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The contacts manager I want
It took me a long time to admit that I am a “people person” — or in the parlance of Alsop Louie, a Gadfly — but the inescapable result of running tech, Hollywood, and leadership events for 15 years and now stepping into a role as a VC is a sprawling network of relationships drawn from chance encounters and shared experiences.
I am far from the only person who’s contacts are central to their work, but as far as I can tell no one has built the contacts app that I really want. I’ve tried Contacts Plus (fka FullContact) as well as a bevy of custom contact managers, I’ve tried adding hashtags to the notes field in the native contacts app, I’ve tried building a db in Airtable, and I’ve even tried wrangling a small business CRM to do my bidding. I’ve put my name in to try Sunshine, but I haven’t been blessed with early access yet to check it out. I’ve even made a few attempts to Frankenstein my own monster using FileMaker! But the tedium of keeping it synced with my actual contact information db (my Google contacts) makes this approach unreasonable.
So in the hope that someone has built this, or wants to build this, here is my wish list for a contact manager. I’d pay for it.
I’d like an up-to-date portal that gives me context on the people I know and the ability to add my own searchable, filter-able metadata.
Ideally, I can look at a contact and see a list of emails that include their name searched in quotes, see a portal to their LinkedIn profile, and obviously their contact information as I currently have it. I’d also like to be able to easily log where I’ve seen them, and when. Did I see this person recently at Web Summit? SXSW? A dinner party?
I’d like to be able to easily call up a list of people who, for example, live in the Bay Area, or NYC.
I want this app to really just be an interface to the Google contacts and gmail database. No syncing (syncing never actually works). Then the app can find a way to graft the metadata into the existing contacts db.
If I am connected to someone on LinkedIn, I’d like the app to fetch job updates and contact information updates, and make that change for me in Google. I’d like the app to show me the person’s LinkedIn photo.
I’d like a way to mark down if someone has expertise in something. I’m not really interested in sucking in LinkedIn’s lists of skills, I want to define my own list. And the app should be superhuman-fast.
Ideally, the app wouldn’t try to do anything else! I do not want to “enhance” my contacts in other ways. I do not want to replace the contacts app on my phone from which I make phone calls or look up addresses. The rest of the social features that inevitably come with these services are always a distraction. The interface should be simple, and it should be a native app (I use Mac!), not a web app.
If you build it, let me know!