Superhuman Email: A Whole New Category of Speed

Tuesday, September 8, 2020
Michael Zunenshine
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Computer scientist, veteran investor, and app creator Rahul Vohra believes Gmail, the world’s most popular email platform, is showing signs of aging. So he, along with Conrad Irwin and Vivek Sodera, decided to ask the big question

“What would Gmail look like if it was built today, not twelve years ago?”

Their answer? Superhuman, a top-shelf emailing platform equipped with lighting-fast speed and organizational capabilities for a hyper-efficient workflow that helps to justify its $30/month price tag. 

The Superhuman universe explained

Speed

All actions within Superhuman follow the 100ms rule, a term coined by Paul Buchheit, the creator of Gmail. Buchheit states every interaction should be faster than 100 milliseconds—the threshold “where interactions feel instantaneous.” 

With Superhuman, you experience the 100ms rule in everything you do—from email to starting up the program to performing searches. 

Superhuman also has plenty of keyboard shortcuts to make actions even faster and offers a 30-minute video consultation with a Superhuman team member to train every new user on the platform. 

Organization and efficiency

While humans may never achieve supernatural intelligence, our machines are getting closer.

Superhuman uses AI to perform email “triage” to intelligently sort out your inbox and offers smart features like the ability to recognize emails that were composed specifically for you by a human, rather than a bot.

Superhuman’s AI also scans for calendar invites and Google Doc notifications to make sure you don’t miss anything important.

Vohra claims these features cut down one’s inbox wading by half the time. 

Other powers

Superhuman has an undo send option which works not just for a prematurely composed email but for any actions made in your inbox, including archiving and starring.

Superhuman also offers conversation snoozing. This feature is useful for when you have no time to deal with something in the present but don’t want to neglect the conversation or totally drop the ball. Like your morning alarm, you set a snooze duration and receive a reminder to resume the email conversation when the snooze is up. 

You know those times you’re waiting to hear back from someone but don’t want to pester too often? Or worse, you’re playing it cool, but run the risk of forgetting altogether? Follow-up reminders are Superhuman’s solution here. The feature lets you stay top-of-mind with your contacts, without jamming their inbox.

Superhuman email comes with read statuses so you can see if someone opened your email, when, and even on what device. The platform also offers email scheduling, for those communications that you want to pen now but aren’t quite ready to send.

It should be noted that as of writing, Superhuman integrates with Gmail and G Suite only. The platform also offers a mobile app, although you’ll likely prefer the desktop version to utilize all those keyboard shortcuts. With Superhuman you can also work offline so you can “be productive anywhere.” 

Networking

Vohra’s previous venture, Rapportive was one of the most popular Gmail add-ons at its time of inception. It put important contact information in a Gmail sidebar to help bridge connections with your network even more efficiently. Like Rapportive, Superhuman delivers insights on your contacts from their social media profile right into the Superhuman dashboard. 

Using LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, you can see a contact’s profile pictures, location, company, and job titles. 

Premium and exclusive

While Superhuman is reimagining what email can be today, its by-invitation-only signup is reminiscent of the beta days of Gmail. 

However, it is the email platform’s unique hosting infrastructure that separates the startup from Google: Zero data is stored on servers, instead, it’s all stored on the web browser itself—an impossibility for Gmail’s gazillion users. 

Less virtual data commuting means hyper-fast interactions and instantaneous search functions. 

So, whereas the aura of exclusivity from the early days of Gmail was a product of limited server space, Superhuman's comes from a requirement to deliver 'superhuman' speed.

The startup’s limited user base makes it a very exclusive product—currently, the platform has a waitlist of over 250,000 people and counting. But Superhuman’s exclusivity isn’t intended as a buzz generator or an elite status symbol, it stems from a desire to provide each customer with an exceptional experience, thus the product scales accordingly. 

Ultimately, Superhuman seeks its home among the serious professional class—people and companies for whom the speed of business and the power of hyper-efficient organization can really make the dollar difference come quarterly reports. 

This is email tailored for business and with several Silicon Valley top dogs like venture capitalist Marc Andreessen and Stripe co-founders, Patrick and John Collison backing up the platform, Superhuman appears to be a good fit. 

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