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Chapter 4. The Dancing Bear > How Email Programs Fail

How Email Programs Fail

While vendors wage pitched battles in the software markets, users cower in their cubicles, fearful of wandering into no-man's-land. Email vendors, for example, add feature after feature to their checklists while still failing to address the fundamental needs of electronic communications.

New users of email are entranced by their novel ability to communicate directly, simply, and asynchronously with anyone else. But solving the tasks doesn't necessarily solve the user's goals, and that is why emailing remains in its primitive state. The problem lies in the misunderstanding of what email is really used for. Twenty years ago, getting any email was an important event. Because the medium made it clear that the message was important, the message itself wasn't anything special. In fact, it was just a simple, discrete file of plain ASCII characters with no special characteristics or relationships.


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