Unless you have been living under a productivity rock somewhere, you have surely heard of Highrise – The new contact management solution from the rock stars at 37 Signals. Here are some of my first impressions:

  • 37 Signals has once again taken a simple approach by boiling the concept of contact management down to some basic elements. They give you just what you need and nothing you don’t. What does one really need to track communication with a contact? Attach notes? Done. Add some related tasks? Done. Attach other related communications like e-mails? Done. Associate the contact with other related contacts? Yep. Share your contacts with others? That is there too… All of it done with the straight forward simplicity, attention to design elegance and ease of use we have come to expect from 37 Signals.
  • The task manager is brilliant and flexible. It allows one to associate tasks with categories (or contexts, if you will). You can assign either “fuzzy” due dates (Today, Tomorrow, This Week, etc.) or specific due dates and times to those tasks. You can even assign tasks to others in your organization.

  • If I have any dig against Highrise (and this is more specifically about 37 Signals strategy) it is this – why the mostly walled garden between your ious apps? For instance, I currently use Backpack for my personal stuff and Basecamp for work related projects and now I would like to use Highrise for my consulting business clients. This means that I will have to have three apps open with no real integration between them. What I would love to see is a way to attach projects in Basecamp to contacts or companies in Highrise. What I would love even more is the task functionality in Highrise to be integrated into Backpack.

In all, Highrise is a fantastic application – especially for small business or solo business users who just want a simple and effective way to track communications with their partners and clients.