MailBots Is Turning Into FollowUpThen Skills

Good by for now, MailBots! 👋🤖

Reilly Sweetland
3 min readSep 26, 2019


After many conversations, experiments and prototypes, we decided to put MailBots on hold and repurpose our work into a powerful, extensible version of our original product, FollowUpThen.


  • We discovered the best MailBot ideas were either “FollowUpThen-shaped” (focused on perfect timing), or utilized only a small part of the platform — usually a part that other ESPs also provided. This new direction plays to our strengths as a time-focused platform.
  • MailBots will live on as an internal tool for FollowUpThen. We may re-release it some day, but we cannot say when.
  • We love FollowUpThen and want to give it the attention it deserves.
  • Focus will make or break a small company. The tensions between our beloved FUT and the MailBots developer community started to mount as we continued down this path, making it clear that we had to make a choice.
  • We are genuinely excited about giving people a sense of freedom by helping them to organize their future. It is a mission that we love.
  • FollowupThen Skills are going to be awesome!

FollowUpThen v3

Many of you MailBots developers are FollowUpThen users already. If you are not, think of it as a universal command line to your future inbox. This becomes very powerful with autocomplete.

It, of course, works everywhere — it’s just an email address. Based on our usage patterns, once you start using it regularly, you are likely to keep using it for a long time.

FollowUpThen v3 (yet to be released) incorporates many of the advancements from our work on MailBots, but in a streamlined and simplified way.

Skills: More Than A Reminder

The new FollowUpThen will allow you to receive more than just an email in your inbox. You will get everything needed to get something done right at the perfect moment to actually do it.

Skills add the equivalent of command line “flags” to the date format. They can also cause a followup to trigger based on an external event (GitHub issue created, etc). Flags are already in limited use. For example:

  • sends a text message with the reminder
  • cancels the reminder is a reply is received
  • keeps reminding you daily until you click "complete"

The new skills framework will allow you to add your own flags that invoke their own actions during creation, or followup. You can publish them, share them within your company or with others.

Your Feedback

I have thoroughly enjoyed the conversations I’ve had with many of you about email productivity, “purely email-based apps” and product development in general. All of these helped to shape this important decision for us.

If you have an idea you wanted to build with MailBots, you may still be able to build it using this the new FollowUpThen Skills API. We’re happy to chat about your idea.

If you have any questions, input or thoughts please just hit reply. These messages go straight to me and I would genuinely love to hear from you.

All the best,

Reilly Sweetland
Founder | FollowUpThen and MailBots (YC 2017)



Reilly Sweetland

Founder of Gopher (YC S17), FollowUpThen, Internet Simplicity (acq 2016), TypeRoom. Productivity enthusiast, autodidact, hacker, nutritionist, husband, dad.