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Mail Pilot: A New Approach To Email and Task Management [Interview]

Mail Pilot: A New Approach To Email and Task Management [Interview]

    There are so many people that just won’t get out of their email application to manage tasks. While this has been a problem in the past, new solutions like Asana and Flow allow for email and task management to be integrated within the task management solution. In many cases, the person who doesn’t want to go into the task manager can simply respond and check off tasks via email, removing a lot of the friction that can happen in a team environment.

    But there’s a new kid on the block that actually lets you manage things from within email — using your email inbox as a task manager. That’s something that many people do already, but in a very impractical way. Mail Pilot looks as if it will add the practicality that’s been missing from the equation.

    Mail Pilot is a Kickstarter-funded project that tackles email and task management in a way that is innovative and productive.

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    What does Mail Pilot do? Well, here’s the word on that straight from the source:

    “Mail Pilot is a computer application & service that lets you use your current email accounts in a way that is much more intuitive than today’s email applications. Mail Pilot reimagines email from the ground up, and is built to fit into the workflow of how people use email today.”

    But that didn’t answer all of my questions. So I spoke about Mail Pilot with its creators, Josh Milas & Alex Obenauer, shortly after the project went live on Kickstarter.

    Mike: I’ve taken a look at Mail Pilot, and it looks really compelling because people who are wanting to manage and/or use their inbox to manage things in terms of productivity and such. Why did you decide to start this thing up and what was the plan behind it?

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    Alex: So I was in a class in the fall semester and we had to keep a design journal. And a couple of weeks into the semester the professor said that he was going to be doing a check of our journals…and I actually hadn’t written anything in mine yet. So I went home and I tried to come up with a problem that was so big and so problematic that would fill a lot of pages. I chose email because that’s one of my biggest issues — I receive 80 plus emails on average a day, which is less than most people’s average.

    And so I started to write about it — and within three pages the entire concept behind Mail Pilot was there. It was very much a thing where I had such an issue with email and really broke it down try to figure out what the essence of email was, and how you would rebuild the client around that essence…ignoring all kind of prior implementations. Then I shared the idea with Josh the next day — and he absolutely loved it. He has very similar problems with email and we had shared our woes together about it.

    From there he explained to me that (this) was legitimately something we should act on, that this was much bigger than just changing the way that the two of us use our email, but that this is something that not only do we have the time talents and gifts to make — but something we really should.

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      Mike:  Now there are a lot of productivity apps out there right now where they tell users to “get out of your inbox”, essentially saying that they shouldn’t be managing from within your email. Did you guys decide to go that route because either you tried stuff other task managers and it didn’t work for you and you just kept going back to managing things from email or do you think it’s just that it’s hard to get people to understand that there is an inbox for email and an inbox for all of their stuff?

      Alex: It’s definitely both. You know, one of the biggest time drains for us is translating everything in your inbox into your to-do list and translating them into a calendar…stuff like that. And then trying to put something into your to-do list or put it on to your calendar because you need to follow up with it and then link to that email — it just became a kind of complicated interconnected web of ‘to dos’, events and emails. And it didn’t seem to make much sense.

      So we really thought that if you could clear out your inbox, but those messages could still be marked for review, or marked to pop back up — say, reappear in three days — then that would help you severely decrease the clutter in your inbox and you wouldn’t have to spend the time working with a to-do list or a calendar. And the other thing too is that email is a standard. You can’t really get the entire market out of the inbox. Google proved that in a big way with Wave. I really liked what they did with the project but it was clear you couldn’t get people out of their email.

      Mike: Right. So you’re raising $35,000 through Kickstarter. Where will that money go to? What’s the plan for those funds?

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      Josh: The plan is that once we meet that goal is to bring on some additional developers to help us really get the product to market. And their goal would be to then release a beta version by June. That will first go to all of our Kickstarter backers so they can start using it and we can start getting some feedback on it. So essentially, about three months from the end of our campaign the plan would be to release our beta.

      Most of the money that we would raise would go to additional development support, ramping up  our server space — because a lot of our features are really services that would take up space. It’s not just folders and stuff that goes into your normal inbox. We have our own data that we have to store with Mail Pilot so we do need an amplified storage space. That’s a pretty heavy cost so that’s where another portion of the money would go to. But then after that, hopefully we can get out of the beta, release to public and go from there.

      Mike: I think one of your biggest battles is that there is so many players in this space. What do you think you are going to be able to do to combat that?

      Alex: There are definitely a lot of players in the space, but we definitely think that the workflow that fits right into the core of Mail Pilot is just so deliberate to the way that most (if not many) people who have used their email or try to use their email. And we think that’s it. It works so specifically well for people that it would be a very preferred option.

      The other thing is that right now we are a two man operation and so we wouldn’t need a majority of the market just to be sustainable. And so we have been excited to see what we’ve gotten so far and we are really excited to see if we can gain enough support to stay sustainable and then to really start spreading the concept around to a lot more people. So far people’s reactions have been so overwhelmingly positive towards the idea in favor over so many other ideas just because it’s so deliberate in the way it really works with your workflow.

      (Editor’s Note: Now that the project has been funded, the expectation is that Mail Pilot will hit the market sometime in June of this year.)

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      Published on November 9, 2018

      How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career

      How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career

      Technology has taken the business world by storm. People and businesses are progressively reliant on technology world these days. As a result, the people with impressive knowledge and experience with a computer are in demand.

      Considering this growing market trend, if you too wish to bag a profitable job, this article is apt for you. Here, we will dig deeper into the business and technology world to look into what are the best computer skills one should invest in and what resources to get help from.

      So, are you ready? Here we begin.

      6 Most-In Demand Computer Skills This Year (and Beyond)

      When talking about computer skills, following are the 6 computer skills that can fill your mailbox with endless job opportunities (besides, having an English and Hindi typing speed of 40+ WPM):-

      1. Spreadsheets and Databases

      Considering the treasure trove of data companies are handling these days, Spreadsheet and Database management skill tops the list. It is considered the most wanted job skill in the market, with a salary of around $53,129/yr for an entry-level position. However, the spreadsheet skill does not confine to auditing data from cells.

      To get hired based on this computer skill, you need to become a Spreadsheet ninja. From storing data to organizing them, applying complex mathematics formulas, and creating complex macros, you need to be an expert at all.

      In other words, you need to have an expertise at working with:

      • Microsoft Excel
      • Microsoft Access
      • Statistics
      • Data Analytics
      • Adobe Campaign
      • Quickbooks
      • XML Database management system
      • Filemaker Pro
      • MATLAB
      • Hive
      • FORTRAN
      • RDBMS (Relational Database Management System)
      • SAS

      2. Social Media, Email, and Blogging

      Though people are socially active, not everyone knows how to use the social media tools on the professional front. In such a scenario, having an expertise at writing engaging yet professional emails, writing blogs, and managing social media activities is a ticket to entry in reputed organizations.

      Some of the skills related to social media, email and blogging that will have a leg up in the hiring process are:

      • Content Management System (CMS)
      • Google Analytics
      • Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
      • Email Marketing
      • Web Page Design
      • WordPress
      • Digital Media
      • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
      • Campaign Management Software

      3. Graphic Design and Word Processing

      A solid grasp of skills to present the gained information in the much readable form is another market need. When considering this computer skill category, you need to enhance your skills at:

      • Adobe Photoshop
      • Adobe InDesign
      • Adobe Illustrator
      • AutoCAD
      • CorelDRAW
      • Microsoft Visual Studio
      • Maya
      • Microsoft Word
      • Microsoft Publisher
      • Operating Digital Cameras

      4. Software and Hardware Design and Development

      The Software and Hardware development, in simpler language, means designing, implementing, and testing the computer software/hardware applications. It is the most profitable computer skill, with a different job opening, including Software Architect, Software Analyst, Software programmer, Hardware configuration, etc.

      To be capable of developing and testing the software and hardware, you need to peruse your users’ needs and build an application that hits their pain points. You need to work with different web and mobile app coding languages for gaining the attention of your audience, some of which are:

      • HTML
      • C/C++
      • Java
      • Python
      • XML
      • UI/UX
      • LINUX
      • CISC and RISC architecture
      • Embedded Processor Hardware Design
      • Memory Management
      • PCB Layout
      • SQL

      5. IT Troubleshooting

      Working on computers is one thing and having a knack of looking into the associated issues and resolving them in real-time is another. There are various employees and graduates who work with computer systems in their daily lives, but get confused when it comes to dealing with frozen programs and performing routine maintenance.

      So, if you are familiar with the basic anatomy of computers and machines and know the tricks to perform such tasks to streamline the working process, enter the IT support arena. The prime IT troubleshooting skills one needs to work upon are:

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      • Backup management
      • Diagnostics
      • End User support
      • Client-Server management
      • Installation and configuration
      • Issue tracking system (ITS)
      • System administration
      • Tech support

      6. Enterprise Systems

      Many Enterprises have their own enterprise solutions like PeopleSoft for managing their data and operations.

      Becoming a master at using the enterprise solutions mentioned in their ‘Requirements’ area can also lessen the barrier to get a job.

      The Roadmap to Excel Your Computer Skills

      Now that you know the 6 most popular computer skills in the market, the first decision, you need to take is which computer skill you want to work upon. All the skills are equally considerable for making a career ahead. So, choose one as per your interest.

      Once done, look forward to the following resources for boosting your computer skills and getting a reputed, handsome job.

      Depending on the computer skill you opt, here are the online courses you can turn to for elevating your career opportunities:

      1. Become a Spreadsheet and Database Ninja

      a. Microsoft Excel Training Online Course – Basic & Advanced

      Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or expert at working with spreadsheets, this online course has something new for everyone to become excel efficient users.

      Divided into 48 interesting lessons, the course empowers you to learn the technique of using mathematical, statistical, logical and text functions, sorting and filtering the data, creating Pivot Tables, building macros, finding a value with VLOOKUp, and much more.

      b. Excel- Online Courses, Classes, Training, Tutorials on Lynda

      This is another impressive course to unlock the power of Excel. Designed for people from all walks of life and familiarity with Excel tools. This course helps you gain in-depth knowledge from the experts about this data-analyzing tool and make the magic in spreadsheet creation and management process.

      c. SQL & Database Design A-Z™: Learn MS SQL Server + PostgreSQL

      Build a successful career in the data analytics world with this online course.

      Revolving around the two top databases, MS SQL and PostgreSQL, this course will give you a comprehensive knowledge of the working of the databases and understanding of all the related elements, including how to create, update, organize, and safeguard the data.

      2. Rule the Social Media World

      a. Free Social Media Course by HubSpot

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      Introduced by the top experienced inbound professors from Hubspot, here you will get a comprehensive knowledge of Social media marketing.

      From understanding how to build relationships on different social media platforms to creating a perfect strategy to engage them, leveraging the benefits of social advertising, and analyzing your social media ROI, this course will bring out the best out of you.

      b. Write Professional Emails in English by Coursera

      This online course will be the right weapon to look into the differences and similarities between different email styles, improve your English writing skills, write effective subject lines, maintain the formality tone in emails, and more to make a powerful impact on the receivers with your email.

      c. Ninja Writing: The Four Levels of Writing Mastery

      Founded by Udemy, this online course will excel your skills to build a masterpiece everytime you write.

      Here, you will get the guidance from the editors of the top newspapers and websites, and understand what kind of words and tone to use for leaving a spellbinding impact on the readers.

      3. Launch Your Own Software or Hardware Equipment

      a. Hardware and Software Courses by Coursera

      From Big Data to IoT, Sensor Circuit Design, Embedded Software and Hardware Architecture, and Motor Control Circuit, this course will give you a glimpse of all the hardware devices, equipment, and programming languages to build wonders.

      b. Free Software and Web Development Certifications Online by Alison

      Become the software developer market demands with Alison’s Java, C#, Python, R, PHP, or MySQL database course. From backend to frontend development and software testing.

      The course helps you to learn how to design, develop and test software and working in a team while contributing to the team success.

      c. Free Online Software Development and MOOCs Course by Class Central

      The Class Central online course will make you a master of software development. Here, you will learn the basic concepts of development like Agile, Design Patterns, and Version Control with Git, along with gaining experience of working with the top programming languages.

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      4. Live and Breathe Creativity

      a. Udemy: Introduction to Graphic Design

      It is a top-rated program for the new learners and designers to explore the Graphic Design world.

      From the history of communication to the design principles, the course will help the students to learn everything specifically and implement in the real world.

      b. Canva Design School

      From a beginner to advanced level, this course will provide you with an elaborated and comprehensive knowledge of graphic design. In the form of 4 modules, this course will help the interested graphic designers to try out their skills at Graphics, ranging from fonts to colors, backgrounds, images, shapes, and layouts.

      c. Microsoft Word – Basic & Advanced

      62 personalized lessons, premium video tutorials, and unlimited tests and quizzes – this certified course has everything that will make your entry to the business world easier.

      d. Microsoft Office: Word, Excel and Access Productivity Bundle

      The course will make you productive in Word, Excel, and Access through video lectures, articles, and various other supplemental resources.

      Besides, it will offer you exclusive tips and tricks to enhance your skills at using Microsoft office.

      5. Raise Your Reflexes to IT Troubleshooting

      a. IT Troubleshooting Skill Training by Udemy

      IT Troubleshooting Skill Training will upgrade your logical concepts over technical components to find and repair faults.

      It will provide you with a methodological approach to learn the basics of troubleshooting, practice them via exercises and drills, and enhance your IT troubleshooting intelligence.

      b. IT Help Desk Online Course on Lynda

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      The Lynda’s IT troubleshooting online course will train you how to respond to the issues related to Windows 10, Office 365, JIRA software, and more, from a local as well as a remote location.

      Mobile Apps and Websites to Enhance Computer Skills

      The aforementioned online courses will undoubtedly train you for a successful career ahead. But, in case you want a long-term support, turn towards the following websites and mobile apps:

      • Duolingo – Duolingo app will improve your spoken and written communication skills in different languages. With the magic of gamification added to the study, the app will make learning a fun and addictive task.
      • Hemingway – Hemingway app defines the length, complexity, and common errors associated with the sentences. In this way, it helps you to write effectively and go ahead in the career.
      • Udemy – The Udemy, with its 2000+ courses, is a great platform to master new skills, advance your career and explore the newer technologies and programming languages. Enrol a course as per your budget and make a brighter future.
      • eDX – eDX is yet another commendable platform you can look forward to. The platform offers you the best of the tutorials prepared by the business professionals and technology experts, ensuring a great boost in your computer skills.
      • Excel Easy – Excel Easy, as the name depicts, will make working with Excel easier for you via their detailed tutorials and 300+ real-life examples.
      • GCF LearnFree.org – It is a one-stop platform for accelerating your future in the computer world. From graphic design to Microsoft Office, resume writing, enhancing adaptability, and much more, the top experts will guide you with everything on this platform.
      • QuarkXPress – The QuarkXPress will aid you to add soul to your design with its unparalleled collection of font style, size, and typography. The best part is that it is avails all the options in different languages, including English, Spanish, German, French, and Italian to name a few.

      Bonus: Tips to Accelerate Your Approach For a Better Career Ahead

      Though these resources will make you stand out from the crowd and get hired at once, you need to focus on various other things, such as:

      1. Practice, Practice, Practice

      It is common to forget what we learn. To ensure that you do not miss any opportunity just because you forgot, keep practising.

      Make it your routine. Polish your computer skills and you will surely end up getting an offer letter from a recognized firm.

      2. Work on Your Efficiency

      Remembering what you learned is not enough; practice to enhance those skills to do better.

      For example, if you take around 50 minutes to create a design, target for 40 minutes.

      3. Look for Shortcuts

      Smart work rules over hard work more often. So, look forward to learning shortcuts to do any task. This will increase your chances to crack an interview and get selected.

      4. Apply for an Internship

      Last but not the least, apply for an internship to see what’s trending in the market and how much you are ready for it. While doing an internship, pay attention to your weak points and work on them. This will ensure a success when you apply for your dream job.

      By the late, it’s never too late to be an intern or grab whatever opportunity to learn something new! Here’s how:

      How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

      The Bottom Line

      Seeing the current market scenario, it is evident that having computer skills is a boon for a better career ahead.

      So, rather than struggling with thousands of other things and trying to crack interviews, focus on the computer skills mentioned in this article. Utilize the resources and experts’ tips shared and look forward to having a successful and prosperous future.

      Featured photo credit: Glenn Carstens-Peters via unsplash.com

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