I have written a few times about what I thought was the genius of Gmail’s invite system (read 7.22.04: “Has Gmail Already Reached its Trucker Hat Phase?“) as a way to create desire and excitement for a product. Well, according to the program manager of Gmail (as reported by Scoble), it’s not that at all.
First session I attended? I met Chris Uhlik of Google. He’s the program manager of Gmail and the Google Toolbar and a few other things. He gave a talk at 11 p.m. to well after midnight. I asked him why they only give out a few Gmail accounts at a time. Remember, I thought it was sheer marketing genius. Turns out it wasn’t. Turns out they don’t have enough server capacity to deal with everyone who wants an account. So, when they buy a new server and get it installed they hand out another round of invites. Heh, their server salesperson must cheer everytime he or she sees more invites being advertised on weblogs.
Whatever the case, Gmail is a great product and the invite system certainly created quite a buzz around it. I really enjoy using it, though there are certainly a few features I’m waiting for (like groups for contacts — is this possible and I’m just missing something?).