Emails are an essential part of our work life. But it can also be the most inefficient task to complete. Over the years, countless companies have created various applications to help people manage emails better such as apps like Sparrow and Thunderbird.
Now, a team of eight people, from different walks of life and countries, have come together to create a simple email client for the Windows platform. Mailbird’s founders hail from the States, Europe and Asia and are looking to bring productivity and simplicity to emails.
e27 sat down with Andrea Loubier to find out more about the application that is currently in private beta. Andrea handles marketing and customer development for Mailbird and is currently based out of Bali, Indonesia.
What got you started on Mailbird?
Michael and our other co-founder Michael Olsen were familiar with Sparrow for Mac, but primarily use Windows realising nothing like Mailbird exists for Windows. After simply talking to people about email and hearing multiple statements like “I want email to….”, “I wish email could….”, and “I hate _____ about email”, it was clear to take email towards the direction of productivity and simplicity.
Tell us about the team behind Mailbird
We all met through mutual friends, and after the idea for this new idea for email was set in motion, we starting forming the team which worked out well through our networks and mutual friends. We are based out of Indonesia, but have a wonderful multi-cultural team from Europe and America as well. There are a total of eight awesomely talented people on the Mailbird team. We have:
1) Andrea (me) – I decided I was ready to find something a little more fulfilling, so quit my job and moved to Indonesia. I will always consider Indonesia my home. I lived in Jakarta for nine years, headed to the States for college, stayed there 10 years and decided it was time to move back home to Indonesia and gain some international business experience, and to work on a project I feel passionate about.
I love meeting people and learing from them and having lived in many places around the world, I value the relationships built with those that truly inspire me. I am the communicator and friendly face behind Mailbird. In essence I handle team cohesiveness and customer development =)
I was so excited about the Mailbird project and improving email communication when first discussing it with Michael Bodekaer, whom I met through our mutual friend Ken (#7 below). I am quite the foodie and addicted to anything spicy. I believe that working in an international team develops the best products that help people around the world. Hope we can make some magic with Mailbird, and help them communicate better and stay productive with an innovative email concept.
2) Michael #2, Michael Olsen. We just call him Olsen. He handles the main machine, the back end developer, the guy behind the scenes that makes the main engine of Mailbird function and work with the clean app interface.
3) Michael Bodekaer – our business guy who has experience with past tech startup projects with managing, launching, fast coding and product execution, he loves extreme sports like kite surfing, and is quite a dancer (or so he thinks, hehe…).
4) Abe Ranardo – Front End, WPF Developer for Mailbird, won a 24 hour Hackathon competition. He is always singing and knows how to have fun while and handles executing updates and improvements to Mailbird. He has a great educational background from the Bandung Institute of Technology, studying Informatics Engineering. Here, he developed stronger software building capabilities, and took on more freelance projects. Abe also has experience in web and interactive applications. Design is another love of his, and he is continuously learning and and developing in this field. He always strives to learn new things, while building great relationships along the way.
5) Mohammad Dimas – Our other front end developer rock star! Graduated from Informatics Engineering ITB in July 2011. He connected with Michael and shared his passion is in creating great looking, functional software. Dimas loves to swim, also won a Hackathon event like Abe. As one of the eight Mailbird cofounders, Dimas wanted to pursue entrepreneurship in his field of expertise.
6) Carolina Mera – A self-motivated and hard-working developer with a bachelors in Computer Science Engineering and Industrial Engineering, specialised in Logistics and Management of IT. She keeps our team on track and is an awesome coder as well. She is addicted to salsa & tango, and love travelling and cooking. She loves any opportunity for self-development as an entrepreneur, and learning how to have a balanced life while rocking at productivity and effectiveness: “It’s being a developer but with a sense of business”.
7) Ken Iswari – A business graduates from MBA ITB who is a start-up enthusiast. She knows a lot of people in the tech startup world in Indonesia, and since we are based in Indonesia, Ken was perfect for the role of Chief Networking Officer.
8) Ahmad Yunus – A talented web designer / developer from Jakarta, Indonesia. Have received several awards for Web Design and Development in Indonesia. He’s received a medallion for excellence in WorldSkills Competition London, 2011. He is the best Computer and Network Engineering graduate from SMKN 26 Jakarta.
Tell us about the features that Mailbird will have for the beta
We will most likely have all the features available during the first big release planned for January 2013. This may include, but not limited to:
- Quick Compose
- Mailbird Apps (soon to be app store where we use social coding to keep the apps open source
- Multi Account
- Option to remove the Mailbird footer link
- No ads
- Keyboard shortcuts
What are some of your early testers saying?
First thing that we hear is that Mailbird loads emails FAST. They love the simple design. They see a lot of potential for this email app for Windows in terms of keeping them productive. We even have some users who are asking about Mailbird availability for Mac OS and to make it mobile. They feel like they have “white glove” treatment, that their feedback provided is actually being listened to, catering to dedication to listening to users and putting their feedback in action so they can see their suggestions come to life. Some other quotes below:
“A Sparrow-ish (Mac) flavored email client for Windows called, #mailBird #like” – Alex P. (Romania)
“A different experience than any other Windows email client out there.” – Hari B. (Indonesia)
“We are really interested to have it on Win8. Can we talk @getmailbird?” – Risman Adnan (Microsoft Employee – Adventurer in Software Industry who work to build software ecosystem in Indonesia.)
“@getmailbird @Aloubier Awesome, guys. Finally a promising Windows mail client.” – Christian Lang (Berlin Windows Developer for 6Wunderkinder)
What additional features will you look to implement after the beta launch?
First off would be a Productivity Apps package to improve productivity. Examples would be hot-key teacher, email habits monitor, email productivity improvement coach with suggestions. Another feature would be skins to enhance the colour palette for parts of the Mailbird interface. For example users can customise the left menu bar in blue instead of black.
You mentioned about future plans of opening up the Mailbird API for third party developers to build their apps on. Can you share more about this strategy with us?
Thunderbird mail ceased development, but because they kept it open sourced, community developers continue to build new apps for Thunderbird which lead to sustainability. With Mailbird we want to create that same community. We will use GitHub to open source the apps in Mailbird. It creates the best opportunity for marketing Mailbird. Developers are likely to encourage their social networks to check out the new app they built for Mailbird. People are much more likely to try something that is referenced by a friend or just someone they trust. We will have the power of community to continuously develop Mailbird.
If there’s one thing you could change about emails, what would it be?
Making email better through simplified productivity.
The Mailbird team is currently aiming to raise US$20,000 through Kickstarted to help support the final development of the application. If you are a Windows user and are constantly on the lookout for an application to help you in your battle with your daily emails, check out Kickstarter and help Mailbird find its wings.