Email’s a treasure, it deserves better. So we redesigned it around an original, new philosophy called The HEY Way. Our motivations are revealed in the manifesto below.
Email turned against you
For years, email’s been considered a solved problem. But it’s not. Today, email is more cluttered than ever, more overwhelming than ever, more frustrating than ever. And it’s getting worse.
Your email is full of other people’s demands on your time and attention. Fielding their communication becomes your obligation. And there hasn’t been a whole lot you can do about it. That’s a bad deal for you.
In fact, email’s long been a lopsided deal. From anyone being able to email you without your consent, to marketers being able to track your behavior, to email providers selling ads against your inbox, it’s become you vs. them.
It's time to push back. You deserve control over who can email you. You deserve to read your email without a marketer looking over your shoulder. You deserve an ad-free Imbox. And you deserve a company, and a product, with interests aligned with yours.
That’s us, that’s HEY.
They let it slide
The last time people got excited about email was sixteen years ago when Google introduced Gmail in 2004. Think about everything that’s changed in that time. Then think about email. It’s like it stood still, or even slipped back.
Back then, Gmail was a fresh take. The other big players responded by updating their offerings, but then the market went cold. Excitement fizzled. Change came slowly, and mostly on the margins. Why fight massive incumbents like Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Apple, and Verizon who command more than 80% of the global email market?
Because they let email down. Email’s simply too fundamental — and too important — to accept the choices we’ve been given. Someone’s got to breathe new life, and bring new ideas to the table again.
We’ve taken on that challenge.
We’re fixated on improving email
Modern email software is thick with features, but thin on philosophy. Everyone’s left to fend for themselves with no guiding principles. People just don’t know how to get better at email, and existing software isn’t helping.
What’s missing is a fresh approach born from a different perspective. A completely new philosophy of email. HEY’s got it. With a novel design, integrated workflows, and a crisp point of view, HEY helps you solve email.
HEY is available on the web, Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android. Use HEY, and follow The HEY Way, and you’re guaranteed to level-up. You’ll control your email, it won’t control you.
You email every day — you might as well master it. Few things are as satisfying as finally cracking the code and getting good at something you’ve been struggling with forever.
The HEY Way Manifesto
Below you’ll find a list of the things we hold dear. And the premises we reject. HEY is built on these foundational ideals. While the email industry has been struck with a blank stare for years, HEY has a clear point of view. Here’s what we believe, here’s what matters to us.
A platform, not a client
To make significant, meaningful upgrades to email, you need to build your own platform. That’s why HEY isn’t an app that sits on top of Gmail, Outlook, iCloud, Yahoo, etc. HEY is a full email service provider. You don’t use HEY to check your Gmail account, you use HEY to check your HEY account. It’s its own platform, and it’s all you’ll need.
No consent, no attention
It's crazy that anyone who gets ahold of your email address can grab your attention whenever they choose. The minute they send their email, it's at the top of your inbox, in your face, buzzing your pocket or your wrist. No more. With HEY, no one lands in your Inbox until you’ve explicitly granted them permission. And if you don’t, you’ll never hear from them again. Simple.
Get less email
Some apps promise to help you speed through your email. But that’s like treating the symptoms, not the cause. The only way to get ahead with email is to get less email. HEY solves that. First, at the source (you decide who can email you). And second, on the surface (by separating the stuff you really need to see from everything else). It's a profound shift, and it’s profoundly effective. You’ll never go back to the pre-HEY-days.
Workflows, not workarounds
Marking things unread so you don’t forget to reply later. Starring or flagging something to mean one of a dozen different things. Writing drafts to yourself because you have no where else to keep notes. The days of doing one thing to mean another are over. Hacky, roundabout workflows be gone. HEY gives you proper workflows for the way people email today.
People’s first instinct is to bring their entire email history with them wherever they switch to a new email service. But that’s a major liability, and 99% of it is dead weight. HEY doesn’t import email from other services because we believe a fresh start is a blessing, not a curse. A moment to cut ties with the past and start again. A new house with new furniture, not one packed with all your old crappy stuff from college.
Their mess isn’t your mess
Email’s forever benefited the sender over the receiver. If someone emails you first, they get to name the thread (and it’s usually non-descriptive like "Yo" or "Update" or "Idea"). If someone sends you four separate threads about the same thing, you’re stuck with a mess. Nonsense. HEY lets you rename threads so they make sense. Or merge multiple threads into one. HEY gives you the power to cleanup the mess, even if you didn't start it.
Convention over configuration
You shouldn’t have to write programmatic if/then statements, regex expressions, or jump through settings screens and configuration hoops to get your email to do what you want it to do. HEY takes a more humanistic approach with built-in workflows, simple options, natural organization, and pre-defined locations that put the right mail in the right place.
HI not AI
Email’s better with a human at the helm. That’s you. You’re better at deciding where things go, what your intentions are, and how you want things set up. The machines have a lot of learning to do before they'll be able to second-guess whether you actually wanted to see that email, whether it was a receipt or a newsletter, and even what you should be writing someone. At HEY, it's human intelligence over artificial intelligence. HI > AI.
You don’t need to read everything
Read/unread is such a fundamental part of email that you’d have to be crazy to touch it. We touched it. In HEY, only certain types of emails are read or unread. The rest just exist. You don’t need to mark a newsletter, marketing email, or a shipment confirmation as read. In fact, most emails shouldn’t come with an obligation to read them, deal with them, or track their state. They’re just information, they aren’t conversations.
Just say flow
Rather than encourage people to keep cleaning up their inbox, or attempting to achieve inbox zero, HEY takes advantage of time. You can’t get to inbox zero in HEY. You can’t even archive emails in HEY. When you read an email, it just moves down, and, eventually, moves off when newer emails come and take its place. In HEY, emails just flow, they don't pile up. Let go.
Surface, don’t dig
Email’s a hassle because you’re constantly digging for things. Digging to find that thread, or the file attachment, or that account number in the middle of that long conversation. HEY brings things to the surface. See files without having to find emails first. "Clip" important parts of emails for instant access anytime. Even add sticky notes to the Inbox so stuff that should stay top of mind, is top of mind.
You don’t need to be told when to check your email. That’s why all push notifications are off by default in HEY. Check your email when you want, not when we tell you to. But sometimes you absolutely want to know when certain people email you. With HEY you can selectively flip notifications on for certain people, or even entire threads. This way when you do get a push from HEY, you’ll know it’s one that really matters to you.
Did you know simply opening an email can share all sorts of your personal data with the original sender? Without you knowing? When an email spy tracker is hidden in an email, they can tell the sender how often you open their email, your general physical location, even the brand of phone you have. We think that’s a violation of your privacy, so HEY blocks nearly all attempts to track your email behavior. Read more about email spy tracking.
A new take on signatures
You know those emails where the signature is longer than the content itself? Emails loaded with an endcap of legalese, or a stack of social network images? That’s gotta change. So we’re committing to being the change we want to see. While HEY doesn’t support signatures today, shortly we’ll be introducing a new, brief take on a place to show your name, title, number, pronouns, degrees, or whatever you want, within a Tweet-like amount of space.
Our lives are full of numbers telling us we’re behind. You have 14 unread emails, 32 new instant messages, and you missed 17 tweets. That’s enough. That’s why there are no unread counts in HEY. No numbers telling you how many emails are in your inbox. If there are 8 unread emails, we just show you the emails - we don’t punctuate them with a number. Email isn’t a game, you don’t need to keep score.
Pay with money, not privacy
There are lots of “free” email services out there, but free email costs you one of most valuable things you have - your privacy and your personal information. We’re not interested in your personal data. It’s always yours, never ours. We simply charge a flat, all‑inclusive $99/year fee for HEY. That makes our business work without having to sell your data, advertise to you, or otherwise engage in unscrupulous marketing tactics. We make a great product, you pay a reasonable price for it — that’s fair for everyone.
Email is dominated by big tech. In the US, Gmail owns more than 50% of the market. Add Verizon (which controls Yahoo Mail and AOL Mail) and Microsoft’s Outlook/Hotmail, and you’re looking at ~80%. That’s atrocious. A vibrant internet depends on a strong counter to big tech and its obsession with mining private data and targeting personal ads. HEY is the alternative to Big Tech operated email. It’s an opportunity for people to wiggle free from Big Tech’s stranglehold, and support a vibrant, responsible independent.
One of the reasons people are afraid to switch email providers is because they’re not sure if the new provider will stick around. Will they flame out? Will they sell out? Even companies like Google kill products all the time, leaving their customers hanging. We don’t do that. At Basecamp (the makers of HEY), we’re committed to supporting our products until the end of the internet. With full independence, plus a 21-year track record, we’re here for the long haul. We’ll do right by you.
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