Clean Contacts: The Illusive Grail

Among the many unimportant-in-the-scheme-of-world-civilization disruptions that SV is focused on, one of the most pernicious problems remains the world of contacts database management.

People today are changing jobs so often, that it’s impossible to keep track of how to reach people you do not see regularly in person. I’d wager at least 20% of your current contact database is out-of-date.

As someone who routinely obsesses about the cleanliness of my digital data, I’ve tried them all. But each solution has its drawbacks. They all operate on an uneasy plane where absolute perfection (which means every contact is updated the minute someone changes their jobs without those individuals having to do anything) is creepily intrusive. And even with those advanced intrusive apps, they require your network to grant permission. So it is only as good as the opt-ins of your network. No one is crazy enough to retread Plaxo’s steps of trying to spam all of your contacts to get them to sign up.

But any solution that requires individuals to make active edits will fail to be useful. Think about how many people forget to update their LinkedIn accounts. Because people won’t remember. And there’s not the immediate utility in making that change.

I’ve realized now that a contact database can never be a passive, in-the-background intelligent system. It requires more work than you probably want to put into it. It requires your attention and your awareness of who is important and how you can keep track of them. I’m excited to try out Mia Contacts because a) I’m always oddly excited to try our contacts systems and b) it realizes you need to put in the work to make it work. We’ll see how it goes.