First off, this looks awesome. I've heard people complain many times about how they just want a personal CRM for non-business purposes. On the one hand I love the idea because having such a specific use case allows you to make a very simple UI that does exactly what the user needs. On the other hand, I never personally chose to go after it because getting individual consumers to pay for stuff seems hard.
So I wish you the best of luck, and I hope you stick with it. The "Why Monica?" section of your website sounds like it was written specifically for me, and I'm definitely going to try it out because of that copy.
My main piece of advice: be skeptical of most product suggestions. As someone who has been building a simple CRM for the past ~8 years, I can tell you that everyone wants something different, and if you react to every suggestion you get, your product will end up losing the awesome focus it has right now. That doesn't mean you should ignore feedback, it just means you should make sure the feedback is coming from your actual target audience and not some random person who's looking for Monica to be something it isn't. I fell for that too many times in the early days.
My email is in my profile if you ever want to talk shop.
BTW is there a better way to say that?
"You've been Monica-ed"
Also, consider adding an import feature from gmail, vCard, etc
Finally, why include male/female binary as the only required field besides name. Seems a little odd
I got added by someone else to a Facebook group that eventually went on a troll raid. I rarely go on Facebook and didn't even participate in any troll raids. Just from being in the group, my account was disabled. I have been locked out of my apps for three weeks and Facebook hasn't answered any appeal I sent them.
(yeah, I can create a dummy account for that purpose alone, but I rather not bother)
It's nice that I don't have to create yet-another-password for a new app as well. I use a password manager so it's not a big deal for me, but for other users it could be so they may just use a shared password and having FB login would be a way to have them not do that.
I have mainly python experience with python-social-auth, but I see PHP has a few pretty good social auth libraries, to name one, I came across HybridAuth.
I get that you might like it, that's fine, but it's not serving any good purpose here. Google login would be more widespread if you must have a 3rd party button. Yes, Google track as well and yes, that's also going to put people off, but if you feel the need to have one at all, get a more useful one. Or better yet, remove them all, have local user registration and put a hook in place for developers to plugin other buttons using different contrib repos. Then you can have both without polluting the core project with 3rd party deps.
Also, this may sound stupid, but how do you delete a contact?
everyone will tell you what a great idea it is, and how useful it could be, but no one wants to do any work to that end. it just doesn't solve a real pain for enough people to build a business around (given the product you present on the home page).
however, if you're serious about this space, you will automate the crap out of data collection and make the product a super-passive intelligent assistant (for mobile). make users seem more kind and thoughtful than they otherwise are with this app, and people might just pay for it. there's a potentially big privacy hurdle but i found most people to be surprisingly unconcerned about that if you provide tangible value.
But as I am using my own Nextcloud and XMPP Server I would like to see a simpler setup/update procedure.
that this was designed with self-hosting in mind is a nice nod to privacy though.
Edit: Looks like this is already known:
I sometimes stumble on some site that only allow five numbers for zip codes and not the six alphanumeric characters we use for postal codes.
I would change "Postal code" to "ZIP" and "Province" to "State" if someone selects US as a country.
Or is the entire idea that each person is logging a unique POV or set of information about someone, rather than the system gravitating towards there being a single, cultivated profile about each person that is shared around?
(right now it's kind of the anti social media -- which seems like a refreshing take. Just curious if that's on purpose)
My one concern: Can you please make all of your contact information downloadable and backupable. My biggest fear would be putting so much precious data in your app and then having you guys go under... then I would lose everything. Also, I don't want vendor lock-in for something as important as this.
The "Edit" link under "Personal Information" should also be Blue, like the "Add" links under the other sections. It took me about 40 seconds to figure that out because of the confusion.
Editing reminders would be useful. More flexible reminder timing (things like "end of the month", which could be more or less than 30 days apart, are very useful).
You should be able to select an existing Person entry for the Significant Other field. Also, if you add somebody through the Significant Other field, they should show up as a person.
You should also be able to delete a Person.
Export will be next, too. It's vital to not be locked in.
Editing reminders, yeah, I didn't do it at first because it's way less trivial that it might look, but it's in my todo as well ;-)
Thanks for all your ideas, they all make a lot of sense.
I spent an unreal amount of time gardening my list after tearing myself away from Gmail and Facebook.
e: On birthdays, might be nice to be able to add day/month but no year. I'm working through adding some of my contacts into this and noticing small things as I update/add more.
Disclaimer, I created the last one.
How are you working to guarantee my data is protected from any manner use outside my own?
From the README on Github:
"We provide a hosted version of this application on https://monicahq.com.
If you prefer to, you can simply clone the repository and set it up yourself on any hosting provider, for free. I'm just asking that you don't try to make money out of it yourself."
So to guarantee the privacy of your data, set it up on your own server (maybe even locally hosted if you're that paranoid) and you're set.
This is an intriguing idea as a concept but feels like it isn't a sufficient focus. The privacy page hasn't been updated in 18 months either, yet the release notes mention encryption at rest (with very little detail) being added in October 16.
> Monica runs on Linode and I'm the only one, apart from Linode's employees, who has access to those servers.
This speaks to nothing about future use, which is what my question specifically asked.
> When you close your account, we will immediately destroy all your personal information and won't keep any backup.
I'd love to hear how you're purging users from your backups, and how long you keep backups.
An example from one of my projects: https://github.com/elliottcarlson/incidentbot/blob/master/ap...
If its free, how will you pay for your costs? (Ads? Selling my data?)
I plan to provide a paid version with an extremely generous free version. The paid version will contain some great features, and will probably be a couple of dollars per month.
It does not have to be something that makes it difficult to use, an icon at the end of the note could be enough.
This very much undermines the value of a privacy-focused service.
Forgive my ignorance, but with the code under the GPL license, how can you offer exclusive features?
As author he is at liberty to publish his own product under whatever license he wishes.
And if he wants to sell a "enterprise" version under a proprietary license he is free to do so.
Thank you! We shouldn't trust anyone who thinks otherwise. It should be considered shameful to show paid advertising.
1. Import names from Facebook (is this included if I had used Fb to register?)
2. Generate random individual to reach out to, weighted or sorted by when I last contacted them.
1. This is not possible. Facebook does not give me those information through an importer. So it won't happen unless they change their mind.
2. Interesting. I had something similar in mind, I think you'll be pleased when it'll be out.
If not, maybe support fb "archives"?
I suppose this is the price to be paid if one wants to track all of those things, but much like many other CRMs there are integration points that could make this far less work for the consumer.
Thoughts or plans on this?
It's weird seeing the kid number pushed so hard on the dashboard. I'm in college, so that's not really a feature that applies to me.
I'm not a fan of the date picker, an actual calendar popup would be better IMO.
If people are getting unique IDs, it should much rather be a GUID rather than what appears to be an incrementing index.
The first person I added was somewhere in the 2000s, rather than starting at 1.
My first reaction to the "CRM to manage friends..." was, what? Why do I need a business tool for my personal life.
I wonder if there is a better terminology than CRM. You bump up against the social network on one end, and a person tool on the other.
I wrote an executive summary for my business last week, and the feedback I got from an advisor was that they loved the idea that there are these two big existing markets, and that their is a middle-ground between them which hasn't been addressed. I think that is what you've got here, it needs to be named. I haven't quite been able to name mine yet either, so I'm not suggesting this is easy.
What do other think? Is the CRM a good label for a personal tool?
Ultimately the most amazing use would be to have google glass etc and when I see them their name comes up in a bubble.
Noticed a couple of bugs but im pretty sure they have been reported - e.g. not able to link someone like add a child if they already exist. So at present you can only add one parent
There are also two people on IndieHackers who built a mobile version of this who you may want to talk to.
I also own the domain muchcloser if you're interested in it. Let me know if you want to talk.
"Manage food preferencies"
Correct grammar and spelling are easy to overlook and may seem insignificant, but they go a long way in making a good first impression.
Chrome Version 58.0.3029.110 (64-bit) OSX
Looks nice though!
EDIT: It works when accessing https://app.monicahq.com/people - the endless redirect only affects https://app.monicahq.com/
Edit: https://stackoverflow.com/a/32130028/82135 might be what you are looking for.
Allow the default currency for debts to change :) I'm based in England, so Dollars don't help me.
On the People list, make the whole list entry clickable, not just the name.
The list of "Country" is not sorted and slow to load.
Can we add other kinds of relatives, not just SOs and children. What about siblings or Uncles?
It's too bad all of the metadata around a contact can't be kept with the contact in a portable way, and then Monica could just be an API for pointing at CardDAV and other contact servers, and a UI for interacting with them in unique ways. Personal clouds, etc.
I think Monica could be just an open API. The API is definitely something I'll work on in the next weeks, because of its potential.
Also, love your project! How do I give you money?
Edit: I'll keep an eye out for the link!
This is a private database as I see it, so there is no need for it to be online. And keeping it offline would be good for privacy, and would make it easy for anyone to download and install, rather than the more complex install needed for a web application (or letting someone else host and sacrificing privacy).
If you care about the privacy, you can also host this yourself :-D
I always thought that his ability to always have you, and whatever you had last talked about with him, on his mind at any moment was some kind of supernatural gift. I was surprised to find out at his funeral that he actually kept an excel spreadsheet of everyone he met and what they needed and were going through. He reviewed this constantly.
It didn't lessen his genuine love for everyone, just let him be a little more super human.
He cared about people enough to make familiarity and kindness a discipline and habit that he lived. Despite many of our apps, life hacks, and "social medias" we miss the simple insight; social kindness is rooted in just giving enough of a damn to have a discipline for it. Any tool is secondary.
Well said! Thanks for sharing!
I'm sorry for your loss. Your uncle sounds like a great human being.
would greatly disagree with your statement. It may not be the answer for everyone, but it could be that tool for a large chunk of the world's population.
It is the best tool to keep in contact we currently have though, so I do pop in every week or two to check on notifications. The times I go longer I end up missing events friends have put together and not notified in other ways about, so I try to remember to check in fairly regularly.
I only hope they don't swing their attention towards those of us that shun the feed any time soon, and try to find a way to tweak our reward response for that as well (or at least in a more effective way. I'm sure they've put at least some attention to it).
Even the "Notes" system in the middle of the transition was more "opt in" than firehose and a bit more rare and curated by the fewer users using it.
There is a spirit to the old systems lost to the new ones that I can't quite name. In the rush to increase communication overall, and build an addictive platform that people feel a need to check often, perhaps too much of the signal has been drowned out in noise. But that doesn't feel a strong description either because the signals become so different, too.
Statuses were great as a brief update of a friend's change in their state of mind. I could follow up as I saw fit, often just keeping it in mind for the next time we met up.
Posts and news is just a steady steam of information... repeated opinions, content that forms their opinion, attempts at converting others, or minor events that would have been interesting to talk about but bland now that I've seen the highlights online... Often in impersonal monologue form, or equally impersonal many-to-many chat.
Those features gutted the middle of the friend spectrum, their UX no longer aligns with natural social patterns. Humans talk more and about different things as we become closer friend's, slowly acclimating to each other. Facebook is optimized for tight social groups. News posts are useful for my inner group, but I had to unfriend most of my more nebulous connections because their updates were basically spam in the context of my life.
Facebook's features no doubt provides better revenue from ads/targeted spam for shareholders, but they've lost what I found useful for networking and developing new relations. If anything, their new features are impediments.
At this point, I've completely dropped Facebook in favor of email and chat (mix of apps)... It's a better experience than Facebook news and posts, obvious data privacy wins, and my friends and I can share higher resolution pictures without coupling to any specific platform. I haven't found a good alternative for networking, aside from LinkedIn (okish) and plain ol' phone calls/sms/in-store meetups. Maybe that's the best there is.
I guess the real emblematic touch point of the change over the years is much more from each person's "Wall" being the important push hubs of conversations to the "Wall" being subsumed by the modern "Timeline" and relegated to an annual flurry of birthday well-wishers and not much else.
That opt-in push mentality versus opt-out pull mentality is quite different: I'm going to go post this cool thing on my friend's wall BECAME I'm going to post this cool thing and maybe all of my friends might see it in their news feeds (if the algorithms deem it maybe worthy and my friends haven't muted me).
Maybe that's why "Events" still seems like one of the bright spots in Facebook? "Events" for the most part still retains a lot of an "opt-in push mentality"; for the most part you still create an event and explicitly invite friends to it. Certainly the News Feed has the pull sort of events and the "I'm Interested" interest pull buttons, but the events I really care about still follow that classic push model, and probably always will...
In TheFacebook we delegated responsibility to post things we cared about to our Walls to our friends. In Facebook we find that responsibility to curate the things we care about in our News Feeds has been delegated to algorithms and advertisers somewhat beyond our control.
I agree Events is the highlight of Facebook these days. Although, it has been steadily corroded as well, and FB Messenger's Plans has muddied the waters a fair chunk.
As in, Facebook used to expect you to have to come and poll it. There was information there about the current state of things, and that information was replaced when people updated their status et al. You had to look, and look often, if you wanted to keep up. It was addictive, in both the good and bad senses of that word.
Today's Facebook is active, making your interaction with it passive; it keeps up to date on things for you, and notifies you when it thinks you would be interested in knowing something. You're the delegate module. You don't talk to it; it talks to you. You never actually have to check it or look at it.
Actually, for another analogy: today's Facebook is almost like a secretary. (It'd be one for real if it could guess your intentions well-enough to automatically accept/reject event invitations.) Like a secretary, there's no reason to go bother them. Nothing useful to be gained by polling. Zero addiction potential.
What's popular these days? Snapchat. Guess why?
I'm not saying we should romanticize the incomplete, under-developed TheFacebook of 2004, but only that the things that made it viral on college campuses in 2004 are very different from those that made it viral among the masses in 2014. I'm not sure which one is better or worse, it's definitely complicated. But there's definitely that feeling that Facebook is not TheFacebook any more. Not just branding, but in... spirit, maybe? Like I said there's word missing that I'm curious to find.
Facebook was fun in 2005. Now it's just ... addictive.
Facebook was much more engaging when I actually saw words and images coming out of people who I know or once knew.
My main issue is people tagging each other in those "Tag a mate who X" or "@g has to X" shitposts. It just clutters my newsfeed with useless shit.
I don't mind my coworker's weekly posts about car stuff at all, even though I have no interest whatsoever. And when he posts some progress on some car repair he's doing, I'm glad to see he's doing something he loves.
But when my SJW friend posts yet another ridiculous over-the-top post about how all X are X, and somehow thinks this means they aren't be prejudiced themselves, it's hard to handle. You can't tell them anything, either, because there's something different about you that makes them think you're unable to empathize with them, or understand what they're going through.
Some of them are so incredibly obviously wrong, too. Like: All cops are corrupt.
This is a person who is pretty fun to be around and hosts parties that are fun. In person, they aren't so overbearing about this stuff. But online? They're a monster who can't be corrected or even debated with. If you do, you're X and can't understand.
In short, I think you're fortunate not to have anyone single-minded like this on your Facebook friends list. The only real solution is to just unfollow them, which is horrible because you then miss the posts from them that you actually want to see.
But that time is, sadly, not today. Until then, building feed-readers with topic-analysis auto-tagging might help.
I have people that post multiple times every hour. Sometimes 8-10 times an hour for short periods. Generally it looks like reposting everything they read. They become a one person news aggregator, if by "news" we mean Facebook posts tailored for meme propagation (which means a good portion of them range from misleading to blatantly false).
I don't really use my feed, so I'm not bothered by the posts being in my feed for my own sake. I'm just a bit worried that they've become obsessed with Facebook attention to an unhealthy degree.
In reality, you use FB to have your data packaged up and sold to advertisers, brands, and government agencies. You're the product, not the customer.
I don't get all the hate on FB. Sure, the default is mess, but that's what most people want, and if it's not what you want, there are means to control it and still have a powerful communication tool. A tool is what you make of it, and it's really not hard to make use of FB in a sane way.
Actually, the last time I saw my uncle, I asked how he could be generous, and yet not be taken advantage of or stuck with horrible people.
He said that what he'd learned to do was to condition whatever help he was offering on the person taking some tiny step first. Often, it was as simple as "make up a budget for you and your wife to go on a three day getaway, send it to me, and I'll write you a check." He said that almost everyone who was just in it for the handouts couldn't be bothered.
My uncle also mixed a lot of his giving with encouraging young people's talents. He'd hire students who were excited in X, to do X for him in some way. He hired students to take photos, make music, decorate houses, build apps, archive things, paint, and who knows what else. He even hired a student to make memes. This way the students not only got money, but grew in their skills and were excited that someone wanted their work.
There were, of course, some rude and uncaring people in his life. But those people didn't want to spend time with him so there was never really a conflict there.
One of the reasons why I think your uncle's gestures made such a big impact is that he made gestures that rewarded good things AND he wasn't a relative to many of the people he interacted with.
When I was about 10 yrs old one of my dad's best friends asked me about my grades and I was proud to say I got straight A's. He reached into his pocket and gave me a $5 bill which was a lot back then for a kid and I knew he didn't have a lot of money too. It was fun spending it at the arcade and also bragging a bit to other friends. :) I'll actually never forget that moment because it was the first one I can recall where a non-family member / non-teacher praised my grades.
The only other moment I can recall was from grade school when an older student used to hand out fireworks to those that showed their report card with straight As. You can imagine how all the top students rushed out of school ready to redeem their report card for some fireworks their parents would probably never buy except for maybe July 4th. Possibly dangerous but absolutely brilliant. A cheap fun reward that literally celebrates the accomplishment.
Most of us get told how special and amazing we are by our parents and family all the time growing up. Often times the praise isn't really deserved since we're special snowflakes. When a stranger, family friend or anyone not related gives praise or reward it can be extremely impactful and reinforce that we're on the right path and that it really does matter. Those moments get seared into our memories.
I'm working on figuring out how to do some sort of unannounced cash or gift reward to those with straight As with one of the local public schools.
I think the limit should be in allowing that person to take advantage of your kindness.
I'm also curious as to the format of the spreadsheet! How did Uncle add new events &c - just modify a cell or add a new row with some kind of key?
I'm interested in tracking interactions with my adult education students...
0 0 19 7 * /usr/bin/mail -s "REMINDER: john T. birthday" firstname.lastname@example.org
0 0 1 8 * /usr/bin/mail -s "REMINDER: MAKE xmas hotel reservations NOW for good pricing..." email@example.com
Date calculations are much more flexible and the files
can be modular.. and there's printed calendar generation options if you so choose.
There is also the traditional Unix 'calendar' program as well..
It's minute, hour, day of month, month, day of week
In this case, repeat every 19th of july at midnight.
What a good community.
In short: At 00:00 hours on 19/07 (i.e. July 19) execute that command. The * means 'regardless of what day of the week it is'.
'0 0 19 7 ' means 'midnight of July 19th, regardless () the weekday.
It is example 2 from 'man crontab'.
- Timestamped and hashed communications and records.
- Lower price point than OFW.
- More intuitive reporting.
This will NOT have widespread appeal under its current use, and will be tough to make money from.
They might actually be robinhood.
I can definitely see this service being useful, but that branding makes me feel very uncomfortable.
It's all social management, even if informal. But it's so natural you might not have thought about it as "management."
Nothing wrong with formalizing it and taking it all digital, if anything it can foster closer relationships if it's easy to use and consolidated. Someone can only remember so much at once and its great they care enough to store that information for easy retrieval in the future. We have never, as a society, faulted people for writing things down, (Rolodex is a generic trademark, for crying out loud), we are all only human. We don't think twice about setting a reminder to take medication or water the plants.
But this I instantly understood.
These things are less about "managing" and more about cultivating relationships and memories. "Organizing" is a word with less controlling vibes. Maybe start there and take a journey through the thesaurus? http://www.thesaurus.com/browse/organizing?s=t
- stay in touch/keep in touch
- "look after", as in "look after you relationships"
Anyway, nice work.
I would like this to be hosted for $12/year.
Cut out the actual browser window part, and paste that on to an image of an address book/planner with the same information about Jim Halpert. That way it's an instant visual association with an existing non-computer idea.
poetic terms that say nothing
If poetic terms say nothing then why is poetry (both literary and lyrical, as in songs) so popular? Social relations are not purely functional or transactional, although they often have those aims or characteristics. Friendship and warm familial relations are based on feelings. I often say that hackers need to develop better emotional intelligence and this is a good example.
Would you take someone on a date and say 'statistics indicate that we have a high degree of socioeconomic compatibility and synergistic aesthetic appeal, suggesting that we should pursue a merger strategy so as to maximize our mutual future advantage?' Most people would prefer to hear something along the lines of 'I love you and want to marry you.'
I understand that your product is aimed at busy people who are invested in their work and want to handle their social relations at least as well as their business ones. But you need to be cognizant of their motivations for doing that; because they like, love and generally care about the people in their lives that lie outside their career. It is that drive which might move someone to start using your product, and you must appeal to that drive, which is an emotional one, in emotional terms.
Incidentally, calling it Monica carries connotations of having an assistant called Monica that helps you remember those little personal obligations and although I'm sure you didn't intend this it gives me a sort of sexist vibe because historically such tasks have often been delegated to stereotypically female subordinates by busy executives (think Pepper Potts in the Iron Man story franchise).
Even though both men and women seem to prefer female identities for things like GPS and virtual assistants, a gendered brand identity like this is likely to limit your appeal to one half of the population straight out of the gate. The brand values you wish to attach to your product are reliability, loyalty, and patience, so it would be worth your while to dig through mythology and fiction in search of characters who are associated with those qualities and then develop variations from any particularly inspiring name stems you encounter so as to leverage those psychic associations.
Regarding the gender, I don't know what to think about this. It's not by any mean a way to degrade women. I will definitely consider choosing another name because I understand how some people could be offended by that, which is not at all my intention, ever.
You seem to indicate that this devaluation is a sort of false accusation to which we should not make ourselves vulnerable.
Yet, that subordinate clause rings true to me as an independent statement.
Why should I let just any person (particularly family; none of mine know CS) occupy any nontrivial amount of space in my day-to-day consciousness; when such space could instead be used by something useful?
First thing I thought. Although, it is accurate in a sense given that there's a lot to track, filter, setup and so on. It's why the same activities are called "management" in CRM. It's just socially unacceptable to say the truth sometimes. In this case, the author should change the wording so it doesn't say CRM or "manage." Instead, some propaganda along lines of "family reminder app" so you "don't miss an opportunity" might sound nicer. Actually, the opening paragraph seems fine.
However, the need for recording and documentation is as old as scribbles on a cave wall and some also really do need to document things to remember.
I must agree, though, with the wording. It is unfortunate but it probably does attract those who have an itch for efficiency.
For example: if, unbeknownst to you, two of your friends were involved in some kind of criminal conspiracy and you had spoken/met with both of them near the time it was known that they had met, an enterprising prosecutor could use your record of having met with them to accuse you of having taken part.
Send me an email and I'll be happy to go into more detail. (I'm on a plane which is hopefully taking off soon, so I don't have time to write more right now.)
- Make it easy for people to host data independently of you. Either by running your app on thier server (related to discussion above about for Heroku/Sandstorm, but a regular VPS is probably preferable), or using your client to read data stored in some generic format, e.g. an existing CardDav server, or even just Dropbox, with the web UI running locally, or as an extension.
The most important features for self hosting are probably maturity and stability, and signed releases via an up-to-date PPA.
For using some generic back-end you'd need to support it.
Theoretically, running the software on a server in Sealand or something like that would put the physical hardware beyond the reach of a subpoena but then, they could lock you up for contempt if you don't give your password to it.
Anyone comment on data export functions?