Superhuman Review: Still Worth It? [2 Year Review]

Superhuman Review

I’ve now been using Superhuman for almost two years.

Here’s the receipt to prove it.

Superhuman 2 year receipt

How has my opinion of the best email client with a wait list of over 450,000 people evolved over time?

Before I get started, do you want a Superhuman invite? Email me. Note: you need a Gmail or Outlook account and must have a Mac.

First off, there’s still no Android app. I’ve been on the wait list for that the entire time I’ve been using it.

So for me Superhuman is still a desktop only experience.

And to be honest my usage of Superhuman hasn’t really changed over time.

I use it for both my personal and work emails.

Its shortcuts and user interface are still best in class.

Here’s a quick list of the latest updates to Superhuman:

  • They’re SOC-2 compliant (important for selling into Enterprise companies)
  • Enabled calendar event creation in any time zone
  • Raised a $75 million Series C in August 2021

You can view the rest of Superhuman’s product updates on their changelog page.

The Superhuman blog is focused on growing their organic search traffic through SEO optimized articles.

The major feature launch I can remember is when they added a Calendar integration, so when you type a date or day of the week it shows your schedule for that exact day.

Superhuman Calendar

They’ve improved calendar over time but I’d love to see them adopt some of Calendly’s features like sharing my calendar availability with a link.

Overall I’m still happy with Superhuman.

I don’t think there’s a better email client out there right now, even after the last two years I’ve been using it.

Read on for my in-depth review of Superhuman.

What Is Superhuman?

Superhuman is an email app that promises to be the fastest email experience ever made. But it comes at a steep cost: it’ll set you back $30/month.

Who would be crazy enough to pay $30/month for an email client?

👋 Hi. My name is Nick and I pay for Superhuman.

Why? Well, let’s talk about it.

Background

Superhuman was founded by Rahul Vohra, who co-founded and sold Rapportive to LinkedIn for a reported $15 million in 2012.

Rapportive was a Gmail extension that added relevant social media details on the person you were emailing, directly within your inbox.

No surprise then that Superhuman has Rapportive-like features inside it.

Superhuman Social Data

Productivity software is exploding in Silicon Valley. Notion, an all-in-one workspace productivity tool, just raised $50 million at a $2 billion valuation.

Superhuman is aimed at a similar group of users, working professionals looking to streamline their workflows to be more efficient at their jobs.

To date, Superhuman has raised over $100 million in funding as of April 2022.

Most start-ups raise funding based on the number of monthly active users, but Superhuman seems to be raising money off of its potential user-base instead. Superhuman uses its massive waitlist to prove there’s demand in the market for it.

But all that demand isn’t worth anything if the product is trash.

And let me tell you, Superhuman is fantastic. It is the best email client I have ever used.

But does that make it worth $30/month?

Getting A Superhuman Invite

Looking for a Superhuman invite? Email me. Note: you need a Gmail or Outlook account on a Mac.

Snagging an invite to Superhuman is not easy. I’ve been on the waitlist since October 2017. I was invited by pure chance.

One of my blog readers uses Superhuman and saw I was on the waitlist. He graciously extended me an invite, but not before warning me about it’s $30/month cost again.

I accepted, and soon I was connected with my onboarding specialist, Michael.

Before Michael could setup our concierge onboarding session where he would walk me through all the features of Superhuman over a 30-minute Zoom call, I first had to fill out a survey of how I currently used email.

The survey asked questions like where I work, what devices and apps I use for email, and how much time I use email every day. Most of the questions are geared around work-related emails, but in my onboarding call we covered both my work and personal accounts.

A few questions later, and after taking my credit card info to ensure I was good for the money, my consultation was scheduled. I was encouraged to download Superhuman ahead of time, but my access wouldn’t be turned on until then.

Superhuman’s Concierge Onboarding

I carved out 30 minutes of my workday at lunchtime for my white-glove, concierge onboarding with Michael from Superhuman. I was feeling a mixture of excitement and bewilderment. How was I going to explain a $30 charge on the credit card to my wife for email software.

I could already imagine the conversation in my head. Does it do anything special besides help you send email?

Well, yes, and no.

Superhuman doesn’t do any of the actual email sending. It connects to your email account, Gmail in my case, and acts as a really pretty, efficient, and shortcut-rich frontend.

Speaking of keyboard shortcuts, you get walked through all of the most popular ones during the onboarding call.

Here’s a screenshot of the Superhuman shortcuts.

Superhuman Shortcuts

My session with Michael started out with him covering my responses to the survey. Then he asked me to share my screen and he walked me through setting up Superhuman for the first time.

The experience was unlike anything I’ve ever had with a piece of software before.

Never before has a real human walked me through my first 30 minutes using new software. Michael’s job, partially scripted as I’m sure he covers the same topics and shortcuts with almost everyone, was to make sure I fully understood the features and shortcuts within Superhuman.

Before we move on, a short note about a few key metrics that SaaS companies track:

  • Sign-ups: Users that sign-up for the product.
  • Paying users: People who paid you money. Many SaaS products have a free trial, so they track how many users upgrade from free to paid.
  • Activations: Users that have crossed an activation threshold. This could be time-based (spent 60 total minutes in-app over the course of X days), or usage-based (sent Y emails over the first Z days).

I now work for Loom , an aysnc video messaging tool for work.

I used to work at Mailgun which is email service provider that helps companies of all sizes send emails. Everyone from hobbyist developers building a side project to companies like Lyft send emails every month.

The difference between Mailgun and Superhuman is that Mailgun actually sends and processes the email. Messages get routed through our servers that are capable of sending billions of emails every month. Superhuman just connects to your Gmail account.

This isn’t a knock against Superhuman. But there is a difference between being an email provider and an email client.

Mailgun, like many software-as-a-service companies, tracks how many users sign-up for our platform, as well as how many users are activated. In our case, we have a specific metric that tracks how a user is activated.

Superhuman is jumping straight from the sign-up step to activation through its hands-on consultation at the beginning of every user’s journey.

Activated users have a higher likelihood of using the product long-term, which translates into a higher lifetime value, or LTV.

I imagine Superhuman’s LTV is much higher than average for SaaS companies because of their unique user onboarding strategy. And also because their price for a professional product is higher than average.

Not many people shell out $30/month for a service, a price that will get you both a Netflix and a Spotify subscription.

My session with Michael was great, but I have to imagine that process is not scalable. What is Superhuman’s strategy for onboarding many users at a time, when they decide they’re ready to open the floodgates and invite hundreds of thousands of users onto their platform?

For now, it’s great. I ended my session with a solid understanding of Superhuman’s shortcuts.

Superhuman Shortcuts

This is one of the main value-adds that Superhuman provides. Intuitive shortcuts help you manage your inbox faster.

Their goal is to keep every interaction under 100ms. And I have to admit, they’ve nailed it. I’ve never been faster or more efficient at combing through my inbox every day than I have been with Superhuman.

Here’s a list of their common shortcuts. None of this is new, even Gmail supports shortcuts. Superhuman just does a fantastic job of teaching you them and nudging you to use the keyboard every time it catches you using your mouse.

  • k: move down your inbox, one email at a time (also down arrow)
  • j: move up your inbox, one email at a time (also up arrow)
  • e: Archive an email (in Superhuman lingo, this marks the email as Done)
  • cmd-enter: send an email
  • cmd-shift-enter: send and archive an email
  • cmd-o: open the links in your email (you can arrow-key through each individual link, or open them all)
  • cmd-k: search all commands (this may be familiar to Slack power users)
  • escape: go back. Often you’ll find yourself a few layers deep, and hitting this can take you back home.
  • / : search your email
  • cmd-shift-c: add CC
  • cmd-shift-b: add BCC
  • cmd-shift-i: instant intro (move to BCC)

Check out my article on the difference between CC and BCC in email and when to use them.

Other Superhuman Features

Here’s a few features of Superhuman:

  • Read Receipts
  • A mobile app(iOS only)
  • Split inboxes
  • Intuitive shortcuts
  • Sender social data
  • Undo send
  • Inbox-zero celebrations
  • Scheduled follow-ups

Of those, my most used features are the shortcuts and scheduled follow-ups.

The keyboard shortcuts help me blaze through my work emails in the morning. It takes me 50% of the time to go through them with Superhuman compared to my old client. I’m not exaggerating, it really helps.

Scheduled follow-ups help me keep my inbox tidy, aka inbox zero. If I’m not ready to respond to an email yet, I schedule it to resurface later. Sometimes that’s an hour later, sometimes it’s the following monday.

It’s as simple as hitting the shortcut, typing monday 8am, and hitting enter. Superhuman does the rest.

So, Is Superhuman Worth It?

Short answer: Yes. Superhuman is the best email client I’ve ever used.

Long answer: If your current email workflow is a nightmare and you need someone to set you straight, Superhuman is absolutely worth the cost of admission. You’re essentially paying someone to teach you how to use hotkeys to manage your inbox with a really well-made tool.

But is it worth paying for over time? I’m not so sure.

Many of the shortcuts can be ported over to Gmail or another email client. None of the features seem proprietary to Superhuman and most can be replicated in another email client.

The design is absolutely gorgeous and no other email client comes close. That is unique.

But a nice design alone is not worth $30 to most folks.

Superhuman is the best email client I have ever used.

I just wish it wasn’t so expensive.

See Also