Loved Hey, but it’s not for me

Hey is full of refreshing ideas. I really enjoyed its launch especially because it got people talking about email again. I was really excited once my invite arrived and gave a good test to the web and mobile app.

Hey brings to email what Ruby on Rails brought to webapp development: convention over configuration.

See, most people nowadays have really bad email practices. Mostly because they either lack the knowledge on how to create a good workflow with email, how to properly organize that medium and/or organization in general (both in and out of email).

Hey is great for these people, because it protects them from chaos. By designing good workflows, the Hey team made it such so that even if you are terrible with email, you will by far have a better experience with Hey than with any other email service.

I don’t consider myself to be in that target audience. Being a productivity freak and a lover of email, I value control and flexibility over any convention or automation of where my emails should go.

I tried to adapt my workflows to Hey, but then its shortcomings become evident soon enough. Either you use it like they plan you would, or you are in for a frustrating experience.

The price tag is a bit steep if you are not in a “first-world country”, but not as bad as some people say it is. The price per month is in the range of other paid email services.

What significantly made it a no-go for me was the lack of integration with a calendar. I’m in the process of abandoning Google. That means I need to have my email, contacts and calendar hosted elsewhere.

For a fraction of the price, Fastmail gives me all of that and more (files and notes), plus everything is supported by standards such as CalDav and WebDav, which I love!

Still, I really enjoyed some ideas Hey introduced and, just for fun, I tried to replicate a few of them in my Fastmail account. It wasn’t hard:

Of course, YMMV depending on your email service. Fastmail has an absolutely amazing filter system and level of customization. (disclaimer: I’m not associated with fastmail nor is this a paid promotion ;))

I’m actually in the processing of writing a short tutorial on how you can re-create some of Hey’s workflows into your current email app. Stay tuned or leave a comment if you want to be notified.

Many new things about Hey are not reproducible because they are tightly tied to their own app, not part of any email protocol. Things such as email notes and snippets.

One funny thing is to see people so happy for having such a great, clean email. But all of them probably said the same when Gmail launched 16 years ago. It’s only after some months and thousands of emails later that you can really test if it works like you think it does 🙂

All in all, if it wasn’t for the price (a bit high for my country) I would recommend it to lots of people, and get one for my wife as well.

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