I’m a fan of those email productivity hacks or tips, which are passive, which once you do it, you set it and forget it. If you have to do it actively, it’s a habit building thing, it’s not really a trick.
Another trick is, last year, so many new newsletters came in. So what has happened is a lot of emails are circulating around and all somebody needs to send you an email is your email address.
One hack is just create a filter in your Gmail or any inbox, an email service, with the word word unsubscribe, so any email which contains the word unsubscribe, automatically remove it from your inbox and move it to another folder, say Newsletters or Marketing or anything. This is one folder that you will check whenever you want to check not actively so you will only get important emails in your inbox.
Everything which has the word unsubscribe will be moved to this inbox that you can check once in a day or twice in a day. Again, a passive email productive hack just once, set it and forget it. Honestly, this is one logic that we used in the first version of Mailman so when we wanted to figure out “Hey, which are important emails, and which are non important emails?”
We were looking for the “unsubscribe” word in the email. If it has the “unsubscribe” word, we would say that it is not important, If it didn’t have unsubscribe, we would say this is important to you. So this is one of the pieces of logic that we actually built in Mailman, it’s a much more complex logic now, but this is something you can accomplish using just your inbox filters.
One thing: don’t have plans for two years, three years. My biggest learning was either to plan for six weeks, or 60 years, nothing in between and planning for six weeks had been working great for anything that I have done; Building Products, building teams, trying out new marketing ideas.
Six weeks is kind of the sweet spot that I figured out myself, not quarter, not month, six weeks, either plan for six weeks or 60 years, nothing in between just keep an eye on the bigger picture and then do small, small incremental stuff in six weeks
Right now we are two people. We have 1000s of users, mostly thanks to Andrew Wilkinson’s Twitter account, most of the people came in from there. Also, he’s followed by many influencers, so when they signed up, they also tweeted about it and then there was a little bit of flywheel that went on in the first six months. So we got 1000s of users. Right now we are standing just over 7000 users and most of them came from Twitter.
One thing that really didn’t work until now, and I’m being open, and totally honorable about it, on a public platform is the paid marketing. Word of mouth is working, organic reach is working, but paid marketing, whenever we try to be greedy, “hey, we have a funnel, this user journey works, let’s spend $10,000 on this and get more customers”. That traffic is still not converting well.
A few dollars are coming in and free users are coming in hundreds, so I’ll tell you one thing, you do not agree that your inbox is a problem, unless I convince you that it is a problem, so that is not a problem that you are already aware of. Going through your inbox feels like work and overflowing inbox means more productivity, more work, it feels like something is happening, which more or less is like running on a treadmill, unless your job is just to manage your email inbox.
This awareness is something that is missing, so people are not looking for a solution for this problem. They’re not looking to solve the problem of their overflowing inbox, the majority of them, some are, not most of them. So you have to first tell them that this is a problem.
People search for something like how do I block these spammers? How do I block these lottery tickets emails? But Mailman is not just a tool to block spammers. It is a tool to give you a more productive workflow with your inbox. So this kind of people do sign up, but because they were looking for something transactional, they can sign up, they can block something, they can be on their way, not something which is not transactional, but it’s like building a new relationship with your inbox.
That is a disconnect, which is not working well with the paid traffic but whenever somebody tweets about us, because they write their journey, and they’re experienced with the tweet, that converts fantastic. I mean, we have seen our 20% conversions from just free signup to paid campaign customers just because they came from a recommendation.
So now we are actually saying, “What if we do not do any paid advertising at all? What if we just incentivize our users to refer more users with their stories?” This is one of the very recent learnings and this is one of those things that we are doing this quarter.
I wrote this one word in my Twitter bio, which is “serial maker” that I love making stuff. I am something that I like to call “parallel maker”. I mean, I need to have multiple things going on to keep me occupied and while I’m doing all of this stuff, I am always coming up with new ideas.
Right now, I’m not able to execute all of those ideas on my own, because I do not have enough resources, I do not have enough people that I’m working with that I can execute those ideas, and it’s not that I want to execute those ideas, I just want to see those ideas executed, even if failed, I just want to put those ideas to rest.
Over the last few years, that list has grown too big; it’s like 15 plus ideas now. Success to me looks like I’m able to execute a few of them, using some of the developers, by hiring subcontractors, I’m able to put some of those ideas to rest just by executing them and seeing if they’re working or not.
Success to me would look like if an idea comes up, the time that it takes me to execute that idea and put it to rest either up or down, either throw away or pursue it. Not personally, but this idea should be pursued, so in that context, that would be success to me.
Over the last few years, that gap is actually shortening. I mean, earlier, I used to spend months and months thinking about ideas and not doing anything because I was not able to right now if I have some ideas, 10% of them, I’m actually able to get it executed and see if there is any potential in it or not.
But I want to be there where at least 80% of the ideas I can actually put to test, see if it is worth pursuing or not see Elon Musk, crazy idea, he gets somebody to work and if it is dead, he throws it away, if it is working, he has a new company. I do not want to own all of these companies, but just want to see those executions happen.
100 days, I mean, 100 I think is a good enough time that you can do anything with the idea. 100 is like the top upper limit, if something is still not working after 100 days, if there’s zero hope of positive possibility. I would just think practically, and I would move on.
You’re just doing one thing, just taking this idea and either saying this is a hit or this is a miss, just doing this. This is for somebody who is just looking for ideas and trying to do something, I would say instead of waiting for a long period of time just to find the perfect idea, do 10 ideas, as I say, nine out of 10 startups fail. So the only way to make a successful startup is to do 10 startups because one of them will succeed. So the whole point is how quickly you do those 10 startups.
Mohit Mamoria, who describes himself as a “serial maker”, is the CEO of Mailman, an email management solution that minimizes interruptions and increases productivity.
Mohit’s a serial entrepreneur writing software since he was 11 years old and founded his first company when he was still in college.