Sep 20, 2023
5 min read
A great executive assistant can supercharge your email productivity by handling tedious tasks and augmenting your memory and reasoning. This is why big company executives rely on them to get through their busy inboxes every day. For most of us though, hiring an executive assistant has been sadly out of reach, leaving us to tackle our overflowing inboxes all alone – until now!
Today we’re introducing the Shortwave AI Assistant, a conversational agent designed to supercharge your email productivity by helping you think. It lives right in your inbox, and it combines cutting edge LLMs with our powerful AI search infrastructure to bring you the smartest AI email assistant on the planet. It’s incredibly capable: it can read threads, write drafts, search your entire email history, check your calendar, and more. Unlike a human EA however, it’s available 24/7, has infinite patience, will never judge you, and speaks every language.
Our AI Assistant is available immediately for all users. You can try it right now, for free.
In your email you have stored a tremendous wealth of knowledge: every message you’ve ever sent or received, as well as every attachment, receipt, calendar invite, newsletter, SaaS update, and so on. Our assistant’s powerful, AI-enhanced search turns this huge pile of data into an amazing knowledge base whose value you can unlock on-demand. Questions that might have taken you hours of searching and skimming before you can now answer in seconds, with just a few keystrokes.
Imagine you’re a product manager and you have a big meeting in 30 minutes for your new initiative, Project X. The only problem is, you forgot about the meeting and haven’t prepared a deck! You had been planning to present on the trends you’re seeing in customer feedback, but you have dozens of long email threads with customers left to review. “There’s no way I can re-read all of these emails and prepare a thoughtful presentation in time” you think.
Don’t panic – the Shortwave AI Assistant is here to help! It can find, read, analyze, and report on all of these emails in seconds, with one command: “Find customer emails about Project X from the past week and summarize the top trends with bullet points”. It will even link its email sources so you can dive further into any topics that grab your eye.
The AI Assistant is especially useful for finding information that’s not easily discoverable through traditional keyword search. For example, perhaps you remember a particular customer who shared a video of an interaction with Project X that felt clunky. You want to show this video in your meeting, but you can’t remember who the customer was, what they were complaining about exactly, or even which day you received it. Now you can ask the Assistant, “What’s the link to the video that customer shared last week about Project X feeling clunky”, and find it in seconds.
You can also use the AI Assistant to help research general knowledge questions without leaving your email. You can ask questions like “what are the screen size variants for the iPhone 13” or “who are Japan's top 3 trading partners” and get world-class answers. You don’t need to navigate to (or pay for) ChatGPT or do the research yourself on Google.
Deciding what you want to say in an important email reply is hard. Phrasing it nicely, getting the grammar right, and ensuring you’ve responded fully to the previous emails is even harder. The AI Assistant can help you write both replies and new emails. Just tell it what you want to say at a high level, and it will flesh out a full email for you that sounds great and gets the details right. It even has the ability to write emails that sound like you wrote them by extracting your tone and style from your past sent emails. Navigate to Settings → Compose in Shortwave on the web to configure this setting.
If you’ve already written an email rough draft, you can ask the AI Assistant for help making it great. It can offer suggestions on what to improve or even rewrite your draft entirely. Most commonly, this is used to improve grammar, spelling, and tone. It can also help you overcome writer’s block by brainstorming ideas, or help you write intelligent emails in domains where you’re not an expert. For example, when emailing with a lawyer about an important transaction, the AI Assistant can draw on its legal knowledge to suggest clarifying questions.
One of the most common things an executive assistant does to save you time is schedule meetings over email. This is a tedious job that involves checking your calendar, reading the previous emails for others’ availability, proposing times to the group, and then iterating to find a solution that actually works. Our AI Assistant can access your calendar to check your availability, read the current thread to see what others have said, and write these emails for you. Just type “reply and suggest a 30 min meeting tomorrow. Propose times I'm free.”
If you’re like me, you probably waste a tremendous amount of the time reading unimportant emails: long irrelevant group threads, overly verbose senders, boring newsletters, irrelevant background in forwards, and so on. Wouldn’t it be great if you knew in advance which emails were worth your time – and which weren’t?
Our existing summaries feature helped here already, but the AI Assistant takes things to another level by making it easy to ask any question about a thread. Try “what are the key dates in this email”, “what was the conclusion of this thread?”, “does this discuss Project X?”, and so on. You also gain the ability to ask follow-up questions, for the times when you need clarification or want to dive deeper.
The AI Assistant also understands a wide range of languages and can help you work with people effectively across the globe. It can translate the threads you’re reading and help you understand tone and nuance that may not be obvious to you in a non-native language.
The superpower of the AI Assistant’s conversational interface is that it lets you combine multiple features together easily, simply by asking a followup question. You can translate drafts you’ve written, write emails that include facts or analysis you’ve looked up with AI, check your availability for meeting times mentioned in a summary, and so on. Give it a shot – I think you’ll be impressed by what it can do.
Oh, and one more thing: if you want help getting the most out of Shortwave, just ask the Assistant – it knows a lot about itself.
The AI Assistant is available to all users, including free users, starting today. Some advanced features, such as AI search and the ability to write emails in your voice, require upgrading to our Standard plan. To get started, all you have to do is sign in and click on the “ai” icon in the upper right.
We’ve put a tremendous amount of work into this launch, and we hope you like it.
This is also just the beginning of our efforts to build an incredible executive
assistant for you, so expect to see rapid updates on our AI Assistant’s
capabilities and intelligence over the coming months. We’d love to hear
what you think about what we have today and what we should do next – please
share your feedback on
PS. We’re hiring software engineers.
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