Who sends you email?

My Gmail account gets two kinds of emails – emails from brands and cold emails from people I don’t know.

This wasn’t the case when I first set up my Gmail account 12 years ago. A key part of the value proposition back then was to hear from friends and family without having to worry about storage. Now, that happens almost entirely on Whatsapp.

As a user, I can feel a difference in my connection with my gmail account. This is especially the case because I can contrast it to my [at] rohanrajiv.com email account – the default “reply to” email account for this blog. I look forward to every email on that account and it fills me with nostalgia about what email used to be. It is a dying breed.

Of my two remaining use cases (brands, cold emails), I suspect brands is the dominant use cases for most people.

That, then, brings forth a few interesting questions – would email, the product, be different if it was designed for communication with brands? For example, is there value in the “promotions” tab? Is there a better way to display sequenced offers? Could subscriptions (the more personal version of emails from brands) be given a separate, more personal area? Could ads be redesigned to better suit this new medium?

Email still remains one of my favorite mediums for communication. But, the design of most personal email clients seems to reflect use cases from a decade ago. It may be time for a rethink.