How we got into email and how to keep it diverse with Jay Oram of ActionRocket

Email’s Not Dead: Season 5, Episode 5

How we got into email and how to keep it diverse with Jay Oram of ActionRocket

Email's Not Dead

About this episode:

If you’re a part of the email community, you know for a fact that it's a very diverse group of people. That’s why on this episode we wanted to sit down and ask everyone to share a bit of their backgrounds and how we all landed in email. Chances are you literally fell into this career and now you love it. Join our friends Jay Oram, Head of Dev at ActionRocket with our own Megan Boshuyzen, Sr. Email Developer from Sinch Email on Acid, and listen to this tell all episode of how we ended up in email, why we want everyone to have a seat at the table, and how you can get involved in the email industry. Email’s Not Dead is a podcast about how we communicate with each other and the broader world through modern technologies. Email isn’t dead, but it could be if we don’t change how we think about it. Hosts Jonathan Torres and Eric Trinidad dive into the email underworld and come back out with a distinctive look at the way developers and marketers send email.

Meet your presenters

Jonathan Torres

Jonathan Torres

Manager of the TAM team at Sinch Mailgun

Eric Trinidad

Eric Trinidad

Technical Account Manager II at Sinch Mailgun

Jay Oram

Jay Oram

Head of Development at ActionRocket

Megan Boshuyzen

Megan Boshuyzen

Sr. Email Developer at Sinch Mailgun and Sinch Mailjet


Email’s Not Dead - S5, Ep. 5: How we got into email and how to keep it diverse with Jay Oram of ActionRocket



Eric Trinidad: Welcome to Emails Not Dead, the podcast for email geeks by email geeks. My name is Eric and with me as always is my ambassador of Quan JT. What is up, sir?


Jonathan Torres: Not a lot. Well, I mean, there's always a lot going on, but you know, today right now it's a nice chill time getting ready to have some good conversations. So it's good.


Eric Trinidad: Yeah. I'm excited about today. You know, it's been a while since we recorded you know, an episode and, you know, I just wanted to know, like, where do you come from? What's going on? So where are we going? What have we done? How do we all get here? All those questions will be answered in a lot more. We have two friends of the podcast with us today. Meg Buschhausen from Email On Acid and Sinch doing all the things. She's the senior email developer. Meg, welcome back.


Megan Boshuyzen: Thank you. Hello. Hello. It's great to be back.


Eric Trinidad: Great to have you back. And Jay Oram from Action Rocket. He's the head of dev over there. Jay, how are you, sir?


Jay Oram: I'm good. Thank you. Very good.


Eric Trinidad: Excellent. Great to have you. Well, I'm super excited you know, to talk about all things email and where we've all come from. I think we all have like a really big, swath of like people in the email space and they've all come from like different backgrounds. Like I don't come from a technical background. My schooling was more I don't want to say of the streets. Actually it was the other way. Like I come from like I'm a psych major sociology, anthropology was mostly stuff that I went to school for you know. So how did I get into email? Like we'll talk about that. JT, what about you, man?


Jonathan Torres: School, what is school? Yeah I'm one of those weirdos who did not do a lot of school. I did a little bit, I kind of started going down the career path which I'm not going to go into right now, but it was definitely very different than like technology and anything like that. And I stopped like kind of halfway through like life, just kind of caught up to me and started doing a bunch of stuff. So, it was really just a lot of odd jobs that I've had before this and we'll get more into it now. I definitely wanna hear more from my guests, but yeah I'm one of those guys who does not have a college degree and somehow ended up still being in a fairly decent spot. And thankfully this industry does allow for that kind of stuff. So I think it's one of the things we definitely wanted to get into. But yeah it's a little bit of just starting to peek into the background.


Eric Trinidad: Yeah, for sure. Meg, how long have you been an email.


Megan Boshuyzen: Well, it's an interesting question.


Eric Trinidad: Yeah.


Megan Boshuyzen: Because email full time, five years ish, but email as a part of my general responsibility, Oh gosh, since 2008 ish was when I designed my first email. So it's always kind of been there on the outskirts of my general work responsibilities. And then I kind of ended up falling into it. Fulltime and here I am.


Eric Trinidad: Right on. Did you go to school for email or not for email, but like anything in regarding technology or?


Megan Boshuyzen: Does anybody go to school for email? We know that answer is no. So I grew up in the suburbs between Boston, Massachusetts and Providence, Rhode Island, in a little town you may or may not know called Foxborough, Massachusetts, where the no longer dynasty of the New England Patriots play. I literally grew up through the woods from Gillette Stadium and like watching a Patriots game. You could like hear the crowd. I'm like, Oh, First down or oh touchdown and then like a couple of seconds later we'd see it on the TV and then like after they'd win we'd run outside and watch fireworks and stuff so that's where I grew up and I traveled out to Western, Massachusetts to Springfield College and I thought I was gonna be a physical therapist. I spent quite a bit of time in PT rehabbing my knee after tearing my A. C. L. playing soccer. And I was like, Oh, physical therapy is awesome. This is great. This is what I'm gonna do. And then I got in there and my first semester of college was terrible. And I did terribly in all the science classes. But, I always spent a lot of time photoshopping. And everybody loved my designs. So I ended up switching into the graphic design program there. Which is interesting at Springfield College, because they're known as a science school. Like in where I live in Connecticut, and if you're in Western Mass, like you can throw a rock around anybody in a PE setting, gym setting, science setting, and you're going to hit somebody who went to Springfield College. That is what they are known for. PTs, PAs, gym teachers. So I went through their graphic design program. I designed my first email in 2008 at a graphic web design internship. And from there I graduated. I worked a web development job, but I really had no business working. I was so bad at web development. Straight out of school, like didn't really know what I was doing, but I told the interviewer that I could code HTML by hand and she was like, great. Hired. So I coded my first email there. It went horribly wrong. It was terrible. I had no idea what was going on. I did not know about email testing, did not know best practices. I sent out a lot of image only emails and I said, I'm never touching email again. I hate this. I'm going to be a senior graphic designer. I'm going to be a creative director. I'm gonna do all these amazing graphic design things. And then 2007 happened. I got a new job that was half web development front end stuff, half email stuff. And they said, this is two jobs in one. You're going to do both for now. You will choose which direction you want to go. We'll hire in the other direction. And I was like, great, I'll get my web skills back up to par. I can go into web development and the exact opposite happened. I redesigned an email, just like YOLOed it, redesigned an email, quadrupled the stats in one send. And I was like, done. This is what we're doing. This is awesome. So here we are. Yeah. Code and emails.


Eric Trinidad: That's perfect. What about you, Jay? How long have you been in the email space? You know, what's your background, where do you come from?


Jay Oram: Yeah. So full time email development, probably about six years. But before that I was just doing digital marketing. So, I'll start from the very beginning. So, working class, went to crappy schools, didn't do very well. Kind of did my best as what I could but it wasn't great. It was a lot of hard work to get anywhere. So it was lots of hard work just to pass. But I made it into university. So I was the first one in my family ever to get to university. So that was kind of an achievement. But I went to do outdoor leadership which so I based myself in the Lake District in the UK, we did climbing mountaineering, canoeing mountain biking, all that kind of stuff. So I did that for three years at university. Never touched a computer really, like, interested in computers, but not like, never did any coding. And then after university, I went and did that as a job. So I did it for about a year and a half. I enjoyed it, but realized that there was no money in it. And one winter, I was really cold and was like, maybe I don't want to do this full time for the rest of my life. And one of my friends had an e-com store where he was selling outdoor gear that they made themselves. And he said, do you want to come pack boxes for us? And yeah, you won't be outside in the cold. So I did that. And that was about around 2012 and when Facebook and Twitter and things like that were just getting started. And as a very small e-com company, as a startup of like three or four people, none of them were interested in it. And I was kind of interested in social media. So I was like, Oh, I'll just do the Facebook page and the Twitter stuff. Got involved with that and then over the next five years at that company they grew tenfold like 50 people. I ended up being the head of digital marketing and covered all of the digital stuff. So I did the website the socials and email was part of that. But we were just using a drag and drop editor. So we was just kind of copying and pasting images and stuff like that and then after that I swapped to a few other companies did some big multinationals. Big digital marketing companies, like head of digital marketing director, that kind of stuff. But realized that I actually hated the marketing part. So I hated the bit where it was like, we need to come up with new stuff every year. We need to do a return on investment. We need to come up with new ideas, all this stuff. It was just constant. And I never felt like it was ending. So I was dabbling in coding emails to try and make them better. And then I joined the email geek Slack group. And while I was there, Elliot Ross put a message up to say that ActionRocket might be hiring someone, but they hadn't really thought about it. So I dropped him a message and was like, I can just about code an email with tables that's not very responsive. Could I come and join? And I went for an interview and later on, he told me that actually he wanted me to be head of marketing for Taxi for Email. But I full on was like no, I definitely don't want to do marketing. That is not where I want to go. I want to code. So he hired me as a junior coder. I took a massive pay cut and was like, no, this is what I'm going to do. I'm going to learn this. And the team there were awesome. And my manager that hired me, India knew so much about email that I learned so much. And because it was an agency setting I got so many projects from so many different places and so many different ESPs and loads of different types of code. And then I think that just kind of, like, skyrocketed my learning. Yeah, and I found a good few people that taught me some stuff. There was a guy called Chris who created the SuperMalQuest, which was a really interactive kind of game. He came and joined us for a little while. So I was working with him for a little while and learned loads from him. And then, yeah, lots of other kind of projects like that came along. And then, yeah. Over five, six years, I'm now managing a team of five and doing all the code, handling all the code, web, email, SMS, push, everything, so yeah, it's kind of cool.


Eric Trinidad: That's awesome, man.


Jonathan Torres: Those are great. I love how wide range like things can like happen and how it changes. I know like for me and again like I gave a little preview earlier. But yeah, like when I didn't go to school, I was doing a bunch of odd jobs and like, I knew I liked technology. So I was just trying to break into technology itself, like just in general, what can I do that's doing that kind of stuff. Like my very first job was like with my dad. It was like an unofficial job and that was like polishing vacuum cleaners with like a high speed polisher to like refurbish them. That was fun. I worked at a golf course doing like golf cart management, like teeing up the golf carts for a golf course, like making sure they're ready and prepped ready to go for people to just jump on there and go. That's the kind of jobs that I was doing. And then I did screen printing. I did like a lot of screen printing stuff. Like where I was doing like almost everything from beginning to end from like doing some shirt design to actually setting up printers. Setting up the screen printers, doing the print jobs. I did that through the Spurs championships here in San Antonio. So like if anybody's a basketball fan, like the disperse, like the newspaper would do like a huge print. So like if you walk to any grocery store, like they had like t shirts that they would like, Hey, get this free t shirt. You know, if you sign up for the newspaper right after the Spurs would win the championship or had won the championship. I printed all of those. Like it was a thousands and thousands of shirts. That was a heck of a lot of fun. So that was like my background more than anything else. And I was like, I am done doing this kind of stuff. It's hot, it's sweaty. It's so much manual labor. Like I need to do something else. And that's when I really started looking more at like a different industry, seeing what else I could do. I did valet for a little bit at one of the hotels here downtown. So it was all over the place. And then I'd landed into doing iPod, iPad, and iPhone repair way back in the day. So iPods were still super popular. Changing out batteries, fixing logic boards you know, doing a lot of soldering work. And I was like, this is my ticket. From here I'm going to go work for Apple. And right when Apple gave me like the big call saying like, okay, cool. Like we think you're doing it. My buddy was like, no come to this other company. That's going to do some tech stuff. And actually it's one of the ones here in San Antonio. It was Rackspace doing a lot of support type stuff. And it actually landed me in the email department, which is really cool. So it was a lot of introduction into seeing the inbox side of things. And I mean, that's like, you know, grandma calling up saying like, you know, I need access into my email. Why isn't my email working? And it's like, cool, what do you see right now? And it's like my computer won't turn on. I was like, great. Like let's go from step one. So you know, it was a lot of stuff that taught me a lot. It taught me a lot of that side of the industry, but really just taught me a lot about email just in general. And that ended up like leading me hear, which is, super nice. Deliverability is a whole different monster, I think and a fun part of it, but I really enjoy deliverability now, but having so much background, first of all, on the support side, like in email related stuff has been awesome. I think just so much of the other things that I've done have always been support related and kind of like understanding a little bit of that, I think has just helped me a lot on how to communicate about email to customers, to people that are in the industry to really like, you know, hash out a lot of this stuff. And I think that's been the major part of like the background that's like been able to like bring over into this role and into this job and kind of like be able to figure out. I'm kind of interested to hear like and everybody else what they feel like they've been able to like plug into from all those crazy like different backgrounds that ends up coming through like I mean, you know even from the outdoor stuff from Jay. Like does it help like is there a Zen moment that you can find? You know doing the dev stuff that relates the same way like to being outdoors because I know that's where I always feel it.


Jay Oram: Go on, go Megan. Who's going?


Megan Boshuyzen: JT, it's so funny that you mention Apple because in between my web dev job, and then I had like a graphic design job, and then I worked for the non profit where I started doing email. I actually worked in Apple retail for two years.


Jonathan Torres: Oh, nice. Yeah.


Megan Boshuyzen: And I started as a salesperson. They called them the specialist. Then I moved to what they called the family room, which is where all the tech support and like the creatives who were teaching people. I don't know if they still do that, if they do the creative stuff anymore. And I was what was called a family room specialist. So I would repair people's mobile devices. I didn't touch computers, but I would repair mobile devices. So I do iPhones, iPads. Pads, iPods, and then I'd also teach people how to use all their products. And I eventually became a creative. That's its own whole thing. That I won't go into here, but I eventually became a creative there and just taught people full time how to use their computers for a little bit before I left for a graphic design gig. So I think that's really funny that we kind of share that similarity of working in fixing Apple devices at one point in our lives.


Jonathan Torres: It's awesome. Around when I was doing it, it really was you know, still like one of the Holy grail of tech jobs, you know, that people really wanted to do because it was just cool and it was fun and it was like interesting to do that kind of stuff. And I think that's why I was like, okay, I'm gonna do that. I'm gonna go there.


Megan Boshuyzen: Yeah. Like I remember I applied to get a job at iTunes and I tried to apply to corporate a couple of times, and it was like one of those things where you had to work in the retail company for like a real long time before they would take you over to corporate. And I was like, yeah, I'm not hanging around for this. Yeah. I'm gonna move on.


Jonathan Torres: Do you feel like, like any of those skills like translated into like what you're doing now with like the design stuff? Like, I mean, I still even to this day appreciate like Apple's overall design of things. Like I just, I like that kind of stuff. And I feel like, I mean, that just directly relates whenever I look at stuff.


Megan Boshuyzen: I feel like the aesthetic affected me a lot. And the funny thing is that when I worked my graphic design job, my boss there at the time was like obsessed with apple's aesthetic and his whole thing. And I learned a lot about branding from him. Cause that was my first and really only like corporate graphic design job. And he was always like, when people look at our ads, I want them to know it's us, even if our logo like isn't there, you take away the logo. You still know it's us just like Apple. You look at an Apple ad, you don't need the logo there to know it's them. Now we were a car group that was regional to New England. I don't know if we would have ever accomplished that. But it was one of those things that always kind of stuck with me is make your branding so good that even if your logo is not there, then people are going to recognize who you are.


Eric Trinidad: Yeah.


Jonathan Torres: Yeah. That's awesome. That's a great lesson for it. Like, I think it still applies like even to today, like when it's possible, that's awesome.


Megan Boshuyzen: Yeah, for sure.


Jonathan Torres: What about you, Jay?


Jay Oram: Well, I was like surprised when Megan was saying like working in the family room and you were saying like working with people and supporting them. Like that was basically the joy that I got from working in the outdoors was working with people and helping them achieve things and do that kind of stuff. So that was, and I think that's carried over the whole way through. So yeah, I went and did a post grad in digital marketing to learn how to kind of do it. And then that meant I could learn like to teach other people how to do it. And then in management roles, I found that the most enjoyment I get is from teaching other people. And then I think Megan knows as well. Like I'm always on Email Geeks trying to help people. I'm quite happy to like jump on and share a screen with people. So I probably enjoy teaching people how to code more than I do code sometimes. So yeah, that's kind of, yeah, I think that's a common trend among people as well.


Eric Trinidad: The whole community is super open and just friendly and just really I feel like inviting and really about knowledge sharing which has, you know, been awesome you know, from my background. You know, after college, I was actually in snail mail for a while, like processing insurance claims you know, for one of the major insurance providers here in San Antonio. So I dealt with the snail mail side while I was moving to digital. So, it was kind of crazy working. That was my first interaction with, with mail into email form. But then like through college, I was like, well, maybe I'll go back to school. Maybe I'll go, you know, do some more things. But I was moonlighting as, you know, a bouncer downtown. At the, at this jazz bar downtown. So, I ended up working there full time while I was still trying to figure it all out. And then from there I was like, you know what? I need to get out of this business. It's awesome. But you know, it's definitely taken a toll on me. So, I actually started working for the state for adult protective services which is completely random and out there and you know, got to go to state run facilities and mental health care places and adult daycares looking at, you know, outcries for abuse and stuff. You know, which really kind of, introduced me into a whole different realm of people and folks that are out there that just kind of need help. And you know, kind of really helped open up my empathy and sympathy for others that are looking for help. And then right after that I was about to get certified and I went to Rackspace. And that's where I met JT and we were both in the support game for a really long time. So, and one thing led to another and here we are. So it's really kind of random how we all ended up here. But I think the end all be all here is just that everybody, although from aggressively different backgrounds, have like a really great feeling with each other and just overall, just really out there and outgoing and helpful.


Megan Boshuyzen: I think people who end up in email in general, at least from my experience seemed to have a really large empathy muscle where they can relate to other people really well and I feel like that's why so many of us like gel together. It's just we all can understand how other people feel even if we don't have the same backgrounds, we come from different countries, but like we can always find those things that are the same and we can always kind of just understand each other. I feel like almost on a different level that we're just like open to helping each other and whatnot. That's always something I've noticed with people, especially in the email geeks community in particular that I know everyone kind of has in common.


Jay Oram: Yeah, we've all bashed our head against the wall for 10 hours trying to fix a problem in outlook. We all completely understand how we all feel about that? Yeah, well, yeah, we all know.


Jonathan Torres: I completely agree with that because it's also one of those things that I think at a certain level. And at some point, if you're in this industry, you also have to really empathize with the recipients of these messages, you know, and you have to have respect of what's going on across the board. And I think for all of us that have been here for a while that have like said, okay, this is a good home, you know, as far as like career and with what we're doing. It's very much a, you have to be respectful to those that you're sending to, but then that brings in so much respect to everybody else in the community, you know, and I think we're all after that same goal of just making sure that it's happening and happening in a good way and the right way. And I think that just leads to so many other things. And I completely agree with Jay, and Eric who had the same thing of you know, being a teacher. I particularly love to teach and I love to, you know, if I can like help impart knowledge, at least, you know, a little bit from what I have I enjoy it. I definitely get a joy out of that. And I think there's so much that does have to happen in the email industry overall, where teachable moments across the board, deliverability and otherwise, like when it comes to the coding stuff, when it comes to the dev stuff, when it comes to development, when it comes to even the customers that I know we interact with on the support side of the house, whenever we're talking directly to customers, like there's a lot that you have to do that, and having that empathy to do it, having that want and desire to impart knowledge and help somebody out through a situation, like I think it all relates. It's funny because like you know, everybody has those personality tests of, you know, Hey, this is your career path or this is the type of person you are. And not that I subscribe to it being exactly correct all the time for everybody, but one of the ones that like consistently came up for me was like teacher counselor kind of a thing. And I was like, okay, there's gotta be some truth if all of these things are saying that constantly. Let me lean into that just a little bit. And I feel like the more I tried to not do that, the more it just came coming back to it, and I ended up in an industry where I get to do that kind of stuff. And it's like, okay, cool. Like, here we are.


Eric Trinidad: Where do we go from here? I mean, I think we talked about all the things.


Jonathan Torres: First of all, now that Eric has gotten the cough out, you know.


Megan Boshuyzen: I saw Eric was about to cough, so I was letting him do that.


Jonathan Torres: We were waiting, and then he didn't mute at the right time. But it's okay.


Eric Trinidad: Yeah.


Jonathan Torres: We're going to forgive him for that one.


Eric Trinidad: Leave the cough in Thomas. I think that does make a really good transition though into talking about meeting up in person meeting up in real life. And I think it's one of the things that I think is really cool about the industry is because of the collaboration that we get to have like across the board and everybody's willing to do that and open to doing that kind of stuff, doing things like the meetings. I don't want to call them all out because.


Jonathan Torres: I'm jealous of the one that you get to go to, you know, so it's like it's one of those things It's very circular. But I mean there is those opportunities to do that right like to get out there. Meet with people meet with other people in the industry. Our competitors even like that are doing the same kind of stuff that we are and to be able to like talk and communicate about that stuff like I really like the collaboration that we have out there. I mean, I don't want to talk too much about the one I got to go to. But like, it's fun to do it. I love collaborating. I love coming up with the ideas of like how we're doing this, how we're treating the industry and what's going on. Jay, Megan, what do you know, what do you want to say about the stuff that you get to get out to?


Megan Boshuyzen: I love going to conferences. I'm going to unspam in like a little over a week. Thomas is going to be there too. I'm so pumped. I haven't seen Thomas. Well, I don't think I've ever seen any of you in person except for Thomas, I think. And it's been two years for him. So I'm very excited to see people. But yeah, unspam always great. I wanted to go back to that comment about how we all collaborate with each other, even, like, if someone's a competitor. Cause one of the, like, jokes I make all the time, one of my very best friends in the whole wide world is Carin Slater, who works for Litmus. And we were friends before she started there and I started here. But like currently on LinkedIn, like we've been trading like really sarcastic comments back and forth about how fast we can code an email. And it's really funny. But it's like, We'll talk email dev sometimes. We mostly don't talk about email stuff when we're together. But like we will trade tips every once in a while or talk about how fast we can code an email. And I love that we all can be that open because just the email industry is so small that like there's no room to really be mean to people or say, I'm not going to talk to that person. They're the competition slash people change jobs and all that jazz. So yeah, so like, I'll be seeing her at unspam and a bunch of other people. So I am just so excited. I love working remote, but it's always nice to see people in person every once in a while to get that FaceTime and collaboration in, I think like those just small moments you can just accomplish and learn so much.


Thomas T:Thomas T-Bird Knierien [00:23:03] I want to see Jay. I've done stuff with Jay for like three years now, like four years now. I'm like, man, when am I going to see you in person?


Jay Oram: I know, the dates just are never lining up. It's never happening.


Megan Boshuyzen: They never line up.


Eric Trinidad: The universe is against y'all.


Jay Oram: Yeah. It's like two conferences, like Meg's talking at one in a month or so. I think the inbox one.


Megan Boshuyzen: Yeah. I'm speaking at Inbox Expo in May.


Jay Oram: So I was lined up to do that and then things didn't work out this side, so I couldn't go. Unspam, I already had a holiday booked and couldn't go. And then, yeah, so it's just nothing's lined up and it's so close. Yes. But there's only a few in the UK so we don't seem to have as many conferences as you guys over in the US. But I did manage to get over to Litmus Live in Boston for the first time. So that was the first time I've ever been to America and I went and spoke at the conference. Met loads of email geeks in person that I'd never met for like, yeah, I've been speaking online for years and never met. So that was cool. But yeah, there's definitely every single time in a US conference comes up, I apply to speak just so I can come over and then fingers crossed Megan's going to be there as well and then we can actually meet in person.


Megan Boshuyzen: One day.


Jay Oram: One day, it will happen.


Megan Boshuyzen: I haven't met you, I haven't met Mark. I owe you two a lot because you bail me out all the time.


Thomas T:Thomas T-Bird Knierien [00:24:12] But that's the point though, that's something I would say all of us in this group and in this room, this virtual room, we all have mentors. We all have people that we look up to. We all have people that we reach out to. JT's been a mentor to me since day one. Nick Schaefer, our head, our delivery director and all y'all. I know everyone has a go to person that we reach out to and that could be, and a lot of them too are in competitors, but it's like you guys teach us everything that we want. And we look up to you. So it's like, it's so just close knit, but yeah.


Megan Boshuyzen: I remember one of the first times that I talked to Jay and I talked to Mark and I was like, Jay Oram and Mark Robbins are speaking to me. Like, what? Jay's going to be like, what the heck Meg? I was like, Oh my gosh, they're willing to help me. And yeah, every time I do an interactive email, I push it a little bit further and I don't know what I'm doing. And then they have inevitably done it before. And then this past build, I thought I learned something from Mark that Jay didn't know. And that was not, and I was very excited. I was like, Jay! I learned this thing! I learned this thing! And Jay was like, oh, yeah, I do that. I do that all the time. And I'm like, aw.


Jay Oram: But you definitely like push things all the time, which is really cool.


Megan Boshuyzen: Try.


Jay Oram: And like, the audio tag when you did the music when you did your MySpace email.


Megan Boshuyzen: Oh yeah. I had you test that for me, because it wasn't working for me, but it was working for you.


Jay Oram: We've never had a chance to like actually do it for a client. We've always had it like in our back pockets, like, oh, we may be able to do this, we might be able to do it. And never managed it and then Meg had an opportunity and we were like, well, I'm gonna figure it out. Yeah. Well, let's see what happens. So that was really cool.


Megan Boshuyzen: I feel like I sent out an email and then I'm like, oh, yeah, we're sending out this like awesome industry breaking email and then like, The BBC put something up on LinkedIn and they're like, Thank you, Action Rocket, for this super cool interactive email. I was asking before we started, I was asking Jay about this TARDIS one that they did for the new season of Doctor Who. And I was just like, Ah, that is so cool. I need to do something like this. It's totally cooler than my email.


Eric Trinidad: Was the email bigger on the inside? Is that what happened?


Megan Boshuyzen: Okay. So the Doctor Who won like literally, okay, so now you're going to get me going. It swiped open. And then it had like, the interactive hotspots, and I've never done interactive hotspots. I've seen you guys do it, Anne Tomlin's done it, I think Alice Lee did it for Litmus like way, way back, like years ago, and I'm just like, I haven't done it yet, I need to do that at some point. But I was just like, oh man, this is super cool, yeah.


Jay Oram: That one was one we were trying to squeeze the audio tag into as well, and we got it all the way to the end.


Megan Boshuyzen: Oh, you could have gotten the whirring?


Jay Oram: Yeah.


Megan Boshuyzen: Oh, that would have been awesome.


Jay Oram: We had it working. And then yeah, literally, Salesforce doesn't allow the audio tag. So, literally, we got to the final moment where we were trying to put it in and it wasn't working. And we were like, oh, it's so close. But yeah, you could have had the sound of the TARDIS while you were in the TARDIS. That would have been epic.


Jonathan Torres: That would have been awesome.


Megan Boshuyzen: That would have been so epic.


Eric Trinidad: Did we gloss over the fact that Megan still has an active MySpace account? Is that what you said?


Megan Boshuyzen: No, it's not an active MySpace account. No. What we did so last year for April Fool's Kim Kirby, our graphic designer, designed a MySpace page. So we did the Email on Acid newsletter. And recoded it like it was a MySpace page and we did the profile like it was Notes from the Dev, which is our web show from email and acid. So we did that and then I threw an audio tag in. I did not have it autoplay because that would just be really cruel but in apple devices you could hit play and it would play the notes from the dev theme So it was so much fun. We had all these like really like lo fi gifs in there. Lots of like Tom Hank s, Meg Ryan romcom references, 'cause Julia loves those movies. A lot of it was like a combo of her personality and my personality. So it was just like, background gifs everywhere, things moving. It was like super ugly. But very circa like 2004, 2003, 2004, MySpace, like I went over to like the way back machine and looked at how they were coding the website at the time to try to mimic as much as I could while keeping the code efficient. Like at one point, like they were still using font elements, which is like super deprecated now. And I was like, I can't do this. This takes way too long. I need to use CSS for this. But yeah, like they were table based all, it was just like real old school HTML. So yeah, that was a really fun build.


Jonathan Torres: Look, all I'm waiting for is for somebody to, you know, really start the trend to bring back mouse trails. Like, that's all I'm asking for. You know, just to see little sparkles go across the screen.


Megan Boshuyzen: I think at one point I wanted to do like a marquee. So I coded my first website in like 2000, 2001 and we just throw like the blink tag in there and marquees in there and, I was making anime websites and we just like throw so much stuff in there. Yeah. I was doing Angel fire. I wasn't on GeoCities, I was doing them on Angel Fire.


Thomas T:Thomas T-Bird Knierien [00:29:06] Speaking of, I guess common thing, are we all millennials too? I think JT, you might be an elder millennial, but.


Jonathan Torres: Yeah, that's where I'm at.


Megan Boshuyzen: I'm on the line of elder and not elder, but I identify with the elder millennial. So that's what I call myself.


Jonathan Torres: Yeah, I'm right on that line because I graduated in 2000. So.


Megan Boshuyzen: Okay. Gotcha.


Thomas T:Thomas T-Bird Knierien [00:29:29] Grandpa millennial. Fun times. But no, that is the one thing, especially like with technology and everything that's happened in the last, you know, 30 years, 40 years, 50 years with email now, it's like, okay, now the millennials, now we are in charge. Now we are the ones that are kind of running the show.


Megan Boshuyzen: Somebody in email geeks, one of like the old school deliverability guys posted a really old forum from like I don't know, 2003, 2004, where it was like all the original guys just arguing about deliverability standards. And I was like, this is stressful to read. You're all yelling at each other about how to send email. But it was so fascinating, though, because like none of the standards today existed yet. They were trying to hash it out. So it was just like, it was so interesting to click on a couple of the little links and you had to follow the replies and the design was very old forums.


Thomas T:Thomas T-Bird Knierien [00:30:22] Deliverability meetups are still the same.


Megan Boshuyzen: It was interesting.


Thomas T:Thomas T-Bird Knierien [00:30:25] I'm going to say that right now.


Jonathan Torres: It's just a lot of arguing.


Megan Boshuyzen: It's a lot of arguing.


Jonathan Torres: I know we're already reaching the top of the hour. So, we're kind of ending the recording time. Eric, is there anything else that we didn't cover or that we need to real quick?


Eric Trinidad: Yeah, actually Meg, you mentioned Notes from the Dev on that side. Do we have anything else coming up?


Megan Boshuyzen: Yeah, so if you haven't watched Notes from the Dev right now we have 11 or, I think 11 or 12 episodes out, and right now there are interviews with people, Jay actually is one of our guests and it's a lot of coding tips and tricks, and there are a couple of more interviewee type series where people go over some of the cooler emails that they've developed. And we will have a new season coming out, we are finishing up our planning. How to make it bigger, better, stronger, because we have the technology. So keep an eye out. I am pumped. We're going to be coming up with some really cool stuff.


Eric Trinidad: Right on. Right on. Great to hear Jay. What do you got going on?


Jay Oram: I'm just really busy at work. That's the normal status quo right now.


Megan Boshuyzen: Agency life.


Jay Oram: Yeah, just keep growing. We keep pushing the boundaries of what's possible and trying to break stuff all the time which is a really fun part of the job. So, yeah, we have a weekly newsletter called Email Weekly where the marketing team allow the devs to do whatever they like which allows us to break everything all of the time. And yeah, but it's a permanent beta, so it's permanently broken. So you'll open it in Outlook, it'll look terrible, but you'll open it in Apple Mail and it'll be super flashy. And then we try and do a balance of both throughout. So yeah, we've got quite a few cool ones of those coming up, some new techniques to share and more blogs to be written about that. So yeah, definitely cool things.


Eric Trinidad: Right on. Good to hear as well. What about any aspiring email geeks out there? Where do you think that they can get started and maybe share some resources that y'all got.


Megan Boshuyzen: The Email on Acid blog has a lot of really great content. So I would definitely start there and check things out. I primarily hang out on LinkedIn nowadays. I kind of got rid of everything else. So like if you're trying to code something and you're following the EOA blog and you run into problems, you can always just shoot me a message on there. Just let me know you need help. And I will respond or if you're in email geeks, I'm in there all the time. So if you have questions, happy to share tips and tricks and all that jazz.


Jay Oram: Yeah. Same. Like email geeks seems to be the center for email coders. So if you've definitely got any problems to shout and yeah, never be nervous about messaging someone like we're all super open. So yeah. Even if you, the Mark Robbins, the God of email, like if you message him, he'll get back to you. Yeah. He'll get back to you pretty quick. So yeah, there's a lot of this on there. So, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. It's like that. Yeah, I would say like lots of like free resources as well around the moment like to start learning as well. So like definitely you can definitely get with the basics quite a few resources out there.


Megan Boshuyzen: Yeah, I would say in the email geeks channel. In the slack group there's the email code channel if you don't ever ask a question. But just watch the questions people are asking and read the solutions. That's actually how I picked up a lot of things that I was just watching that channel. And learning things and just taking it in. So that's something I highly recommend.


Thomas T:Thomas T-Bird Knierien [00:33:33] For future email geeks too as well. There's an email developer side. There's an email deliverability side channel. There's an email marketing side channel. There's a code review channel. There's so many channels within that organization and in that Slack group. I like to call it, it's so punk rock because everyone helps out and takes care of each other. But you're in such a good and encouraging safe space on the email geeks group that I would, we all recommend it no matter what.


Megan Boshuyzen: For sure.


Eric Trinidad: Yeah.


Megan Boshuyzen: Yeah, definitely the best one out of all of them. I've joined some other email focused groups and I end up leaving them most of the time because it's a lot of people who are looking to make a quick buck in any way that they can where the email geeks community and that Slack channel is really invested in email as a whole and how to do it properly.


Eric Trinidad: Yeah, making good citizens of the internet. That's what we're all about.


Megan Boshuyzen: Yeah.


Eric Trinidad: Right on. Thomas, what do we got going on, sir?


Thomas T:Thomas T-Bird Knierien [00:34:21] Well, let's see here. Like Megan said, we've got some more Notes on the Dev episodes coming out. Check that out as well. We'll throw some links on there as well from Email on Acid. And then for our podcast, we're getting ready to wrap up pretty soon. Thank you for joining us this amazing season. So we've got about two more episodes left. But you can follow along at mailgun.com/resources/podcasts. And you can follow along with future episodes as well. And then also keep an eye out and keep an ear out too as well. Email Camp 2024 is coming down the line. It's going to be September 20, oh, I have to find it.


Jay Oram: 24th to 26th.


Thomas T:Thomas T-Bird Knierien [00:34:57] Yes, exactly, Jay.


Speaker undefined: Jay Oram [00:34:58] I know.


Megan Boshuyzen: Jay in with the dates, us we can't remember.. It's fine. I was like, I know one of the dates is the 25th.


Thomas T:Thomas T-Bird Knierien [00:35:08] But yeah, we put the call for speakers out, so if you're interested, please submit a submission. Cause if you wanna speak on email, or omni channel communication, this is the spot, so.


Jay Oram: And they're super friendly, and really helpful, and if you've never spoken before, Thomas, and Megan will help you out no matter what, and yeah, it'll be awesome, trust me.


Thomas T:Thomas T-Bird Knierien [00:35:27] Jay, yeah, Jay's been on there.


Eric Trinidad: Yeah. Awesome, heck yeah. Yeah. Right on where we're looking forward to all the things Jay and Meg, thank you so much. Appreciate your time. It was a pleasure as always and To everybody else. Thanks for hanging out until next time. Have a good one. 

Related resources

Header Image - Predictions & resolutions Sending in 2019

Mailgun’s resident Deliverability Engineer and our Content Marketer review our 2019...

Read more

Strategic Engagement Header Image

Travis Walton is here to explain why you should consider strategic engagement for your email sending strategy...

Read more

Email's Not Dead banner

We got two of the biggest names in deliverability with us this episode, and we had to bend their ears on all the deliverability news from the last six months. There's a lot of news going on right now in the deliverability world, including how Spamhaus is evolving to better...

Read more

Email icon

Get our news and tips every week

Keep me posted! Send me the newsletter – I expressly agree to receive the newsletter and know that I can easily unsubscribe at any time.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

See what you can accomplish with the world's best email delivery platform. It's easy to get started.Let's get sending
CTA icon