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Preview 1: An introduction to Highrise (the product previously known as Sunrise) Jason Feb 12

85 comments Latest by Geof Harries

The time has come. Today we begin to open the kimono on Highrise (formerly known as Sunrise).

The name is Highrise
The first order of business is the name. We were advised against using Sunrise because of potential trademark conflicts. Highrise was actually the name we came up with before Sunrise so we’re going back to the original. Now on to more exciting things…

The schedule
Over the next few weeks we’ll be revealing screenshots, descriptions, concepts, stories, videos, design decisions, and more. Then we’ll launch. We’ve been using Highrise internally for the past couple of months. We’re very happy with it and excited to let you use it too.

So what is Highrise?
Highrise is a shared contact manager that helps you keep track of who you talk to, what was said, and what to do next. Like Basecamp helps you collaborate on projects, Highrise helps you collaborate on people. You can use it alone or with your co-workers. You can think of it as a company-wide, web-based, shared address book with a few twists.

Why did we build it?
We talk with a lot of people. Vendors, lawyers, accountants, journalists, customers, etc. Keeping track of who said what, when they said it, and what needs to be done next is complicated. A jumble of notes on paper, in email drafts folders, and post-it notes is a surefire way to miss this and forget that. Further, we wanted to build a shared tool so I could read up on conversations David had with John Doe before I called John Doe. Knowing the history of a company’s past interaction with people is a great way to save time and make future conversations more valuable.

Highrise was built to satisfy common scenarios like:

  • See all follow-ups scheduled for this week
  • Review Susan’s notes before calling her contact at the printer
  • Set a reminder to write Steve a thank-you note next Friday
  • Review all conversations I’ve had with Chris from Apple
  • Organize interview responses for potential candidates online
  • See a list of all the designers your company has hired in the past
  • Enter notes from a call with a potential client
  • See all the people your company knows at The New York Times
  • Schedule a follow-up sales call with Jim in 3 months
  • Review all the people tagged “Leads 2006”

Highrise helps you keep track of people and related actions. Almost everything we do in business revolves around people. At the other end of every phone call or email or letter is a person. Highrise helps you keep track of these people, these conversations, these interactions, and what needs to be done next.

Stay tuned for the next preview of Highrise. If you want to be notified when we launch, please enter your email address on the Highrise mailing list signup form.

85 comments so far

Tory 12 Feb 07

I can’t wait :-)

Ken Collins 12 Feb 07

Been done before, but not right! I’m sure you all will.

Thomas 12 Feb 07

Nice, I’ve been prototyping a similar app myself for my own purposes. This is so cool, I just hope it won’t be too pricey!

Who are the competitors in this business of CRM -ish software?

Caleb 12 Feb 07

I am so glad you guys have been working hard on Highrise, we have all been eagerly awaiting its announcement. Keep the info coming!

Galen 12 Feb 07

“all conversations I’ve had with Chris from Apple”

So you’re in discussions with Apple? Let’s get this rumor started!

Robby Russell 12 Feb 07

It’s about time. ;-)

I’m looking forward to seeing what you have been working on!

Piotr Usewicz 12 Feb 07

Wow, at last! Wanna see! Wanna see!

Josh Pigford 12 Feb 07

Sweet goodness. I’m giddy.

Gustavo 12 Feb 07

awesome! I want to have all my contacts in one place, not some on linked in, some in Address Book etc. :P

bring it on guys!

Chris Busse 12 Feb 07

This is great news. In my consulting practice we’re using Basecamp and Campfire … and Act on my business partner’s PC. Its pretty obvious “which one of these is not like the others”. He does the sales and marketing, but I build a good bit of lead generation.

Hopefully Highrise will have a simple way to show a pipline report (nothing too fancy of course) and we can ditch Act and really collaborate with that info.

stanley 12 Feb 07

Here’s to hoping for better BC integration than CF and WB.

Kendall 12 Feb 07

Sounds like it could be a really strong offering. Will there be any cross-product integration?

Knowing how you roll, i’d expect it to not at first and that it will be integrated a few months after release?

BradM 12 Feb 07

That is too funny. Just today I was thinking, “The one thing I’m missing is a webbased contact manager”. I was going to start researching tonight to see my choices.

I was hoping that there were no good choices so I could build a proper one. DAMN IT !!! Well, at least I didn’t waste my time.

Looking forward to it.

Jamie Stephens 12 Feb 07

Definitely looking forward to it. I like the name too. Although I have also always fancied the name of our local bakery, Uprise. Probably not the feel you are going for. :)

Best of luck on your launch!

Dan Boland 12 Feb 07

What, no dinky thumbnail image to have us debating in circles? ;) I’m looking forward to its release.

JF 12 Feb 07

Chris: Highrise won’t have pipeline reports or any numbers. It’s not a CRM tool in the traditional sense. It’s a lot closer to an address book than something like Salesforce.com.

Just as Basecamp doesn’t have traditional project management staples such as Gantt charts, Highrise doesn’t have traditional CRM tools like sales pipeline reports or charts.

Highrise is about people, communications, conversations, and tasks. It’s not about numbers.

Karl N 12 Feb 07

Sounds cool.

I’m having trouble mentally linking the name to the concept so far, though.

Blake 12 Feb 07

I’m having a difficult time getting excited about this product.

Anyone else?

Emil 12 Feb 07

I think this could be really great if it has good integration with Basecamp!

BryanJ 12 Feb 07

What do you mean by integration with Basecamp? How would you see it integrating with Basecamp? Why does everything need to integrate?

Robert 12 Feb 07


We have no use for Campfire as it stands, and that’s ok. I’m not sure Highrise is for us yet either, but if not . . we are pleased with BC and that’s all that matters. We fill our other needs with non-37S products.

Tomas Jogin 12 Feb 07

Knowing how well 37signals executes on ideas, I’m sure Highrise is going to be as phenomenal a product as Basecamp is.

Ian Waring 12 Feb 07

I probably one of millions that have read “Getting Things Done”, and failed miserably to get Outlook, or Notes, or other group comms tool to organise all my tasks, actions, promises, deadlines and “next steps” in one place systematically.

I look forward to seeing Highrise and to see if it’ll answer my prayers.

Ian W.

BillSaysThis 12 Feb 07

JF: Care to comment on pricing? Will this have a freemium range?

Blake 12 Feb 07


Thanks for the link. I’ll try out your application.

Blake P.S. Does it sounds strange to say that I want to try your application just because it’s not 37signals?

Keith Mancuso 12 Feb 07

Will it allow for mass email communication to people or only one on one??

I’d love to see our one and one communications intergrated in with some kind of mass emailing lists…that would be great.

Chris Busse 12 Feb 07

JF, numbers I can almost do with out. Stages in a Pipeline are more important. I’ll look forward to figuring out if what we need can be done with tagging or not.

heri 12 Feb 07

i dont know about you guys, but what i need is a finance/money manager. there is no product about this on the ‘net.

Scott Raymond 12 Feb 07

@heri: Assuming you mean personal finance, I’d recommend checking out wesabe.com—it’s a little rough around the edges right now, but it’s pretty great.

paulo 12 Feb 07

I have been itching to get rid of SugarCRM since I read about Sunrise. We hate SugarCRM so much that all it does right now is hold contact info and notes on interactions with those clients… When we decide to log in and use it.

- We thought the crm-ish parts of a dedicated CRM apps would improve things. Didn't come close.

- Pipelines and graphs were so cool. Until we found out we don’t need them and they just get in the way.

- Assigning tasks and keeping track of calendars was going to make our lives easier. We use Basecamp and Milestones instead.

If Highrise can come close to how Basecamp handles project collaboration/communication then it will be light years ahead of most everything out there.

Dial me up as a fanboy but I dig their stuff.

Dieter Komendera 12 Feb 07

Sounds interesting. Can’t wait for the first screenshots.

Bob 12 Feb 07

Sounds like an interesting space—Adaptive Path is spinning off a similar-sounding (and equally secretive) project: http://blog.getsatisfaction.com/

Damian Claassens 12 Feb 07

I’m really looking forward to seeing more about Highrise. Personally I’m a big fan of 37 Signals product range and I am sure this is going to be a great addition to the lineup.

Keep the info coming!

JL 12 Feb 07

Has Highrise been the main focus then for 37S for the last few months?

I only ask because in October 06 you released a Backpack Upgrade “Teaser” that said “coming in a few weeks”....Here we are 3 months later? Any update….

Gary 12 Feb 07

Someone asked what the big deal is about “everything” being “integrated”. I’m sick of dual & triple data entry & having to check several different places for different info. etc. so it’s a big deal to me. Also, anyone familiar with (pardon my profanity) MS Dynamics CRM 3 .0? How would Highrise be better/inferior?

Blake 12 Feb 07

I’m interested in reading how it sounds like people lackluster excited about this.

Has 37signals peaked already, just as web 2.0 has?

Anonymous Coward 12 Feb 07

Blake, you’ve commented three times on this post, more than anyone else. Sounds like you’re excited about it.

BillSaysThis 12 Feb 07


FunClient looks interesting. However, there is no visible explanation of the cost (signing up is free but that doesn’t mean use of the app is also free) nor is there any contact form or email address.

Emil 12 Feb 07

BryanJ: About the integration with Basecamp. If you have convinced your business to start using it and they actually use it. Then it’s easy to just “add” a product like Highrise to it.. and with integration I mean that it should be easy to work with (same/saved login etc).

Parama 12 Feb 07


Thanks for trying out Funclient

We are giving away a limited number of accounts for free. If you happen to get it for free, It will stay Free forever.

As soon as we’ve reached the quota, I will close up any registrations for Free accounts.

Our email is also there in the about us page.

it is FunSimpleCRM@funclient.com



Funclient.com Fun Simple Customer Management

BJ Vicks 12 Feb 07

Can’t wait to give this a try!

Paul M. Watson 12 Feb 07

It is going to have an API , right? Something we can hook into and integrate into our communication protocols.

Ross Hill 12 Feb 07

Just yesterday I was thinking how long it has been since you guys unveiled a new product. If you’ve been getting agile and testing it for months I can’t wait to see the results :)

Iorek Byrnison 12 Feb 07

Congratulations on getting this done along with everything else, 37s.

@heri: There’s also an application called Dimewise to keep track of your money. It’s currently being redesigned and refactored.

MyNameIsMatt 13 Feb 07

Sort of a tangent, but on the trademark comment of not using Sunrise and instead Highrise (not that I’m an lawyer or expert of any kind, but), I don’t think either highrise nor sunrise are trademarkable terms. It’s smart not calling your product sunrise if there’s a similar product out called, but anyone is allowed to use the term sunrise still because it’s a basic term and hence (as I understand) can’t be trademarked. It’s like trying to trademark stealth and then suing the government for calling a plane the stealth bomber. Ain’t gonna happen (although I believe someone actually try this, or similar).

ThoughtLava 13 Feb 07

While I see marginal utility if you already have the core product (Basecamp), it might be interesting if it is extended to applications like PipelineDeals.com. PipelineDeals does a wonderful job of helping us manage our pipeline, but could do more in terms of managing the communication that ultimately leads to a sale.

Is this a possibility?

Brandy Karl 13 Feb 07

One can use virtually any word as a trademark (i.e., to distinguish a producer’s goods/services from another producer’s). What matters are the following: 1) If you can actually accrue any rights in the word* 2) If someone has prior rights over your use and 3) If you’ll get sued for using it. It’s less about the symbol and more about the use, and whether the symbol is distinctive of the producer.

For a better understanding, read the wikipedia article on trademarks.

As for Highrise, I’m excited to see it. Will it connect with Outlook? At least automated sync of my contacts?

*(or phrase, or design, or color, etc.)

Digger 13 Feb 07

Fantastic to finally see this come to fruition. Been patiently waiting and unfortunately just had to renew our Salesforce Suscription last month.

I’m particularly keen to see where 37Signals will go with:-

a: Integration to Address Book and iCal on the Mac. b: Integration with email (web mail such as Gmail or .mac mail and offline mail such as Apple Mail)

These are the two really problematic areas currently with our SF installation. Integration with MS Outlook and then to Windows Mobile is pretty good. Doesn’t happen for Macs (not for Team or Professional edition anyway). Then I’ll be able to sync my teams online address book with my new iPhone!

Would love to see the ability for Highrise to consume certain email (e.g. a help@company.com email) for sharing across a team. I know other web 2 apps do this – but a bit flaky from what i’ve seen.

Would also like to see some integration with other 37 Signals apps – such as Writeboard, etc.

Looking forward to developments.

Bernie Aho 13 Feb 07

Love it..Can’t wait.. I just hope it has a good and easy upload feature for all us people that had to go elsewhere before this is released…...

Very excited about this.

Bob Aman 13 Feb 07

Sounds cool. Not a need that I personally have. But I can totally see how other people could use something like this.

Michael Vu 13 Feb 07

I can’t wait. I’ve been testing out Zoho CRM and SugarCRM lately and have been pretty impressed with both. I am excited to see what 37signals has come up with.

Brandon 13 Feb 07

This is an important niche needing filled with something slightly more streamlined yet powerful than these other contact managers: BigContacts, Oprius Foundations, and FunClient.

Those three either have cluttered interfaces, too many features that sound good but are too difficult to use quickly, or are just flat unprofessional in terms of the total package.

Looking forward to the 37Signals offering…

Lucas Rodriguez Cervera 13 Feb 07

I was just looking for a good web based contact management tool, and there isn’t. Also contacts + interaction record is a great idea. And the use cases explained are extremely valuable…

Peter Knight 13 Feb 07

So essentially it’s a CRM app. without the boring bits :O) A lot of people I know using the big three CRM vendor software are skipping all the sales pipeline reports and charting anyway so it’ll be interesting to watch the take up. Good luck with it.

Steven Hambleton 13 Feb 07

Well it’s about bloody time you guys did something like this!

The ability to view my contact info on the road or the office is a big plus. As long as I can schedule a ‘call’ and not just a task, that will be a big plus for me :)

I use ACT ! 6 on a daily basis and nothing comes close for features and leanness. Other CRMs such as Outlook 2007 BCM , ACT! 2007 etc are big bloated Windows only monsters. I want cool and uncluttered.

PS. It would be great if I could tie it in with Skype and Campaign Monitor so I could have a total online sales and marketing centre!

Jeff Mackey 13 Feb 07

Congratulations, guys. I can’t wait to see it. Once again, you continue to motivate and inspire.

Tracy 13 Feb 07

This is perfect timing. We’ve got SalesForce… and no one is using it… so I’ve looked into alternatives… but they are all way too bloated for what my small sales team needs. I’m looking forward to poking around Highrise. Bring it on!

Tobie Langel 13 Feb 07

That’s just very smart.

And missing.

Another winner… you guys really rock!

Chris Busse 13 Feb 07

I’ve seen a couple of people mention a desire for integration with Campaign Monitor. I’d speculate that this would be possible if they release an API for Highrise like they’ve done with Basecamp and Backpack.

Infact, the current Basecamp API and the Campaign Monitor API would let you get you sync your Basecamp contacts to Campaign Monitor so I’m optimistic that this will be possible with Highrise.

One thing I’m very curious to see is with all the push to make RESTful apps with Rails, will an API be available from the start, or will it come later after the app is released?

Arik 13 Feb 07

I love that approach.

Adam 13 Feb 07

I’m excited to see this, but a little disappointed it doesn’t include any numbers/reports. I agree that this type of system should be people based, however you need to be able to report on how your communications are progressing to track resources, troublesome clients, common problems/issues, lead conversion, sales, etc.

Salesforce is too much for the average company and everything else is lacking and/or cumbersome. Has anyone else found a happy medium?

Scott Meade 13 Feb 07

Congrats to 37s for the imminent release of a much-anticipated product that is sure to be winner! Looking forward to seeing some screenshots!

Adam – with LeadsOnRails.com” we are trying to fill the market you describe. We too have heard customers say that Salesforce had too many features. At first I didn’t believe it – how could you have too much for your money – but then we kept hearing it and continue to build the product around customer feedback (e.g. we implemented simpler sales team collaboration and leads management with tags instead of complex folders based on a user recommendation).

Drew 13 Feb 07

Hopefully it will have some way to track people movement from company to company, and store multi-dimensional relationships.

Jean-Pierre 13 Feb 07


I have been waiting for a year, I am really happy to see this coming . I am really curious how you will integrate emails such as gmail or GFYD . Today we need to cut and past emails into Basecamp to have all the info in one place, will that be past sense ? Can I keep my own email adress ? Interesting how you do the introduction, did Steve Jobs inspired you ;-)

Thanks for your great products !

Mike 13 Feb 07

I like the sound of it. I need something that I can track conversations with (basically, a glorified searchable log) when I do the tech support part of my job (something more basic that ServiceDesk).

Pete 13 Feb 07

I am a big fan of Backpack and Basecamp. Your feature set and positioning for Highrise sounds spot-on.

1) Will Highrise sync data with smartphones or are you counting on a mobile web interface? Mobility is key and so far your calendar implementations have fallen short for me in this area.

2) I am a GTD ninja. Any thoughts as to how Highrise would work with people that practice the GTD methodology?


Dave Rosen 14 Feb 07

I wonder if this comment I am posting now shows up in your HighRise? :P

Can’t wait.

Jesus A. Domingo 14 Feb 07

Sounds good and will definitely taste better :P

allan branch 14 Feb 07

Very cool, we’re working on an app with some similar pieces. Will this app have an API ???

Seth Weintraub 14 Feb 07

Will this have an LDAP -type server for synching contacts to Email Apps? If not, I would suggest this as a great way to synch contacts while on the road and between multiple computers and multiple applications.

David Bednarski 14 Feb 07

Traditional CRMs have not worked for us. We have about 1500 dealers/contractors – will there be the ability to export the list and add in custom Y/N fields?

Peter Glyman 14 Feb 07

This is great news. For months we have been looking for a light contact manager that will allow us to share contacts within our team. Specifically we have been watching who’s building something in Rails. I looked at LeadsOnTrack.com and PipelineDeals.com, both great products but overkill for what we need.

So needless to say, we’re excited to learn that you guys didn’t abandon Sunrise/Highrise and I guess we’ll hold out a little longer keeping contacts in Gmail, spreadsheets and writeboards.

Aaron 14 Feb 07

What does Highrise have to do with camping Is no product naming theme sacred

Not Impressed 14 Feb 07

The only thing impressive about Highrise (and 37signals) is your arrogance. It takes a truly impressive team of hubris-ridden, egotistic developers to think that you’ll be able to do what every collaborative, CRM -ish, contact management tool has already been trying to do for years, but do it “right.” After the hype wears off, everyone will shelve Highrise and think of it as another feeble attempt to solve the insurmountable problem that everyone’s stuck in a e-mail, phone and IM rut and no one truly collaborates on anything. Ever. You can’t change that, no matter how great you think your software is.

Franz 14 Feb 07

Will Highrise come with an API to allow integration with 3rd part apps?

Matt Carey 14 Feb 07

I know nothing about Highrise and don’t have any insider knowledge. What I do have is a hunch and gut feeling…

All those people wanting syncing with applications, mobile handsets etc could be out of luck. I think it is going to be simple, web-based only, have vcard import but no syncing and dispense with all the fluff which you think you need but don’t really.

Ferran 14 Feb 07

Maybe Gantt graphics are not important for a to-do list (I usually don’t do a Gantt graphic on my post-it notes) but when we talk about sales, they’re numbers. It’s not the same this sale or other, the numbers and the margins are truly important.

In order to save chats I’ve Gmail, thanks.

lane 14 Feb 07

To Bob’s point, above: Based on my reading of what Jason and the gang are up to, Highrise and our new product Satisfaction are going to be highly complementary but almost entirely different applications. Personally, I’m looking forward to figuring out how our APIs are going to hook up! Though it should be noted that our URL was totally 37s-inspired, what with the extra letters next to the product name and all.

(Also, Adaptive Path’s not involved with Satisfaction—I left AP to start a new company. Though we are renting out space from them upstairs while we ramp up. :)

Noel Hurtley 15 Feb 07

I look forward to giving Highrise a go. It sounds like a much needed diversion from the traditional CRM tools.

Richard Newton 15 Feb 07

I used to use Act back in the days when it was a simple DOS based program (yes, some of us are that old!). It was then a beautiful application. It’s now so bloated, a bit like MS, trying to be everything to everyone (not to mention crashing). Seems that Highrise will enable me to return to a simple and elegant crm solution.

On a different note, and as a former camper/ mountainclimber (way before I used ACT ), I will miss the rustic feel of all the other 37S product names. From basecamp, campfire, backpack to Highrise??? How about summit? or bivouac? or carabiner (obvious connection metaphor)

Can’t wait…..

Jones 15 Feb 07

I’d love to see some screens.

jake 15 Feb 07

I was just thinking how awesome it would be to have this mystery app tied into our Campfire… that way we could do like

[CLIENTX] had a quick five minute meeting to talk about the new comps

... which we already do. And that would go into Highrise under that client/contact.

Jason Kemp 15 Feb 07

Looking forward to fresh thinking in the area. Also wondering how this will compare to Daylite which seems to be a mid ground system that allows easy linking with mac.

In my view any disconnected application “island” needs to be very, very good to justify the need for a new product.

CRM is a collaboration strategy designed to be shared space. The “right” software always helps but is only part of the equation.

Geof Harries 16 Feb 07

JF – What font are you using for the logo? It looks different from your other apps.

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