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Taylor Record
August 31, 2017

How to Lead the Inbox Revolution: An Interview with FLOW-e

Meet Monica. She's a former member of betahaus | Sofia and Head of Marketing for Kanbanize and FLOW-e. Kanbanize is software for lean project management based on the Kanban method. In the past two years, the organization has tripled in size and taken on their next challenge -- bringing efficiency to email through a new product called FLOW-e. We asked Monica to share why her team created FLOW-e, tips on how to organize emails, and insight into which apps can help.

Kanbanize's mission is to bring simplicity, productivity and efficiency to the way people work. Can you tell us more about the email problem that led your team to create FLOW-e?

"We waste over 657 hours of our time each year on answering and sorting emails. I don’t know how that sounds to you, but I can think of 657 better things to do with my time. But, I just can’t bid adieu to my email account, or in my case, accounts...

We waste over 657 hours of our time each year on answering and sorting emails. I don’t know how that sounds to you, but I can think of 657 better things to do with my time.

It seems that a lot of people share this position. The key phrase “drowning in email” generates over 40,000 Google search results. Ironically, “addicted to email” generates 943,000 results in the same search engine. A study conducted by the Radicati Group of Palo Alto posits that email is and will remain the predominant form of communication in the business space where the stakes are highest. A person working in an office most likely receives between 50 and 100 individual emails per day while CEOs, directors of companies and social influencers get twice as much. Professionals have developed the habit of fanatically checking their inbox on average around 54 times a day.

Within the Kanbanize team, we asked ourselves the question - how can we transform email into a vehicle of success and efficiency that makes our day-to-day lives easier rather than more challenging?"

With so many productivity and collaboration tools, teams can experience app overload in pursuit of productivity. What does FLOW-e do differently than conventional web apps to help teams save time?

"Built on top of Gmail and Office 365/Outlook, Flow-E visualizes the contents of your original inbox and helps you build a workflow process around the incoming emails. The flexible stages of the process visually distribute emails among different sections of your view based on their status. Everything is part of a streamlined workflow.

You don’t just have a calendar, you have an ongoing chronological timeline of your upcoming meetings for the day. You can add todos onto email communication instead of moving back and forth between external task management tools and your inbox. Use your inbox not just as a receiver of tasks and messages, but also as a place from which you can track and delegate among your team members.

By uniting two functionalities -- tracking email communication and managing the tasks related to it on your team -- the users ability to delegate can both forward tasks to the appropriate person on their team, but also tracks their progress status as they move towards completion."

By uniting two functionalities -- tracking email communication and managing the tasks related to it on your team -- the users ability to delegate can both forward tasks to the appropriate person on their team, but also tracks their progress status as they move towards completion.

Besides FLOW-e, what new web apps would you recommend to teams trying to get their inboxes in order?

"There are small number of web apps that have joined the conversation surrounding the prolific email problem. The ones we find most interesting are Dragapp (newly launched), ActiveInbox (works only with Gmail), and Sanebox (works with Gmail and Yahoo). These solutions work as “skins” for existing email clients and can help you organize your inbox."

Can you share some advice on small changes people can make with their email habits to become more productive?

"On the personal blog of Andreas Klinger, an Austrian startup guy and CTO of Product Hunt, we found a noteworthy article titled “Don’t Drown in Email: How to Use Gmail More Efficiently”. In Klinger’s article, emails lived in separate compartments in his general Gmail account. There were separate inboxes based on the status of the email. He used the following structure and policies:

  • GTD - Getting things done
  • An easy to manage, usually empty inbox on the left
  • All “todos” in the first box
  • All emails “awaiting a reply” in the second
  • All “delegated” emails in the third
  • All emails related to meetings, flights, etc easy to find in the fourth

Even before Klinger’s piece, we saw references to the plea for an email charter for email users put together by Jane Wulf and the curator of TED, Chris Anderson. The charter itself is made up of 16 codes of conduct that senders and receivers of email should follow. Suggestions include: respecting recipients time, choosing clear subject lines, keeping communications short, asking concise questions, etc. By reviewing the email charter and integrating it into your own email etiquette, you can start to create a culture of more respectful emailing."

 

Want to learn more about how to organize emails with FLOW-E? If you are part of a team working in betahaus | berlin, head to their website now for a 1 Year Free Trial of FLOW-e!

Found the content interesting? Want to join Monica and other entrepreneurs at betahaus? See how here

Some office spaces have a one-size-fits-all approach, but that's not really our style. The reason no two betahaus locations look the same is because they’re locally designed. And we give our Team Space members this same opportunity to customize their space.

Choose a room with a view of the city or one on the ground floor with easy access to the garden. Change the lighting fixture or bring your own bookshelf. We want teams to be able to white label, decorate, and really make the space their own if they want to.

And if you’re really looking to customize, Team HQs allow teams to collaborate with our architects and coworking team to create a space that is completely bespoke. Whether it’s additional meeting rooms, unconventional seating, or a yoga room, we apply our 10 years of experience in building functional workspace to your creative vision to create something that’s just right.


Probably the biggest benefit of coworking is community and events. Now we know it may not be the first thing you’re looking for as you seek out your next office space, but bear with us.

Imagine using your lunch breaks to chat with someone in your industry. Meeting freelance developers at after-work beers. Networking with investors at BETAPITCH. Pitching at our weekly betabreakfast and getting support and feedback on your new ideas.

betahaus has spent the last 10 years cultivating a community of people who we genuinely like working with. And when you join, your team will become a part of it, too.

" People matter! Community was always what we were all about. ‘’

In June we launched #PeopleInbeta - our monthly blog post series in which our Content Manager - Vihra interviewed teams and freelancers from the betahaus community to present the variety of creatives we have in ‘haus, to understand their missions and get some useful advice for our audience. We talked on topics such as sustainability (with PlanA) , decentralized digital identity (with JOLOCOM), curated music experiences (with Bespoke Sounds), freelance photography (with Sara Herrlander), full-stack development (with Obst Digital), design (with LAUDO) and much more.

Interview with LAUDO at betahaus | Neukölln
Interview with Obst.Digital at betahaus | Neukölln

"The Summer is the best time to host Backyard sessions and BBQ’s’’

In the summer, we launched a couple of new events in Neukölln like Freelancers, Unite!, The Backyard Sessions and My friend’s BBQ. 

Freelancers, Unite! developed as our productive coworking session with freelancers from in and outside the ‘haus. Once a month, we picked an important freelance topic (such as taxes, time-management, etc) and invited experts to give us insights on the topic. We saw so many new faces and had the chance to come back closer to where we started from - the freelance, grassroots culture. 

Freelancers, Unite! at betahaus | Neukölln

Another event, which started in July (and turned out to be our favourite events) were The Backyard Sessions. Organised by our queen of Neukölln - Robbin – the Backyard Sessions are our creative evenings with live music jams, movie screenings and cocktails. 

The Backyard Sessions at basement.berlin
Movie Screening at basement.berlin

This last event was hilarious because for quite some time, nobody knew exactly who organised it or invited them. The friend was throwing a BBQ for the community in the garden and this led to all our members joining and staying after for a beer or two with us.

‘’My favourite moment this year was the second friends bbq which was actually cancelled because of the rain forecast. But despite the bad weather, people show up and it turned into a super nice intimate evening with Elizaveta and Paul giving a garden concert.’’ - Robbin (Community Manager, betahaus)

''In July, it was great how the casual after-work BBQ turned into an impromptu acoustic blues jam session with Elizavetta Barsegova and Paul, who have the voice of an angel. Actually, all of the My Friend's BBQ's and Backyard Sessions were AWESOME.’’
- Paige (Head of Marketing, betahaus) 

The Garden at betahaus | Neukölln
My Friend's BBQ at betahaus | Neukölln



"As a coworking space, you have to give stage to important topics.’’

This year we released a new event format in Kreuzberg called ‘’The betaSalon’’. It's an open panel discussion which aims to give stage to important topics and give free speech on them. The fist one we did on the EU elections, last month we talked about changemakers, but our favourite one for this season stays ‘’Mother + Founder’’ where we partnered with FemGems podcast and recorded a live podcast episode for them having Madeleine Gummer von Mohl (betahaus co-founder), Kristine Zeller (co-creater of ooshi period underwear) and Luisa Hoffman on the stage.

betaSalon at betahaus | Kreuzberg

"We should fight for a more human-centered tech development’’

Every September, our co-founders take part in the Techfestival. in Copenhagen, spending a few days disconnecting from the daily life and focusing on creating a better, more human-centered tech future. This year the think tank which included our co-founders Madeleine and Max came up with the TechPledge. The Tech Pledge was made to emphasize the need for a new direction in tech. Similar to the Hippocratic oath for doctors, the Tech Pledge is a promise to make tech a force for good and ensure responsible and sustainable tech leadership. It’s a commitment to driving a new direction in technology.

Techfestival. 2019 in Copenhagen


"Startups are transforming European football as we know it.’’

One of the most exciting projects for betahausX this year (which is also continuing in 2020) is their new startup challenge called The Werder Lab - a global startup competition that aims to reimagine the way clubs like Werder work with athletes, fans and partners.



"You should leave time for the things you love most’’ 

This year couldn’t end without us having our favourite events - the end-of-the-year holiday party and the BETAPITCH Global Finals. On the 6th of December we saw the 9 finalists of the regional BETAPITCH competitions pitching in front of our jury. Congrats to Troy from Hamburg for winning the big prize.

We finished the year at our Holiday Party celebrating anything and everything at betahaus | Neukölln together with our members, friends of friends and our favourite artists from Passiflora LIVE, Tapete and Kotoe.

Love at The betahaus Holiday Party 2019


Thank you for being with us in 2019. It's been a crazy big year for us and it wouldn't been possible without your support, trust and the hard work of our amazing team. Have an amazing holiday time and we'll see you again in 2020.

With love,
betahaus

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