The obituary for email seems to rear its head every year or so. Articles that proclaim the death of something popular always seem to get clicks, and dozens of startups each year promise to be “email killers.”
- 2016: “Everything must meet its maker, and for email, that time is nigh” by The New York Times
- 2016: “Further Proof That Email Is Dying” by Inc.
- 2016: “Email is dying among mobile’s youngest users” by TechCrunch
- 2015: “Email is Dead, Again” by PC Magazine
- 2015: “A World Where Email No longer Exists” by TechCrunch
- 2014: “The beginning of the end for email” by Fortune
- 2013: “The Death of Email” by Ottenhoff Consulting
- 2012: “Is Email Dead, Dying Or Neither?” by Huffington Post
- 2011: “Are we facing the death of email?” by The Independent
- 2010: “Why Email No Longer Rules” by The Wall Street Journal
- 2009: “9 Reasons E-Mail IS Dead” by PC Magazine
- 2007: “The Death of E-Mail” by Slate
- 2004: “The Death of E-mail” by PC Magazine
- 2002: “The e-mail you know and love is about to vanish” by Slate
… and hundreds of others!
But headlines don’t create reality. Email isn’t dead. Not even close.
What’s certain is that email is evolving for the modern world…
Beyond email, our communications are augmented with SMS, social media, and a plethora of desktop and mobile apps. We now use Snapchat, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger to talk with our friends and family. This might look like a takeover. But if you step into the workplace, email still reigns king.
Modern companies have adopted more specialized tools in the past decade for internal communication. Apps like Slack, Asana, and Trello make it easy for teams to stay on the same page. But what happens when you need to communicate outside your company? For example, with a sales prospect, a job candidate, or your lawyer?
For external communication, the best medium is still email.
Email is the dominant way to communicate externally when your job is building relationships, and working with third parties. That’s why the most powerful CRMs, recruiting tools, and project management apps don’t try to kill email — they deeply integrate with email. We’ve seen this firsthand with Lever, Pipedrive, and Salesloft — all apps built on the Nylas Cloud platform. They are powered by email.
Sales reps don’t close big deals over Facebook Messenger. Technical recruiters don’t do outreach via Snapchat. Lawyers don’t manage their clients with WhatsApp. And marketers don’t connect with customers via Slack. For external communications, the best medium is still email.
The continued dominance of email is the same reason why our desktop email client — Nylas N1 — is taking off across the workplace. With dozens of business-oriented features, it’s one of the best communication tools out there. Plus, it’s open source and a top-ranked project on GitHub.
Email shows no sign of slowing and continues to expand every year. Right now, there’s an estimated 4.35 billion email accounts globally, a number which is expected to grow (PDF) to 5.59 billion by 2019.
As technology progresses, email is going to transition and change with it. Modern mail apps are beginning to introduce automation and intelligence that can surface relevant information when it’s needed most.
Although email began as a person-to-person messaging system, it has now evolved into the database of your life. Email today powers smart travel assistants, scheduling bots, personal finance apps, and the core of sales and marketing. And this expansion is only going to continue. Email of the future will be used much more like the Facebook Graph, providing a new personal data layer for apps and services.
Email is the #1 searched term on Product Hunt. It’s a technology that powers countless businesses across the world every day.
That doesn’t sound like email’s funeral.
Sorry, email is (still) not dead.