This has to be the oldest need in the world, but I would love to put my contacts into the cloud and keep them there, free from the incompatibilities of Lotus Notes, Microsoft Outlook, Gmail, Blackberry, and whatever piece of crap device or software lies over the horizon.
1980s – newspaper reporter – I had a true rolodex. Stapling business cards onto the notched tabs.
1984 – PC Week. I move my contacts into AskSam, a flat file database. I start to print out huge snakes of sheetfeed dot matrix printer paper and pin to the wall of my cube.
1987 – I get sucked into a period of contact manager shiny-objectitis — GoldMine, ACT!, Lotus Agenda, Borland Sidekick ….. all fail
1988-1994: the email era commences. Starting with enterprise mail, external on MCI Mail, then CompuServe, The WELL. My personal contacts are all over the place by this point. I begin to lose portions of my “network” to entropy.
1995: Outlook. I start to declare MS Outlook is it. Despite the fact that the IT goons use some dumbass Novell email client as a follow on to CC:Mail. Opensource does not exist.
1995-2000: I rely on Outlook synching to a Palm Pilot. Forget synching to a Motorola cell phone. Not going to happen. Synch tools become a big buzz in the business.
2000: Lotus Notes enters my life at McKinsey. I give up on contact management. The Notes contact manager feels like something Franz Kakfa would write about.
2002-2004: back to Outlook, synching to a Windows Mobile device, a little HP thing ala the Palm.
2005: Back to Notes at IDG. I give up and refuse to manage contacts in Notes.
2006: Lenovo. Still on Notes. Not entering any contacts into Notes. Putting business cards into a binder with plastic sleeves.
2009: About to declare contact bankruptcy. My contacts are scattered to the winds. I have IM contacts, internal Lenovo directories, backed up ancient CSV, PST and comma delimited Outlook files — gmail accounts, Thunderbird as my desktop email client pulling down pop3 mail for churbuck.com and my david.churbuck@gmail mail ……
Going forward: I want to stick this all in the cloud. How do I do this and balance my personal network with my professional? Suggestions please.