I’ve been at Aptera for three months now and I still haven’t put a signature on my e-mails. If I think about it, I’ll try and tack on the standard “Thanks, Alex” at the end, but I don’t have anything set up to add it automatically. Because the e-mail signature is my least favorite thing about e-mail.

If you’re looking for one specific thing that points to e-mail’s place as the most utilitarian, least personal form of communication, I’d suggest it’s the e-mail signature. There’s no other form of communication that lets you off that easy at the end. How often to do you see handwritten notes with an ink-stamped signature at the end? Or how often does the person on the other end of a phone call wrap up what she wanted to say and then turn the goodbyes over to a pre-recorded message? (Never, that’s how often, because that would be a totally insane thing to do.) And that’s the feeling I get every time I see a signature that has a slightly different font or color than the body text.

There are a couple arguments for e-mail signatures that are slightly more compelling than “super-quick time saver.” (It takes about two seconds to type “Thanks” and then your name, by the way.) Some companies use them as a convenient place for a legal reminder that everything you’ve just read is confidential and by reading it you’ve pinky-sworn not to tell anyone else about it. Other companies just like to have everything look the same, which is understandable. I’ve also worked for a company that used e-mail signatures to promote upcoming events, which was occasionally pretty but rarely effective.

Maybe the biggest reason e-mail signatures gained so much traction is because they seem really convenient. Not only do you not have to come up with a complimentary close (a term no one has ever used outside of a fifth grade class), but all your contact info is right there,  just in case your e-mail is so fantastic the recipient wants to bring you cookies.

While that may seem convenient, it’s a false sense of ease. Think of the last time you’ve needed to dig through your inbox to find someone’s phone number. If they didn’t literally just send you an e-mail, you likely had to search for their name, and scroll down through a twenty-seven item long e-mail chain to find the pile of signatures that have accumulated down there.

It’s 2014. There are better ways that are actually convenient. At Aptera, Outlook and Lync work hand in hand to make sure that every time someone sends me an e-mail, I have access to their phone number, preferred e-mail address, even which time zone they’re in. All of that info is available just by double-clicking on their picture. (Also, I can see their picture.)

Even if you’re not using these same technologies, you’re probably ignoring some address book, contacts list or other functionality that addresses the “how do I get in touch with this person” problem with a solution that’s much easier than digging through e-mail signatures.