There were several really great companies to come out of last year's Y Combinator summer class. One of them is Xobni which launched yesterday at TechCrunch 40. I've had the pleasure of getting to know Adam and Matt, the two founders of Xobni, and they were kind enough to give Andrew and I a preview of Xobni's outlook plug-in.
I am going to let Andrew tell you what he thinks himself. But it's safe to say that we are both blown away. I realize that many of you don't use Outlook anymore and have moved on to Gmail or some other better way to do mail.
But for those of us stuck in email hell in Outlook, Xobni is showing a way out. They start with the notion that your email usage is a social network, possibly the most accurate social network you have. Xobni looks at the way you use your email (who you message with, who you reply to, who you cc, etc) and it creates a social graph with that data.
Then it uses that social graph to make Outlook smarter.
Here's a few ways it can instantly help you be more productive.
1 - it pulls phone numbers out of sig files and displays them when you are looking at a person's email
2 - it knows who you haven't been in touch with in a while and might want to shoot an email to
3 - it shows the email and document history for the person's email you are looking at.
I've just started using Xobni and I love it. The service is now in private beta. Matt gave me 25 invites. So if you are in Outlook hell and need some help, send me an email (my email address is located on the left sidebar) and I'll get you one. But first come, first serve. I only have 25.
UPDATE: I've run out of invites. In fact, I got 40 requests before I got to the office today. I am hoping to get more, but at this point I am out of invites.