Email is like a lot like a long term partnership gone wrong. It was once young and spry, and felt good and effortless. The good times flowed. Your grandma forwards you a piece of chainmail, and you reply-all to the list of nephews and uncles. The tech adepts of the family had @gmail addresses, while the older folks had @aol or @yahoo. Many laughs. Heh. But something changed without our realizing it. Over time our relationship with email became something of a chore. Like taking out the trash. The quirks that enthralled you became something of a bother. Why did I ever like this in the first place? Communication grew thin as you moved on from each other with different goals. Something beautiful turned into something strained. Ahem. Well. Not that I would know anything about that. Like a partnership, we forgot why we loved email along the way. We've been looking at it for so long that it's hard to tell why we fell in love in the first place. But the charm is still there, we just have trouble seeing it. I want to describe how I view email as a communication tool: - decentralized - federated - transparent - reliable - well understood - old, and poorly designed It has warts, but it works well.