Outlook Optimization With Xobni

xobni logo

Found a potentially extremely cool plugin for Outlook called Xobni, that would make Outlook a much more powerful tool.

I have been looking for ways to improve the utility of my email client lately. It started with a quest to reduce the power that my inbox has over me. This quest has morphed into finding ways to make my email client more useful.

Xobni is a plugin for Outlook that provides some unique capabilities. You can watch the demo video to hear it in their own words, but in short, it appears to

  • Infer the relationships between people with whom you exchange emails, providing improved ways to “find someone” – something along the lines of automating your contact management for you.
  • Easily see the most recent discussion threads with any person.
  • Easily see the documents that have been exchanged with any person.
  • Improve searching within your email archives.
  • Provide detailed analytics about your email

Xobni is currently an invite-only beta. That means it’s free, but you have to get an invite from them. To get an invite, all you have to do is ask (by providing your email address). Once you’ve requested an invite, the folks at Xobni provide three ways to get bumped to the top of the list, so that you get an invitation even sooner. I guess the list is “first come first serve”, except for those people who help them get the word out.

  1. When you request an invite to Xobni, they give you a link you can forward to friends. When your friends click on the link and ask for an invite, you get bumped up. The link has a “friend code” in it.
  2. They want to test some specific scenarios, so they ask a couple questions (how many CPUs do you have, how much email do you get per day, etc). If you answer those questions, and your system matches whatever it is they want to test, you get bumped up.
  3. You can put a badge on your blog (like the one in our sidebar). When two or more people click on that link, and then sign up, you get bumped up.

If you want to help me get bumped up, so that I can use, test, and review Xobni sooner rather than later, then click on the link in our sidebar, or click on it here. This link gives me (Scott) “credit” for a referral if you then request an invite. It does not give me any cash or anything – but it may help.

Xobni Conga Line

Instead of having everyone click on my link, we can do something called a “conga line” – so that everyone here helps each other get an invite sooner rather than later. Here’s how it works.

  1. The first person clicks on the link (from this post, or from the sidebar) and signs up for a free invitation to the invite-only beta program.
  2. That person will then get their own link from Xobni (that they can use to get bumped up, as described above).
  3. That person can then add a comment to this article. That person should include their friend link to Xobni in the comment.

You can just cut and paste the link, so it looks like (the example below shows my friend link)


But if you really want to make it easy for everyone else, you may want to make that link clickable. To do that, you want to enter it as follows:

<a href=”http://www.xobni.com/friend/MTA2MjQx”>http://www.xobni.com/friend/MTA2MjQx</a>

This will make it really easy for other people to use your friend-link to sign up – giving you the credit.

The (Slightly) Tricky Part

Normally, that’s all you do to make a Conga Line work. However, Xobni wants you to get them two referrals before they bump you up. That’s ok – it is just slightly trickier for us.

The second person (when there’s only one comment on this article) should also use the link from this article, and then post their comment just like the first person.

Everyone Else

Ok, it is pretty easy for everyone else. However many comments there are when you decide to sign up, divide that number by two, round down (if needed), and click on the link from the comment that has that number.


  • If there are currently 2 comments, you will divide by two, and click on the link from comment #1.
  • If there are 3 comments, divide by two (3/2=1.5), round down, and click on the link from comment #1.
  • If there are 10 comments, you will divide by two, and click on the link in comment #5.
  • If there are 11 comments, divide by two, round down, and click on the link in comment #5.

This way, as many people who read Tyner Blain as possible will get bumped up in the Xobni queue.  And based on what we all do, we need this more than other people [grin].  And they need us to stress test it and provide feature requests. If you don’t want to join in, just go to the site directly. If you don’t want to mess with the math – just click here and I’ll get extra credit.

One thought on “Outlook Optimization With Xobni

  1. I’ve been using Xobni for about two weeks now and I’m not sure that I am getting much use out of it. I have used it a few times to find emails that I knew were from a particular person and I like the recent email and attachment elements, but I just don’t think I remember to use it all of the time when I could.

    I plan to continue with it for a while, as I know that my old habits die hard (http://www.theproductologist.com/index.php/2008/04/16/follow-up-on-the-cornell-note-taking-method/).

    I have 5 invites for anyone who is interested. Send me an email (xobni@theproductologist.com).



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