feeling you’re in the “email is broken” crowd. What purpose would you have otherwise?

Thing is, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with email. It’s not broken, we don’t need to fix it.

It’s the people that are the problem. The culprit, if you will.

Email was good when it was text only. It became great when we got HTML emails. Being able to link text is so much better than typing out the URL in the middle of everything, throwing the reader off. I know, I ran newsletters back then. I’ve been running newsletter off and on ever since.

All major issues we have with email is outside of the protocol, the technical implementation, even how it is displayed on various devices. Because as anyone who’s been trying to do a visually stunning newsletter knows, there are some really shitty email clients out there. Outlook and Gmail, I’m looking at you.

But any problems we have with email is our fault. Yes, you and me, who for some reason wants to send web pages via email. What’s next, texting a car?

Email is all right. It’s explicitly personal, and any tracking that’s going on is within your control if you’re concerned about that. It speaks to me, email, and apparently it speaks to you too, because you’re going to do something with it.

HEY, don’t ruin email.

I hope you won’t, and I’m looking forward to find out what, in fact, you are.

Thord D. Hedengren

We’ll see how it goes. Read more about HEY on their website.