E-mail is nice because you can work on it whenever you want, over the weekend when time is free it’s there, late at night it’s there, when you travel it’s there, and particularly the offline thing that got so rich in the latest version of Outlook that I can do this stuff from the plane or with intermittent connectivity, and yet get my full productivity.
Then he vented a key frustration with Outlook. While Gates says he gets “immense benefit” from Outlook’s Inbox rules, he wants more.
Microsoft’s Prophet-in-Chief told his audience that Outlook needs to make it easy for the recipient (you) to associate the sender with a given group. The idea: You could prepare context-based responses tied to your calendar and even a specific device.
Thus, a message from Joe Boiler may get no response, while brother George gets, “Grandma’s fine,” a team member sees, “I’ll turn it over tomorrow at 1400 hours,” and the Big Boss gets a personal phone call within, oh, 20 seconds.
Out-of-office responses would be even fancier, with some forwarding to here, while others forward there, depending on time and location.
Gates says, “In the same way that Outlook rules let you take e-mail and take actions based on that, the out of office message should be categorizable in that same way.”
Doesn’t sound all that difficult… until the final shoe drops: He wants the system to work for both phone and email.
Not to worry. The King of Redmond says Microsoft’s working on it.
In the meantime, he needs your help. If you know of any product, tool or add-on that can handle email, voice or both… as laid out above… let him (and us) know.