Request For Startup: Personal CRM for Grown-up Friendships

My life is really full, as a startup founder and CEO there are endless things to do. There are always more meetings I could take (maybe should take?) and by the time Friday evening rolls around I’m usually pretty happy to head home and curl up for the next two days on the couch with a book, a drink, and some good music.

This is probably not new… but lately, the signals have been getting through.

“It’s hard to support someone I never see.”

“You’re really hard to get a hold of.”

These aren’t coming from business contacts, and they’re not coming to me by email. They’re coming from friends who I have to admit I don’t know when I last saw, and they are texts, Facebook messages, Twitter DMs. I saw friends 2 weekends ago who I met separately, knew as they met, courted, and got married and I was at the wedding… but that was 6 months ago! We are all shocked when we added up the time.

These are not casual acquaintances, theses are real friendships and the message is coming through loud and clear: invest here or you risk growing apart, losing touch.

Growing up I was one of those kids who wasn’t really part of any one clique, but had a friend or two in every single one. I was a serial monogamist when it came to best friends, usually those relationships would last a few years at a time and then we’d grow apart and move on. Now as a married career-focused woman, living in a major city, not planning to have kids I am realizing that my friendships are really important to my happiness in life. They are my chosen family, and the aloofness of how I’m acting doesn’t line up at all with how I actually feel.

Weird.

Over the years I’ve tried to solve this by building better habits, trying to bring my professional best practices to bear on my personal life. Off and on again I’ve had lists, Excel spreadsheets, even entered people into RelateIQ just so I could skim the list from time to time and make sure we were staying in touch. I always have this fantasy of sending Christmas cards, I even buy them!, and then it never happens because I don’t have the addresses. I’d say we host a party at our house every other month at most… it used to be every couple weeks. Frankly, Kevin and I aren’t even great about proactively scheduling dates — we usually just wing it and I’m pretty happy with that, until suddenly I’m like, “why haven’t we gone on a REAL DATE in 6 months?” and then I’m not happy with it til we do (I know you husbands out there are LOLing).

I need a CRM for my personal life, but not called a CRM obviously and much more tailored to stuff like birthdays, kids names, anniversaries, food preferences, and other stuff that matters but is just hard to remember. On top of that, I want to know when I last spoke with or hung out with a friend and I want to be reminded to do things like send flowers, write a quick congratulations email, invite them to a wine night or book night or boardgame night or whatever at my house.

I know this sounds super mercenary, but I bet it would work.

I think NextDoor could have been this, but won’t be because it’s too gossipy and impersonal. It isn’t Facebook. It isn’t anything I use today, because brand-wise I want it to be private. My Mom had this pretty blue book where she’d record all of this stuff about her friends and family. I remember they each got a page, and it was usually on the desk in our kitchen next to the phone. I want something like that, but for the modern age… preferably on my phone.

Who will build it?

  • Tam Pham

    Working on this Danielle, thanks for sharing your story. Really appreciate you always being so open with your thoughts 🙂

  • Have you used LI, it shows birthdays, when last connected, messages etc it’s perfect for this 😜

    • Tam Pham

      what is LI?

      • LinkedIn.

        PS: it was a joke Tam, please don’t go looking at its features as a baseline for ur product/service

  • Hi Danielle. We’ve built it. It’s called Vipor, from VIPorbit Software. Manages your business AND personal life in one solution. For iPhone, iPad, Mac, and very soon Apple Watch. And, wishing to go the extra mile, I’d be happy to set up a time to talk with you and answer any and all questions you may have to get you up and running. Let me know.

  • How big is the market for this? Would you pay for it?

  • kumarovski

    Let’s respect Dunbar’s Limit.

  • jkostecki

    Is this really something you want to be solved by a tech tool? If it’s important enough for you – really important – it’ll burn at you from the belly and you’ll care about the people you want to connect with enough to be at this every day. This is about emotional availability, empathy and priorities and no CRM-like tool can do that for you…

  • Danielle – Your not alone in your quest for a Simply Smarter Social Relationship Manager – Here’s a thread of people like you asking the same questions. http://bit.ly/1OSuqQ5 Here’s my answer on how a Nimble relationship platform should work for you by building itself and then work with you everywhere you work. https://t.co/IvxQtp4s9A

  • Sebastian Peter

    I’m working on something like this, I’ll reach out to you later

  • Lucas Bazemore

    We’re building something extremely similar and calling it Ryze | The Personal Relationship Manager (PRM). We figured that was better than just Personal CRM. Maybe take a look and see if it’s what you’re looking for?

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/93e40bf419bf7cb8511b221b62bc8fe8268dcab3edb48fa367db38a73d4830ae.png