"Oh, great, another whoshisface on the Internet is asking for my email address."
That will be the sincere reaction of exactly zero people to the news that, today, I am launching a little email whatsit called Pizza.
You are reading the first delivery (get it?) now, which is also available on the Web. And you can read a broader description of what I'm going for over here.
Let's get started.
First things first: the name. It's called Pizza and that is not meant to be clever. Pizza and email are two things that make me happy. So, let's call some emails pizza and maybe those good vibes will seep into the
Email. Why email? Maybe it's the last safe place. Maybe it's the last stream beyond the reach of The Algorithms, the last Web service that really belongs to us.
Email is the most beautiful of dumb pipes, the perfect evolution of pneumatic tubes. Information delivered in a near instant, pushing bits over wires where we used to push cans over compressed air. One of the most successful, accessible, and durable technologies that we have to show for The Computer Age. The world's largest social network.
In a few wonderful ways, email feels like the Web. We know how it works. We trust it. We can explain it to each other. It's not a product. It's not a brand. It is email, useful and universal.
But, unlike the web, emails can be finished.
The words that I write here are complete. I cannot take them back or amend them. I fling these bits out into the world and they are no longer under my control. Everyone reads their own copy. How exciting it is to click send and let the machinery do its work, replicating and delivering.
Not unlike the machinery of a pizza shop, replicating and delivering. Sending out finished copies.
I love pizza. I love that we knead it into circles and slice it into triangles.
I love that it can function as the literal centerpiece of a meal. A communal box in the middle of a table, reachable from any angle.
Or, if I have no one to share it with, I can buy just a single slice. The pizza will find seven strangers and distribute the rest of itself. Think of the people we've unknowingly split meals with: little, accidental, anonymous communities having dinner together. Sharing triangles, walking in different directions.
And that's what I'm going for here. No dough, no tomato, no cheese, just words in an email that you can read alone, but also together.
Pizza isn't fancy, exciting food. Email isn't fancy, exciting technology. For many, definitely for me, pizza is comfort food. And doesn't that feel just right? Email is comfort technology.
That's it. That was the first attempt. I hope you'll join me for the next.