Before you think it, let me list the top 5 reactions to this post:

5: Why can’t Garth get away from contact data? (5 of the ten people who read this will be related to me)

4: Here is another start-up with an answer to an unasked question

3: I don’t have a contact management problem

2: Company X already solves that problem

1: Bullsh*t

Since Manoj Ramnani (CircleBack founder) first called me in 2009, I have researched and watched each objection melt away.

5: Why can’t Garth get away from contact data?
Mom, I know I got the recycling award in 8th grade, but environmental law was just not in the cards. I banked great money from the sale of Jigsaw, and made countless sales guys’ lives easier. With CircleBack, we have a great team, some powerful investors and a clear path to success.

4: Here is another startup with an answer to an unasked question
OK, mister fancypants , VC wanna-be, I recognize this as a knee jerk investor reply to anybody’s dream. I file this away with “your idea is a tool, not a company,” and “we already have an investment in your market” and “this market isn’t big enough” and “sir, you will have to exit the property now or we will call the authorities.” We heard them all from VCs when we were pitching Jigsaw. Nobody was asking for (another) place to jot down 140 character observations, either, right? Tweet Tweet.

3: I don’t have a (contact management) problem
If you have a job where you communicate with more people than whose mobile number you have memorized (that number is 2 for me), you have a contacts management problem. Is your phone’s Native Address Book (NAB) the only place you have contact information? Is it remotely complete with job, company, email, physical address, and multiple phone numbers? Does it connect to your company database, your email, Linked In, the web, etc.? How is that syncing app working for you? Do you enjoy typing in people’s information with your thumb? While driving? How about dupes?

You don’t have a problem like Rob Ford (a.k.a. the crack smoking mayor of Toronto) doesn’t have a problem.

2: Company X already solves that problem
Countless companies have taken a stab at a contacts management solution, only to rise to various levels of failure. Remember the Palm Pilot? (Millennials can look it up on Wikipedia.) It was a $500 digital rolodex with prehistoric syncing technology to Outlook. Plaxo, who despite popular opinion did not die in 2009, took a decent whack at the whole problem, but never got any penetration in the mobile market and defines synchronization atrocities (creating dupes, overwriting correct contact info with incorrect, contacting everyone in your address book). Xobni, Brewster, Cobook, Full Contact, and several others only address certain aspects of the problem, which is to fail, and none have caught on with any scale. The big telecom companies all say they have contact management solutions, but have you replaced a phone lately? Good luck watching them transfer your contacts. Which basically leaves us with the phone NABs like the Contacts app on the iPhone, which is from 1992, cobbled together with a hodgepodge of integration and syncing technology- none of which truly works.

1: CircleBack won’t solve the problem
Manoj posted the findings of a lengthy customer findings process about contacts management in his blog post:

  • Contacts are spread all over professionals’ mobile phones, emails, company databases and social networks – all of which are hopelessly out of sync
  • duplicates are prevalent in all sources
  • contacts are incomplete
  • contact information is hopelessly out of date
  • what about that stack of humble business cards?

CircleBack will solve all these problems when it comes out. If it doesn’t, then you can call BS.

If you didn’t have any of these negative reactions, then you’re a sucker… Sorry… I mean thanks for reading this far and we’ll look forward to seeing you in beta program, or just after we launch.