Email will be with us for a good time longer. DokDok, along with founder Bruno Morency, is seeking to evolve this often cumbersome communication mechanism, solving the often onerous challenge of exchanging documents via file attachment, tracking them, versioning them, facilitating interaction with them, and extending this vision to facilitate other products.
In Part 4, of this 4 part series, I sat down with Bruno to understand how he sees Modular Innovation (MI) affecting DokDok and how his startup is shaping the MI landscape.
On Modular Innovation
TPG: Describe the benefits of this product for the average online user. (or, why should the average user care)
Bruno: We see the need for such an email API has follows: Conversations, collaboration and document exchange happens in email on a daily basis. Unfortunately, complementary apps such as CRM, document management, collaboration and project management ignore most of it or ask you to forward and bcc every single emails you want to view from their app.
TPG: Describe the benefits of this product for the application developer (and their online products).
Bruno: Many applications like CRM, wikis and task managers let you "attach" documents to clients, pages or tasks. Developers need to spend a lot of time adding those features and for users, it’s a burden to keep those documents updated. It’s not publicly available yet but we’ll offer these developers an API to use documents found in their users mailbox instead of building their own file management functionality.
We provide a unique email API that makes it easy for application developers to retrieve that information and leverage it in applications. Everyone can keep using email as the daily communication tool with the benefit of great apps that leverage those conversations and document exchange.
- Sharability of content (if shareable, can you control to which people different information is shareable)
- Flexibility (can a user and/or developer customize their experience/interaction with the product)
- Interoperability (from / to 3rd party apps; redundancy; etc.)
- Portability (does a user ‘own’ the content that they create/contribute; what parts do they own; can they download it; save it; etc.)
- Convenience (can a user access the product/content from a diverse variety of access points; to what degree does the product automatically remember user settings, etc.)
Bruno: One important thing about DokDok is it’s not a new container for documents, it’s an "enabler" for the documents scattered in your mailbox. In that sense, we see DokDok bringing sharability, flexibility, interoperability and convenience to email.
TPG: How do you see your product evolving with respect to the trends of Modular Innovation?
Bruno: Your presentation of these trends of Modular Innovation is very interesting and fits really well with how innovation happens in technology. There’s been a lot of innovation to develop tools that are basically buckets for digital content and then to make these buckets "connectable". For document sharing, it’s pointless to build yet another platform to exchange and share documents. There’s hundreds if not thousands of these all promising the end of attachments with no success. The big universal bucket of electronic documents is email. Unfortunately, email is really bad at many things, managing shared documents being one of them. That’s what we’re after, bringing sharability, flexibility and interoperability to email attachments.
TPG: Any plans to integrate with other online products?
Bruno: That API was initially built out of our own need for an HTTP based way to query data from an email account. After talking with other developers, we realized there was more interest for this than the Gmail contextual gadget we built it for.
It can be used to query any email account accessible through IMAP (it’s not only Gmail/Google Apps).
What we did isn’t replicating IMAP connections in an HTTP context, we created a set of high-level calls that abstract a lot of the low-level email-specific details. For example, getting the history of messages exchanged with a contact is one simple call, you don’t need to worry about searches within numerous folders found in the mailbox.
Since I originally spoke with Bruno DokDok has made many exciting strides in its product, especially in its continued embrace of the trends of Modular Innovation. Excitingly, DokDok has made available its Email API to enable all applications to leverage users’ emails as a data source. For more, visit http://dokdok.com/email-api .
We can all expect to see many more great things in the coming years from DokDok as they continue to expand to more platforms (hopefully, we will start seeing it, by default, built-in to more of our favorite apps) while enabling other products to leverage their experience through its awesome API’s.
The Product Guy