I recently graduated college and was forced to say goodbye to a lot of my close friends because I had gotten a job in another state. I moved away and started working full time and also randomly decided I wanted to stop using social media in an attempt to gain back some of my focus and patience. It helped those aspects of my life, but as weeks turned into months I realized I was losing touch with a lot of my friends.

I realized that after around two weeks of not talking to someone it becomes exponentially hard to keep in touch… so why is that?

1. I begin to lose the context I need to skip small talk

Small talk sucks, I hate it and I avoid it at all costs… so I set out on eliminating it. So after thinking about it for a while I realized it only ever exists when neither party of a conversation has enough context about the other’s life to ask real questions. When this happens we start to fill silence with surface level probing questions to find something to talk about. I noticed this starts to happen after I haven’t talked to someone for about two weeks, and this is because my context has either expired, or I don’t remember it (most of the time it’s this one).

2. I begin to lose track of how long it’s been since we talked

I have so many people I’d love to keep in touch with, but it’s hard to keep track of how much time I’m giving to each of my relationships. Sometimes I accidentally go months without talking to someone because life just got in the way and I didn’t realize how long it had been.

DoveLoop

I created DoveLoop to scratch my itch of having a smarter journal that helps me organize, visualize and manage my personal relationships with colleagues, friends and family.

The name has pretty much no relation to the project itself… in all honesty its just the name of a street near my house. Scrolling through google maps has actually proven to be really useful when I’m looking for open .com domain names, but I digress.

Tools like this already exist (formally called “personal CRMs”) and I found a few of them, but they weren’t the right fit for me. Here are the core values I couldn’t find in another “personal CRM”, and are the ones I built DoveLoop on.

  1. Minimalist
    I started this process with a simple text document, and plan to keep it as close to that as possible. I only add features and functionality that have a solid case for helping visualize and organize your relationships. DL doesn’t try to pretend to be any more complicated than it is. The UI, while crude at times, is extremely easy to navigate and digest.
  2. Desktop First
    I want this app to feel like a notebook that’s just comfortably smarter than a text document. It’s made with writing, note taking and organization in mind, and honestly mobile devices are the absolute worst for the first two. It’s totally mobile compatible, but I’m completely transparent with the fact that I think you should be using a desktop and keyboard while using it.
  3. Non-intrusive
    Although it isn’t implemented yet, I’d like to just send out weekly or bi-weekly updates on where you stand with your goals. I’m currently finding myself forgetting to check the website, so just a quick update via email would be awesome. No need for loads of notifications every time something changes.
  4. No importing contacts
    Most of the alternative tools allow you to import contacts from your phone or computer… and then they also happen to offer loads of tools to help you organize and clean this messy mass of names and photos. I say we take a different approach. Let’s manually add the individuals we really want to keep in touch with so our library and journal can stay lean and meaningful.

Do does it work?

Kinda! Here’s a completely honest review of my own product as it stands today.

It helps me visualize who I haven’t talked to and the journaling helps me keep up with other peoples lives, but as a whole it isn’t perfect yet. I find myself forgetting about it for a few days and missing some of my goals with friends. Now I don’t really want to get notifications to my phone every time I’m getting close to missing my goals with my contacts, that sounds annoying… but I think I’d like to get updates weekly in a nice clean email!

And as I’m adding more people it’s getting a bit hard to look at just one fat list of contacts. I’d like to sort and organize my contacts with tags, and be able to view each tag individually or combined tags. I love tags and think they’ll be a great addition.

I think this has some great potential, and my own testing has really helped me get a better vision for this project. If you’re interested in the idea or think it would be useful for you, try it out! It’s totally free and I’d love to get some feedback. There are links on the website for my email and a Discord server we can chat in

doveloop.com