The Blog

(The 411)

Breaking: Big News

25 September 2021

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Today we’re excited to share with you a ‘Big Mail spin-off’ we’ve been working on called Big News.

Newsletters + Feeds

Big News blends different sources from across the web – like newsletters and RSS feeds – into one super-smart reading experience.

It borrows from Big Mail’s much-loved newsletter features, pushing them even further with new functionality like top stories, daily digests, and more. There’s no setup involved and no email account required: it just works.

Your own email, just for newsletters

Big News gives you your very own @bignews.app email address. That means newsletters skip your regular inbox and are instead sent directly to Big News. The result is less stuff mixed in with your daily emails and more great reads for when you actually want them.

Big Mail Feed

Why another app?

We love Big Mail, but we know some folks have had compatibility issues with their mail providers. That’s why we want to offer the best of Big Mail’s newsletter features as a standalone service where we control both the frontend and backend, ensuring a great experience every time.

It also allowed us to experiment with news-specific features that didn’t make sense by themselves in Big Mail.

Big Mail + Big News

Big Mail continues to be our primary focus, with significant updates on the way that will address several compatibility and reliability issues, as well all adding much-requested features like custom Scenes and improved notifications. We’ll have more to share on this real soon.

And as a thank-you to all of our Big Mail customers, we’ll be including Big News Max as part of your existing subscription at no extra cost. This will apply to existing customers as well as new Big Mail customers going forward.

Big Mail Feed Screenshots of Big New’s reader mode + The Following tab

Beta now available

Big News for iOS is now in beta (request access here), with plans to launch fully on the App Store later this year. We also have a Mac edition of Big News which will follow shortly after.

One final thing: Big News will be free to use – something we’re really excited about. And if you’re really enjoying the app, you can upgrade to unlock additional features with Big News Plus and Big News Max. You can find out more on the Big News website.

We can’t wait to see what you think!

Big Mail March Update

25 March 2021

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Hello! It’s been a while since I’ve posted an update, so I wanted to share the latest news on Big Mail, in particular where we’re at and when you can expect to get your hands on it.

Early in January we began rolling out the Mac release to a small group of beta testers. Our main goal was to see if our brand-new mail engine (aptly named CoreMail) worked.

Now if you’re developer who’s ever worked with email, you know first-hand how fiddly and complicated email can be, and what a wild west of standards it is. Nearly all of our development time went into fixing encoding and connection issues, which meant we had less time than we would have liked to work on actual features. This was incredibly painful!

The good news is we’ve rooted out most of the rendering problems with CoreMail now, and development has once again turned back to features and the Big Mail interface.

We’ve spent the past month working on the iOS release, in particular the iPhone version. This has seen a major reworking of the interface to make Big Mail really sing on mobile. We experimented with a lot of designs (and actually ended up building a lot of them too) to see what felt right. After trying out tab bars, jump menus, and more, we’ve settled on something that in hindsight is obvious: a feed.

Big Mail Feed The Big Mail feed on iPhone

The Big Mail feed is fully customisable, so you can prioritise what’s important to you. Each Scene has a distinct and fully interactive preview of your messages, with the ability to jump right into them.

Not only that, but the feed adapts around your workday, sinking conversations after hours and raising fun reads instead (again, completely customisable and up to you). We think you’re really gonna love this.

Big Mail Feed Customise the feed how you want

We also reworked “Reader Mode” to look and work great on mobile too. Newsletters and Notifications look awesome:

Big Mail Feed “Reader Mode” on iPhone - let there be colours!

So when can you expect to get Big Mail? Like most people and businesses we’ve also been grappling with the effects of Covid, so we’re still unable to commit to a specific release date. I know this will be disappointing, but as we’ve always said we’ll only ship something we’re confident in, and we’re just not there yet.

We’ll be inviting more people to the beta shortly (sorry we’re unable to answer every email and DM about beta requests). Just know we’re going as fast as we can (whilst also trying not to break anything). We know this is important, and we want to get it right.

Finally I’ll be sharing a full product walkthrough soon, showing you everything as well as explaining the philosophy and thinking behind Big Mail.

As always thank you for your continued enthusiasm and excitement for Big Mail!

Phill

Hi new company, who dis?

10 November 2020

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After more than a decade of building things for other people, I’m going full-time with my new adventure: The Not So Big Company! Let me tell you more about it.

Late last year I launched a little side project to help me with prototyping called Sheety. It quickly reached number one on Product Hunt (twice) and struck a chord with a small group of people. Fast forward to today and Sheety has thousands of customers and is serving up terabytes of data each month. Needless to say Sheety has become more than just a little side project!

I never sat down and planned Sheety, nor did I think it would prove so popular. This happy little accident made me wonder: what if I explored other not-so-big ideas like Sheety? What if instead of spending my time convincing investors or clients to do something, I could spend my time convincing the only people that really matter: customers.

So I did what any other sane and rational person would do during a pandemic and global recession: I quit my job. I guess now I won’t have to wonder. The Not So Big Company will act as an umbrella to explore these new ideas, and Sheety will now simply be a product of The Not So Big Company.

But “Not So Big” is more than just a name to me. I’ve always admired independent app developers like Marco Arment and small development shops like Panic – they’re able to accomplish a lot with not a lot. And because they’re self-funded they don’t have to worry about fundraising or creating huge returns for investors: they just focus on building the best possible products, for ideas that they think deserve to exist. In a world dominated by ‘Big Tech’ this feels particularly refreshing!

So that’s all for now. I’m hard at work on Not So Big’s debut adventure (or second depending how you’re counting): Big Mail. More on that soon. Be sure to follow @NotSoBigCompany on Twitter to come along for the ride.

See you soon!

Phill