The Port87 delivery system was born out of necessity. While I was
working as an engineer at LinkedIn, I would get about 10 to 15 spam
messages in my Gmail inbox every day. Every single time, my watch
would buzz, I'd look down at it, and I'd sigh that spam just cost me
yet another interruption.
A portion of these messages weren't "spam" in the classic sense,
which is probably why Gmail's spam filter had so much trouble with
them. As a software engineer who'd worked at Facebook, Google, and
LinkedIn, my email address is well known to recruiters and head
hunters. So about 60% of the spam messages that reached my inbox
were sent by actual people, they just weren't something I wanted to
see in my inbox, and they weren't from just one sender I could
Eventually I decided that I had to tackle this problem. I started by
moving my account emails into a separate email through ProtonMail,
where I could use "Sieve scripts" (a type of programming language
run on incoming mail) to organize them all into their own
categories. I had to use ProtonMail because Gmail doesn't support
this technology. That solved the issue of spam mixed in with all my
account mail, but I was still getting spam.
Next, I developed a sort of "screening" system for my Gmail account
through complicated filters and autoreplies. Since I wasn't getting
account email there anymore, it was fine to block all automated
Eureka! After a hesitant first couple days of a quiet inbox, I got
an email from my mom, in my inbox! Then an email from my friend
Alex! I checked the Recruiters label, and sure enough, tons of email
from recruiters. My system worked! The only email getting through to
my Gmail was from real people!
I told one of my coworkers about it, and he was impressed. He asked,
"How do I set this up for myself." My cheeky response was, "Well, do
you have about eight hours to spare?" For this system, you needed
two addresses, one on your own domain, two email accounts, and every
time you signed up somewhere new, you had to edit a big complicated
Then it dawned on me that this is a real solution to a real problem
that everyone has, and I could make it simple and automatic if I
just wrote my own email service. I asked him if he would sign up for
an email service that worked this way, and he said, "Absolutely."
After some serious thought, I worked up the courage to ask my
girlfriend if she would support me quitting my job and spending
years pursuing my dream of starting my own company. She said yes!
(She is now my wife!) Quitting my job at LinkedIn was one of the
hardest decisions I've ever made. It is an amazing company to work
for, but I felt like I had something that could really improve
In June of 2021, I formed SciActive Inc, and in August, I left
LinkedIn and started working on Port87. The clunky system of Sieve
scripts and filters that I now call the prototype paved the way for
a brand new kind of email.