What Is Hey Email, and Should You Check It Out?

Harry Guinness


Hey is a new email service from the team behind Basecamp. It’s billed as a fresh take on what email can be—and a way to fix some of the problems with email.

The way Hey’s founders, Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson (better known as DHH), see it, email is broken in a lot of fundamental ways. Your cluttered inbox is filled with other people’s (and random companies’) demands on your time and attention. Anyone can email you without your permission. Marketers track when and where you open their emails. Any attempts to fix things are just built on top of the existing broken system. They’re papering over cracks with Gmail plug-ins.

Most people accept that email is far from perfect. There have been plenty of attempts by apps like Slack to “kill email”—but they’ve all failed. At best, they’ve taken some of the time people spend emailing and shoveled it into another app; at worst, they’ve just added another source of distraction and noise. What there hasn’t been, at least since Gmail was launched in 2004, is a serious rethink of what email is. Fried and DHH are changing that.

Hey has been in the news recently because of a high-profile fight with Apple over App Store rules. Things appeared to have settled down a bit, and Hey has been allowed to push new updates to iOS users.

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