You Have Mail, almost

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Carl speaks to Michel Tombroff, CEO of Jack, an app that lets you send messages that arrive instantly but can only be opened at a later time that you decide. You can send a Jack (text, audio, video, etc) that’ll open in one hour, one month, 5 years or even 20 years from now.

(Recorded in London on March 1, 2016)


Topics covered include:

1. How technology shapes the way we communicate

2. The pleasure of waiting in a world of instant gratification

3. Why the power of a message comes from content and timing

4. What message you might send yourself two years from now

5. Why even digital natives love the idea of slower messaging

6. Whether instant messaging is here to stay

7. How delayed messaging could be used for marketing


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Snail mail in action

An amusing item on the BBC news today. Postal workers in Britain have complained of being forced to walk too fast -four miles an hour or 6.44 km/h – and that some have been fired for being too slow. The Royal Mail denies imposing a minimum walking speed but staff insist that the company’s new computer system forces them to rush through their rounds. One postman claimed his schedule did not take into account long driveways, bad weather or hostile dogs.I’ve blogged before about howwalking speedis a cultural barometer but this case underlines the folly of assuming that faster is always better.

What happens when postal workers are in a rush? Well, like everyone else, they make mistakes. Several times a week, we get mail delivered to our house in London that is addressed to the neighbours, or even to people several streets away. And lots of stuff sent to us never arrives. According to one estimate, the Royal Mail loses over a million letters and packages every month.

Something else gets lost when postal workers work race the clock – the banter on the doorstep, the friendly hello in the street, the watching out for the elderly neighbour, thehuman touch. The postman used to be part of the social glue of the community; now he’s just another service-provider hurrying to meet his targets. The idea of that the postman always rings twice now seems like a quaint memory from yesteryear. When our postman delivers a package, he rings only once, and even then you have to sprint to answer. Dilly dally for a few seconds and he’s already gone. Probably to deliver some of our mail to the neighbours…