What it Looks Like to Process Email with Superhuman

Being an entrepreneur with my hands in a variety of projects, I receive a fair amount of email. There have been points where hundreds of messages hit my inbox in a day and points where that number was less than a hundred, but suffice it to say, my work routine tends to involve processing large amounts of information in my inbox.

Over the years, I’ve tried almost every email app out there, from Outlook and Apple Mail to Sparrow (RIP), Postbox, Mailbox (RIP), Spark, Newton, Astro, Boxer and others. The result is always the same: I end up back in Gmail’s native interface (via Mailplane) because it’s the most intuitive, mouse/trackpad-free email processing experience available—and I there are things I certainly don’t love about Gmail.

Enter Superhuman

About 6 months ago I was granted access to an email app called Superhuman1.

I rarely write about specific software tools, but after trying so many email apps, Superhuman has been the only one to deliver (overdeliver, really) on their promises.

Interestingly, though, information about Superhuman is somewhat elusive for those researching the web. Their acquisition strategy is primarily driven by referrals (their founder wrote an excellent piece2 on product/market fit), you have to pay before you even see the product and there isn’t any publicly available documentation.

What it’s like to use Superhuman

I thought I’d record a few videos of me using Superhuman. The point of these isn’t to show off every feature (which would take a significant amount of time), but to give you a sense of how quickly you can process a huge volume of email.

I recorded two screencasts of me processing my inbox on two separate occasions using two different methods. It’s worth mentioning I’m a serial unsubscriber, so though there is a small amount of unavoidable junk email, most of what’s in my inbox in both screencasts are ‘real’ emails.

Keep an eye out for these details:

  • Speed. This app stays lightening fast no matter what you’re doing or how many messages you’re processing.
  • Whenever you see a dark box pop up, I’m using the “Superhuman command,” which allows you to do a huge number of things, not the least of which are instantly unsubscribe, set reminders, make instant intros, use snippets (canned messages), open attachments, etc.
  • Occasionally a calendar appears in pane in the right side of the window. That is Superhuman intelligently detecting dates within emails and showing me my calendar so I can tell if I’m free for meetings or now.

Ok, let’s look at some time-lapse screencasts of processing hundreds of emails with Superhuman.

Note that the screencasts have been blurred to protect sensitive information.

Batch-processing from the top-down

In this first video, I ‘batch process’ email by first making a pass at my entire ‘standard’ inbox (Superhuman allows you to create multiple smart inboxes) to remove any unimportant or now-irrelevant messages, then categorizing the remaining ones, then processing other inboxes, then actually reading and/or responding to individual messages.

276 emails in 20 minutes with Superhuman

Processing one-at-a-time

In this second video, I look at each message individually and make a decision (as opposed to selecting a batch of them) in my primary inbox, then process other inboxes, then read/respond to messages individually.

In this screencast, I actually sign some documents and schedule some meetings as well and still get through 200 emails in 15 minutes.

200 emails in 15 minutes with superhuman

1. You can check out Superhuman (and request access) here. You can also email me for a referral 🙂2. You should stop everything you’re doing right now and read Rahul Vohra’s First Round Capital piece on product/market fit for Superhuman.

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