Having an email address is as essential as having a home address. If you want to buy a product, take out a loan, apply for a job, or even just post a photo of your vacation, you need an email address.
And yet, unlike your residential address, your email address exposes you to a torrent of unwanted solicitations, notifications, requests, updates, appeals, advisories, and you get the idea. It’s turned a solution into a major problem for most people. Hetal Pandya set out to turn this problem back into a solution with her company, Edison, which offers a two-pronged approach: Their email client, Edison Mail, and their email service, OnMail.
In this edition of UpTech Report, Hetal discusses why she believes these solutions will again make email a useful tool instead of a headache.
More information: www.edison.tech
Hetal Pandya is a mobile entrepreneur with more than 20 years of experience building mobile products for enterprise and consumer audiences. She has previously led teams at Nuance Communications, Microsoft, TellMe Networks, and Nortel Networks.
Edison Software is transforming the way people communicate with innovative, AI-driven products, including its flagship Edison Mail application for iOS, Android and Mac, new OnMail email service, Edison Trends e-commerce research and Edison API. Edison Software’s online data management privacy practices are TRUSTe certified, GDPR and Privacy Shield compliant. Edison is headquartered in San Jose, California.
DISCLAIMER: Below is an AI generated transcript. There could be a few typos but it should be at least 90% accurate. Watch video or listen to the podcast for the full experience!
Hetal Pandya 0:00
I consider your email address as like your digital home address. It’s where you live. And if anybody can enter your house just because they know your address, that’s kind of ridiculous in the physical world. So for us, we were like, that’s where we need to change the game.
Alexander Ferguson 0:24
Hetal, I’m excited to be able to chat with you today to begin, describe what you provide in very brief five seconds.
Hetal Pandya 0:33
Edison mail and on mail, we have two products for consumers. Edison mail is a email client that allows you to connect all kinds of email accounts into one. And number two on mail is your way to get a brand new email account that will change how you think about your email.
Alexander Ferguson 0:51
Email is It is how we live and breathe, how we communicate, talk about today’s environment, especially how are you doing it differently? Why would someone say let’s use you versus what’s already in my phone, my Apple Mail or Gmail?
Hetal Pandya 1:06
Yeah, well, first of all, the main problem we solve is that we provide consumers the control and transparency over their mailbox that has been lost. First number one, which everybody feels this pain, which is anybody can email you. You have they all they have to have is your email account. And next thing, you know, you can get one or hundreds of emails from them, whether you want it or you don’t want it, I consider your email addresses like your digital home address. It’s where you live. And if anybody can enter your house just because they know your address. That’s kind of ridiculous in the physical world. So for us, we were like, that’s where we need to change the game. And you know, building a new brand new email service is extremely difficult, which is why there are so few players in the world today. But building an email client was the first step towards that. And what we did is we perfected the technology and the user experience around unsubscribing unwanted people in your inbox. That’s the number one feature we touted. When we built our email client, it was not we have this new email, you know, experience or some UX or it was just this very simple service. It was speed, it was search, and it was ability to unsubscribe. On top of it, we built this really interesting AI in our email client and not in our email service. We just launched on the other day, the brand new email service. The technology allows consumers to search or have their information, some other information pre searched and sort of allocated into these assistant boxes. So usually what we’ve noticed, as the world has progressed into how can consumers can communicate, we’ve noticed that people are usually using their email for airline tickets for subscriptions for getting package tracking, getting e receipts. So most of the time, when you go back in there to search for something like oh, you bought that concert ticket six months ago. Now where’s that concert ticket, and you go through searching, searching all through your different accounts. First of all, because you don’t know which account you bought it in. Putting it all together, just improving that experience where you can search for something right away was done through AI, we actually pre sorted those kinds of receipts, put it into an assistant box called events and entertainment. And next time you go looking for that ticket, you know, you just have shown that box, it’s not like your email have moved there. It’s actually this whole domain expertise on events and tickets around AI where we understand what is a ticket, what is an advertisement, how to extract that information, how to put it into a beautiful format that the consumers will like, all that stuff. And that technology that goes underneath had been built over 10 years for us for different domains, travel package tracking receipts, ie receipts, and also for subscriptions that unsubscribe and including we have this technology that we haven’t used a lot but we’re starting to use it in all mail, which is the ability to find out what is a person’s email address and phone number just from their contact signatures and an information and back and forth so that we can reliably tell you this is their address and phone number that you can then update into your contacts. So that’s a lot of stuff.
Alexander Ferguson 4:29
I’ll tack them together, hop
Hetal Pandya 4:33
off it is just a wonderful fast email service and so people love it.
Alexander Ferguson 4:36
What I’m kind of fascinated with is kind of the evolution of AI the original spam filter is a form of AI saying this is probably not email you want let me put it over here but now this next level of evolution of AI is I don’t know what
Hetal Pandya 4:51
you just said I love what you just said it’s helping me that kind of way yes.
Alexander Ferguson 4:55
It because it’s it’s we want to spend less time having to search through things we don’t really want to see it This time versus things we’d never want to see. Now this next step is being able to isolate it by those smart categories, having that assistant break it down. And fascinating that second part, you said, you’re just starting to foray more into, which is managing effectively your contact database, because that’s kind of annoying to making sure you have the right information, updated information. As a consumer, I mean, business owners like they are businesses, they already have a whole CRM they have to manage, but as an individual, having an assistant manage that for you. It’s like having your own little executive admin to do it. And we
Hetal Pandya 5:31
just launched that feature under our premium product expert. It’s a month old feature that we just launched. And, you know, consumers. The other thing that we’re also trying to change in this world is how consumers view technology, the transparency of how your product or feature your free products that you’re using, how transparent rd, how clear is it to you, when you put a search comment into any kind of search bar on the browser? How many hundreds of ways is that data be used?
Alexander Ferguson 6:06
This is a really interesting conversation around kind of this behavioural change, or rather, a consumer education on Wow, free products are free for a reason. And I need to learn how to better understand how my data is being used. It’s like this consumer education that’s happening. And it needs to keep moving forward, because he said free products aren’t going away. So how are you guys then providing that education or clarity for the consumer to know how their data is being used?
Hetal Pandya 6:36
So first of all, the unique thing that Addison software brings to the table is that we have the option, we have the option of just taking the data, bundling it, and providing it to companies that do aggregation of data, right, and they then you don’t even know what’s happening, what we did is we actually build out that side of the business, to create research and research from the data and provide the examples of what that research looks like. And then how that research is even useful to the end company, like in the b2b part of the company that uses that data. So if you go to Edison software, you’ll see we talk about all our products. In one page, we talk about our software products to consumers, and our Edison trends product that goes to businesses. And when you go to Edison trends.com, or it’s connected to Edison’s main webpage, you see the type of research we’ve done, that allows us to help not just consumers understand what’s happening in some of the e Commerce Trends, but also for companies to understand what’s happening in the E commerce space. And that’s just done by aggregating. It’s kind of like a census. And I liked your analogy with us on the spam side. And I like the census analogy where you just either get information together, and you can’t tell that this information came from a heat of inbox. Basically, that’s our goal. The goal for privacy is, it is so aggregated, it’s millions of data points all put together. And it’s something as simple as who shop at Costco last week, who spent more than 50 bucks who spend more money on toilet paper versus Clorox products, who spent so that the type of aggregation that we’re doing,
Alexander Ferguson 8:31
but you’re but then these these other business, businesses can’t market to that individual, specifically, you’re you’re not you’re not being invaded by Oh, I know, I shopped here. So now they’re gonna market to me,
Hetal Pandya 8:41
it’s legally not allowed, first of all, so these large companies, their lawyers and their people care what they are legally allowed to do. So we basically make sure that the data is not identifiable. Even if they attach a couple extra pieces of information that they know about this transaction, they still should not be able to figure out who the user is. So let’s talk about companies where you have maybe a shipping address, we will never show somebody shipping address. And it’s automatically done. This is the best part of the AI piece that that they’re guarding themselves, like scan the information, remove this kind of not these kind of, you know, outliers, and then the data is aggregated and put together.
Alexander Ferguson 9:25
You know, humans are actually then looking at the, at your emails,
Hetal Pandya 9:28
looking at this data this had been built over the years,
Unknown Speaker 9:32
in the initial days. And if you understand how AI works in the
Hetal Pandya 9:38
days, yeah, it’s the training data. But that training data was supplied by consumers, allowing us to look at that data. But this was so early that 10 years ago when people said, Yeah, we’re interested in this technology, you can use our data and we got a corporate of consumers who agreed for us to use their data. But over the years now, we never look at anybody’s emails unless A consumer once again specifically said, I think something’s wrong with this receipt, please, can you take a look at it and help me figure out why it’s not showing up in the right place?
Alexander Ferguson 10:10
Moving forward now, this 10 years obviously built up this and it’s really exciting. You built the the application, but also now a service that people get their own email as service through you guys. What, what are you most excited about in the near term that you’re working on? And in the long term, next 510 years,
Unknown Speaker 10:29
we really think that email is broken. And we really believe
Hetal Pandya 10:35
that consumers will find how much it improves their lives when they use a product. That is, that is like 100 times better than what they are using today. The every single person I know and they could be professional stay at home mom, retired people, I have talked to so many people asking them about their experience and feelings about their email, and they talk about it as if it’s this dreadful chore that they have to, you know, sit down and ammos doing email till 2am Last night, and it’s like, Oh, my God, I have to look, I missed this important email. Why? Because I had other 500 other crazy emails on there. I think that is what we have to change. This is something we use every day. How can consumers be so laid back on something they use every day and not look for an improvement? In five years, I bet you consumers will be able to say that they spend less time on their email, if they’re using these kinds of products that are helping them reduce this, this bearing of what their cognitive barriers that they’re feeling every day, that is going to change, they’re going to have an you know, more time to do whatever. But I think I think the fact that they’re not spending time deleting emails, that’s a big game changer. It sounds so simple. I’m telling you, it sounds simple. It is not that simple. And that will be a huge change. And I think I would be very happy if I did some touches all these people’s lives by just remembering that they are no longer deleting emails because of technology that came from medicine.
Alexander Ferguson 12:21
Where can people go to learn more, and what’s a good first step for them to take?
Hetal Pandya 12:25
I think the simplest thing to do is to start with Edison.tech, look at our products, see which ones they can start checking out today. Check the type of research that we do and how consumer research has completely changed. The fact that we are changing the game not just on the consumer side where we are building this email product. But we’re changing the way how research is being done, done, where people are not the fact the other part about this thing that I haven’t mentioned before is very interesting. Most times, when people ask you to do research, they send you a survey that or they measure, or they ask you to or they do something that’s unnatural, like click on something, post something, pin something like something, we’re not asking people to change their behaviors when we’re measuring anything that around this research, it is the most natural research piece that we’re doing, where we’re not asking people to change, their behaviors change. They’re addicted, like no not making them addicted to some technology, just so that we can do this b2b side of our business, it is just this most natural, if you buy something, and if it is part of this receipt, we will we will aggregate the data, we will protect your privacy. And the best part is that you can opt out at any time the consumers can opt out of this research anytime and say I’m not interested in this, I will pay you guys or I will do that there are ways for them to do that. So there’s this whole combination of like if I go to Google today, and I say I want to pay for your search. Yes, that’s what happened. So that’s the beauty of being a small company and being able to lead the way. Lead the way in all kinds of all kinds of areas of technology.
Alexander Ferguson 14:13
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