...better mousetraps since '81.
Sax and Drew doing design things in the fungeon.

Sax and Drew doing design things in the fungeon.

Focusmail: Email, without the distraction of your email.

Ok, we tried… We did everything we could.

Despite the best efforts of the brightest minds in the world, it’s clear that email is here to stay.

The worst thing about email is how it hijacks your train of thought… The second you open that window you’re bombarded by dozens of threads, conversations, requests and ideas, all competing for your immediate attention.

But what if, instead of a hijacking your train of thought, you had an email client that actually helped you focus?

That’s Focusmail. It’s email, without the distraction of email.

How does it work?

  1. Focusmail is like a window into your email, but by default the shades are drawn. You can draft and send those critical planned emails without distraction, without interference.
  2. Need to reply to something? No problem, just tell Focusmail what you’re working on and it will only show you the emails you need to get your task done.
  3. Got all the important stuff is out of the way and ready to plow through to inbox zero? Easy… And Focusmail will help prioritise getting you there.

Focusmail is available as a Gmail and Google Apps plugin that installs in seconds.

Ready to GSD? Head to for email, without the distraction of your email.

Note: This does not actually exist. I’ve tried the batching and “don’t check until ready” approach to email, and the thing that fails me is the UX of email clients itself… They are designed to present as much actionable data in front of you as possible, which works in exactly the opposite direction of the goal of focus.

I had the idea for a way to solve this about an hour ago, and liked the idea of the challenge to knock together a Minimum Viable Pitch in a market completely different to the one I spend my days in with Bugcrowd.

I haven’t built this, and I won’t be building or pursing this - And if you think it’s a good idea and sells well you probably should (alternatively, if you’re a mad Google Labs plugins type please knock it together so I can use it!).

Go register the domain and get into it. It’s a pretty simple app at it’s core and it solves a problem many people have. 

You. are. making. it. too. complicated.

Make. it. simple. and. do. it.

—Me. About 5 mins ago.

When it comes to testing and priorisation, axe, then sand paper!

—Mick Liubinskas

What is the one thing that you should be working on right now at the exclusion of all others?

Good sales and marketing vs bad sales and marketing

Good sales and marketing:

  • Help people win. This makes all of the difference.
  • Market and sell your thing with the attitude of wanting to serve your prospects. This makes ALL the difference.
  • Do all you can to add value at every touch. 
  • Listen to your customer. If you can’t do this then stop selling and hire someone who can.
  • Honor the prospect. Put yourself in their shoes. You can only do this if you listen.
  • Burn the deal if it’s in the client’s best interest. Integrity almost always cost something in the short terms but never fails to pay off in the long term.
  • Help your customers even if it’s not directly connected to a sale.

Bad sales and marketing

  • Focus purely on closing.
  • Don’t listen (e.g. forgetting names, repeating questions which have already been answered, etc)
  • Don’t add value (i.e. gimme gimme gimme kthxbye)
  • Be inconsiderate of their needs (e.g. calling a family person during dinner time - or anytime after hours for that matter)
  • Sell them something they don’t really need
  • Never talk to them again once you’ve closed

Repeat after me: I am not ashamed of sales and marketing

I find that people are often ashamed, almost a little bit embarrassed to talk about sales and marketing. 

"Yeah, we’re going OK, we’re actually… kind of, you know <looks at shoes> thinking about how to get better at marketing."


"I’m thinking about <looks at shoes> personal branding… <looks up wide eyed and apologetic> Nothing douchey or anything…"

It’s mostly because both are done badly far more often then they are done well. Here’s a thought for all of you wanting/needing to improve their sales and/or marketing:

You can’t get paid without a sale. You can’t make a sale without marketing.

Sales and marketing are a fact of business. If your business has collected any money whatsoever from a customer then you have already committed both the crime of sales and the crime of marketing.

Get used to it. Don’t be ashamed of it. Get better at it.

Your deck definitely needs less|more animated GIFs.

The hardest thing…

The number one hardest thing when you’re doing a start-up is prioritisation  What’s the one thing that you should be working on that will take your business towards it’s next goal? Define it and put everything else in the queue.

Surround yourself with people who’ve achieved what you want to achieve. Track them down and buy them lunch. If you’ve only got ideas people around you then you’ll just sit around all day having ideas.

—Me. Today. It was a little harsh but it’s true.