What is the use of a spam filter you have to check every day?

Benjamin P. Taylor
3 min readNov 7, 2023

Why can’t you buy and install a toilet seat that stays fixed?

Join the discussion on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/antlerboy_what-is-the-use-of-a-spam-filter-you-have-activity-7127566866645999618-JX0y What are your favourite example of humdrum problems that no innovation seems to fix? Why do you think these things don’t get addressed, despite the pace of innovation?

…everybody’s out here inventing general artificial intelligence, nobody’s making a better mousetrap!

Yesterday I checked the spam folder in my legacy HoTMaiL account (my main personal email since c1995). Out of 400 ‘spam’ messages, 75 were ‘false positives’ — messages I wanted to receive.

I’ve even told Hotmail many many times before ‘do not mark these messages as spam’.

It’s a consistent problem — on our business MS365 account, before I managed to figure a workaround to turn spam off, *internal* messages, invoices from our consultants, and messages from our contract signature system were all being caught *in our own spam filter*.

That’s just one example of the failure of innovation to fix some basics:

* Shoelaces come untied time and time again and drape it wet mess.

* USB always fits in the third position you try

* Cables break and break and break… but *sometimes* work

* Socks ball up in your shoe and constrict your ankles

* You still can’t use touchscreens with gloves

* Voice recognition is definitely getting better, but still doesn’t work in many real-life situations

* Printers. I needn’t say more.

Well, you get the idea. The origin of the phrase ‘if a man can invent a better mousetrap, the world will beat a path to his door’ goes back to Ralph Waldo Emerson (who actually said something much more boring about the value of doing the basics better than others in business). The concept is that these are innovation opportunities waiting to make someone rich.

What are your favourite example of humdrum problems that no innovation seems to fix?

Why do you think these things don’t get addressed, despite the pace of innovation?

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