What is Superhuman
Superhuman is a alternative email client startup. They were recently funded by Andreessen-Horowitz at $33 million series B. Superhuman focuses on productivity. They achieve this through quick actions and keyboard shortcuts as well as user to user features such as undo send, scheduled sending and follow ups.
Superhuman is evangelized by VC’s as luxury email encouraging many to try it. As with any offering, it is a better fit for some than others. A study by Techchrunch enjoyed the product but in the end felt it wasn’t worth the price. In general Superhuman grows more powerful with more traffic to a point. On the other hand, the personnel of Andreessen-Horowitz swear by Superhuman. A common point of pleasure with Superhuman is speed. As a primarily desktop experience, the client responds immediately to keyboard shortcuts. Great value was placed in the pro email tracking feature provided with Superhuman. In the Techcrunch article the author used the feature to discover a source had read their email multiple times yet claimed he had not.
Altogether, Superhuman presents a huge leap forward for email. It has been cited by many that email has been broken for decades. The growth of email users and implementation has far surpassed improvements in its architecture. However, it has very specific limits due to its current architecture.
What is Enveloperty
Enveloperty is the executive email system startup. Enveloperty is bootstrapped to provide maximum accommodation for change so executive email is done right. Like Superhuman, Enveloperty focuses on productivity. Unlike Superhuman, Enveloperty also focuses on infosec. In particular, Enveloperty focuses on defeating phishing and malware spam. Enveloperty achieves this through patent pending dynamic addresses technology and a entirely custom built C++ backend.
With Envelopert’s dynamic email address technology the user gives each and every entity a unique and descriptive email address. Some popular possibilities are gassembly123@, target123@, steam123@. When email comes into that address you know who it is from because they are the only ones who know that address exists. The name of the address describes who should be sending traffic on that channel. So if you get a notice from your ‘CFO’ on your Credit Suisse address, you know it is malware because only Credit Suisse should be emailing you on that channel and the real CFO has their own address to reach you at. Furthermore, you know where the attackers got your address, because only Credit Suisse had that address. Enveloperty has measures in place to prevent enumeration, a attacker trying every combination one at a time. Some unique characters like numbers help greatly in preventing attackers from guessing valid addresses.
For simplicity sake unique addresses are called personas. Personas are the building block of Enveloperty’s organization. A persona describes the sender and thus the subject matter. Furthermore, the user attaches metadata to a persona about priority and previous traffic. Personas are sorted into one of the three default priority folders or a user defined custom folder. The default priority folders are inbox, triage and quarantine. All email goes into triage unless otherwise specified. From there vital email is bumped up into inbox which notifies the user of new email. Or unwanted email is bumped down into quarantine.
Custom folders can be literally anything without illegal characters. This way the user can create their own workflow however they may wish. For example it is popular to have a newsletters folder for all blogs and newsletter content. This way it doesn’t distract the user. But all the content is only a click away should the user have time. Another popular custom folder paradigm is a inbox zero setup. To do, awaiting response, delegated, read later and done/archive can be setup for a seamless inbox zero methodology. Unlike Superhuman, Enveloperty scales indefinitely. This is because Enveloperty can break down inbound email into infinite groupings.
A Literal Different Dimension
On the Superhuman website they say “Superhuman is not just another email client.” Which is exactly the difference between Enveloperty and Superhuman. Superhuman is a superb email client. But Enveloperty is an entire email system. Enveloperty operates in an entirely different dimension than Superhuman. From the point the bits come off the wire Enveloperty has absolute control. This means endless innovation and authority over the domain. Superhuman is a nice client, but is outmatched in technical firepower compared with Enveloperty.
Enveloperty can absorb all of Superhumans non patented features. Enveloperty can hire UI designers to create a gorgeous interface. Enveloperty can use its backend performance boosts to break the mach barrier for responsiveness. Enveloperty can implement contact insights by pulling from social media and CRM’s. Enveloperty can do undo send between Enveloperty users. Enveloperty triage is not powered not by temperamental AI, but by superior user judgement. Read statuses are in all kinds of email systems, which Enveloperty can do as well. Enveloperty can do timed follow up as other systems have done, as well as delayed sending.
Superhuman can’t absorb Enveloperty’s core features. The majority of Enveloperty features revolve around the patent pending dynamic email addresses technology. On top of that, to approach any of the core non patented features of Enveloperty, Superhuman would have to build their own complete server software system complete with mda, mta and datastore. A beast of a problem under normal circumstances, horrific with a company maintaining a active client list and under pressure from investors. Enveloperty has also had a infosec focus since the beginning and the product and company reflect that. Strong infosec is a difficult and expensive value to embed into a company and product. It is a tremendous burden to retroactively embed.
In the end simply switching to any alternative email will benefit users. Superhuman and Enveloperty overlap some in terms of target market. However, the target market for Enveloperty is much wider as it appeals to various infosec needs. Similarly the potential trajectory for Enveloperty is many times greater due to the breadth of the domain control. So for those who are interested in the race for alternative email, we encourage those to remember the turtle and the hair. Enveloperty is playing the long game, that results in a complete upheaval of how email architecture is perceived in its entirety.