The War on Email

Inbox Heroes: Alexis Ohanian, Co-Founder of Reddit and Breadpig

photo Inbox Heroes: Alexis Ohanian, Co Founder of Reddit and Breadpig

Mr. Ohanian. (Source: Google+)

It took Betabeat about seven months to finally meet Alexis Ohanian after we first chatted by email. The Y Combinator alum and Reddit co-founder-turned-advisor is always about town, but he spends a good chunk of time traveling between New York and San Francisco. And between helping out with Bay Area-based Hipmunk, coordinating events for his uncorporation Breadpig and accepting various awards such as being named to Inc.’s 30 Under 30 list, we’re amazed that he ever answers our Gchats. And considering Mr. Ohanian also frequently receives email from entrepreneurs looking for advice and VCs wanting coffee, we shudder to imagine his inbox. So we asked him one question: how do you do it?

“I too love Boomerang,” Mr. Ohanian said (in an email, har har) after reading Betabeat’s inaugural Inbox Heroes post in which we plugged the email scheduling extension.

“My buddies Gary V and Tony Hsieh do variations on the autoresponder with assistants helping in the reply/email-direction process,” he said. “Like me, they read it all, but inbox zero seems like an absurdity. I haven’t yet to come to terms with setting up something like that; I do want to be an open door for entrepreneurs, but maybe the medium just needs to change. Time just doesn’t scale. And I hate the thought of some useful insight I may provide locked up in an email that only a couple people may read when it could help many more.

It’s interesting to note that Mr. Ohanian, who has become a prolific Google+ user, thinks the solution to email may be something public. “Twitter nails the succinctness, but it’s too ephemeral as an archive or conversation-builder,” he wrote. “I’m thinking the solution is somewhere between creating a subreddit or G+.”

For Inbox Heroes, Betabeat is curious about your war stories, productivity tips and moments of extraordinary email. Send us an email to tips et betabeat daught com with “war on email” in the subject line and a paragraph or two (or more!) about how you deal with your influx of electronic letters.

Follow Adrianne Jeffries on Twitter or via RSS. ajeffries@observer.com