Asana Announces New Service To Prevent 'E-mail Overload'
June 28, 2012

Asana Announces New Service To Prevent ‘E-mail Overload’

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

An online collaborative information manager co-founded by former Facebook employees has unveiled a new feature designed to let its users better organize email messages.

The new feature, fittingly dubbed Inbox, was officially announced by San Francisco-based Asana on Wednesday, and according to CNET's Don Reisinger it will allow users of the task-management company's services to better keep abreast of events related to specific projects while avoiding extraneous messages and helping them keep from getting overwhelmed by "e-mail overload."

Furthermore, the latest feature from the firm co-created by social networking veterans Dustin Moskowitz and Justin Rosenstein serves as "a central place for an information worker to aggregate only the relevant and requested files and messages about given projects and share task lists" among other things, Barb Darrow of Gigaom added. Inbox allows users to subscribe or unsubscribe to feeds as needed, allowing them to focus on important information while cutting the fat.

"Email is a 40-year-old technology designed to send electronic letters, yet we rely on it to communicate and coordinate nearly everything about our work. We use it to make requests, ask questions, remind each other what we´re working on, and send documents back and forth in a ping-pong match that never seems to end," Asana's Dan Kaplan said in a blog post announcing Inbox.

"Many of us check email several times throughout every day, trying to stay up to speed and prevent work from slipping through the cracks“¦ [but] because anyone can add anything to our email inbox, it robs us of our sense of control. Email is the system we rely on most to be productive, but it has become a counter-productivity tool," he added. "Inbox connects you to all the new activity and communication about all the work that matters to you. It takes inspiration from the best of email, activity feeds, and other notification systems, but focuses completely on effortless coordination from the ground up."

Kaplan said that there are three primary ways in which Inbox will serve as an enhancement over regular email. First, it allows individuals to store and access all of the important information about a specific project, including dates, summaries, and documents, in a single location. Second, it puts the recipient in control of which subject threads they do and do not wish to subscribe to, allowing them to remove themselves from irrelevant lists at any time with a single mouse-click. Finally, it allows people to view important information more quickly.

“We´re basically eliminating these pieces of work about work that slow teams down and dampen their output, but there´s historically been one area left that we haven´t tackled,” Rosenstein told BetaKit reporter Darrell Etherington on Wednesday. “It´s a huge area, and that´s email. Email is this enormous time-suck, that people spend compulsively hours and hours a day just trying to make sure that they´re up to speed, and that there´s nothing falling through the cracks.”

“We believe, and based on our own experience, this literally replaces more than half of your work email,” he added. “We didn´t bite off the entire thing at once [in terms of replacing email], but we´ve taken a major step forward in upgrading a really huge portion of the email that´s going on today and putting it into a better format. We see Asana as building the first credible post-email solution.”

Inbox is available at no cost for up to 30 users, and costs range from $100 to $800 per month depending upon the number users subscribing to the service, Darrow said.

When asked by Jolie O'Dell of VentureBeat about the inspiration behind the Inbox service, Rosenstein said, "People spend an enormous amount of time in their inboxes, compulsively checking, and it´s slow, distracting, and inefficient. It´s almost a counterproductivity tool.”

When compared to traditional email, he told O'Dell, "You have a very real sense of clarity on what you´ve done, what everyone else is working on, how to get to your milestones, how far away you are from accomplishing your project“¦ It makes you calmer and faster, and it emboldens you to take on even more ambitious projects in the future“¦ It´s really optimized for speed“¦ to get you in and out as much as possible. The amount of time and energy and stress people spend getting to inbox zero“¦ we´ve created a world where inbox zero is the path of least resistance."