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Signed up for HEY

Written on February 7, 2021

Tonight, I signed up for an email account with HEY–an email service by Basecamp.

The need to consolidate

At this time I have four Gmail accounts that I use for various services–I’m not proud of this fact. For a while now I felt the need to consolidate them.

While I’ll likely keep a single Gmail account in the consolidation process, it won’t be my main personal email. My new HEY email will be.

The reason to keep at least one Gmail account is that my wife is still a Gmail user and we share things like a calendar together.

Why pay for email?

As life gets more complex as an adult, I feel more of the need to pay for the services that I use. This is because I want more control over the privacy of the information that has to do with me and is about me.

I already pay for email for the address that’s tied to my site’s domain so it isn’t too far fetched for me to pay for an email service.

The other reason being, I’ve been a fan of the work coming from the Basecamp team for a very long time and HEY is an opportunity to support them financially.

I get to support the many makers at Basecamp for the impact that they have had on my life

While I don’t personally use Basecamp for task management, I have been both a fan and a recipient of a lot of value from the byproducts created at Basecamp.

The two byproducts that I’ve benefitted from the most are Ruby on Rails and the various forms of the Basecamp podcast–The Distance and now Rework.

Because of the immense value that I’ve received from these two byproducts over so many years, I wanted to in some way pay back the many folks who have contributed to Ruby on Rails and the podcast.

Since I needed a new email service, it felt like a no-brained to sign up for HEY and pay for a subscription.

Because I want to support Basecamp’s work for the long run.


I’ll admit though, while going through the sign up process, I did have some fear creep in and my palms were a little sweaty.

The reason for this was the thought of HEY not being a reliable service crept into my head.

I mean email is one of those things that sticks with you for a very long time. All sorts of important information flows through our email accounts. What if HEY or Basecamp disappeared one day? What if they mess up?

Then I remembered a podcast episode with DHH in which he shared a story when Basecamp genuinely messed up. I can’t remember quite all the details, but in the episode DHH shared how they made a mistake and told their customers that they messed up.

I remember thinking at the time how refreshing that is. For a company to own their mistakes, apologize and then come up with ways to prevent it from happening again.

If Basecamp messes up, be it service reliance issues, I’m sure I’ll get a super human response that explains their decision and how to mitigate any fears or risks. Knowing that I can name off a handful of folks who work at Basecamp is reassuring versus the no-name behemoths who currently dominate the email space.

As for the fear of disappearing one day, I think businesses are similar to organic things. They are born, they grow and one day they might not exist. But it is helpful that Basecamp thinks about going the distance. I mean after all they did produce a (exceptional) podcast once called The Distance which covered businesses that were at least 25 years old.

I believe if the founders of Basecamp decide to call it quits one day, there will be a solid succession plan and that we–their customers–will have a way to carry on. For now, I think they’re in it for the long haul and for this reason, I can trust them as my email provider.

Skipped the trial

Before I could have any other doubts or questions, I decided to just go ahead and pay for a full year of service–foregoing the (generous) two week trial of the service.

“But how do you know if HEY is for you if you didn’t even try it out?” you might be asking right now.

Email is pretty simple and the way all other companies have treated it since I can remember aren’t doing any crazy innovations around it, why not?

What Basecamp is doing with HEY is providing a very opinionated approach to email and I think that’s refreshing. Instead of just providing a new flavor of the same old email. They are trying to help us rethink how email should work.


An opinionated approach that’s supposed to help with the anxiety inducing experience that is email–cool, let’s do it!

Plus if I end up not liking it, it’s just a year for now. I can always cancel and at least feel good that I’ve at least contributed financially to a company that again has provided a ton of value in my life professionally and personally.

How I chose my email address

This was kind of a weird experience for me. When I signed up for an email account in the past, I didn’t really give it much thought. Which is probably why I ended up with four personal email accounts.

But signing up for my HEY account felt akin to trying to grab a sweet name on an up and coming social media account.

I couldn’t decide if I wanted something short and sweet or something easier to say phonetically?

I confess that I initially signed up with an email address with the least amount of letters possible–without paying for a premium account.

While I liked the brevity of the email address, I actually didn’t like how it played out in scenarios in my mind.

The three common scenarios in which I imagined giving out this email where I felt like having a phonetically, easy to spell name was better than my short email choice,

  • Over the phone
  • In person
  • My wife giving it out in either scenarios above

Having to spell out emails addresses are annoying when sharing it with others. So I decided to choose the address that was phonetically easier to say and hopefully spell.

While I was tempted to also sign up with a word that was super common that was still available–coffee@hey.com–I decided to go against it since it really didn’t have any connections to me other than I enjoy it as a hot beverage.

Long road, but excited

While the road ahead in consolidating and getting my personal email accounts in order may be long, I’m excited to be calling HEY the new home for my personal emails.

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