Rodrigo Franco

March 4, 2021

The Bouncer

Even with features like the screener and the split between the Imbox, The Feed, and Papertrail, email is still addictive. I lost count of how many times I opened Hey on a new tab just to see if I had new items from VIP contacts (family, friends, clients, etc). 98% of the time the answer was a big no, but by doing this, I was already inside my mailbox and easily distracted by it.

I had to come up with another layer of protection, and I did that by writing a small chrome extension. I call it The Bouncer.

When I open Hey in my browser, this is what I usually see:


This means there are zero unread emails from VIP Contacts on my Imbox. That's all. I can close the tab and continue with my day. If I really want to get in, I can click on the big zero, and be greeted by something this:


Yes. A simple and crappy javascript-based captcha. If I answer it properly, The Bouncer is defeated and I'm in.

Am I a masochist? No. Am I the owner of a gullible human brain, who will keep reloading a tab to get high on dopamine jolts induced by variable gratification? Yes, and this trick breaks this cycle.

If I have new emails from VIPs, I'm not asked to solve for the captcha. With a click on the counter, I'm on my Imbox.


How are the VIP contacts and threads defined? Anything labeled with the VIP label gets counted. Threads, contacts, domains — you name it.


What do you think? Is that something you would be interested in using? As of right now I'm the only one using it—it was made in less than one hour—but I would be willing to share it.