Brewster

Twenty years into the personal technology revolution and we are still using address books that work pretty much like physical address books. It makes no sense. The mobile address book should be hyperconnected to our digital life, informed by it, and responsive to it.

I remember back in early 2011, Steve Greenwood walked into our old offices on the 14th floor and told us that he intended to build that hyperconnected mobile address book. He showed us a spreadsheet he had been personally using for the past five or so years to manage all of his relationships. I had never seen anything like it. He was obsessed with relationships and managing them. That's what we are always looking for, someone who just can't sleep because they want to fix something that isn't working in their world and have been trying for a long time to fix it.

Steve had built a prototype that ran on the web and the vision was all there. An address book that knows what you are doing, where you are, who you are most engaged with at any time, and is search and context driven as opposed to a directory of names and addresses.

But Steve knew that he had to launch this as a mobile app that will eventually replace your current address book and he knew he had a lot of hard technical problems to solve in order to do it right and do it at scale. So he asked us for the seed capital to build a team and build that product. We said yes.

Today, Steve and the amazing team he put together are launching Brewster, initially as an iOS app. If you have an iPhone, you can download it from the iOS app store and check it out. The NY Times has a good post on Brewster today.

Here's how Brewster works. You download the app. You connect it to google apps, facebook, twitter, foursquare, linkedin, and soon a bunch more services. Brewster builds you a new address book that runs on your phone and also in the cloud.

This new address book is smart because it knows a lot more things about your relationships than you have ever entered into your address book and it is adapting in real-time to all of this data. It knows who you probably want to talk to right now and it also knows who you are losing touch with and displays all of this data in a feed. Your Brewster address book is also de-duped and hot linked to all the social activities you want to do from calling, texting, facebooking, or whatever.

This is an address book that can handle a search query like "knicks game" or "sushi tonight" or "band of horses concert". We are always querying our brain with questions like that. Now we can ask our address books those kinds of questions.

I have really enjoyed being involved with this project over the past year. It fits neatly into many themes I have been writing about and thinking about for years. But mostly I am excited to finally see this product out in the market where folks can use it and experience Steve's vision of how an address book should work in the mobile social world we live in.

#mobile#VC & Technology#Web/Tech

Comments (Archived):

  1. falicon

    Sounds really great…also interesting timing as Hashable just sent out word last night about it’s closing…BTW – when I read the headline I thought we were going to be talking about Brewsters Millions (AWESOME movie)…or maybe Punky Brewster (which probably says more about my [old] age than anything else)…for some reason, the association to these two things makes me really like the name for this app…will check it out. Thanks!

    1. William Mougayar

      I was thinking the same.

    2. Cam MacRae

      You’re not the only one!

    3. fredwilson

      hashable is an interesting story. we initially backed that team to build a yahoo finance competitor. they pivoted into mobile relationship management. and now have pivoted again. i think this new direction for them is a really good one.we backed steve to build this very thing and he is 100% focused on it. i don’t expect any pivots from Steve.

      1. awaldstein

        Talking about pivoting and teams.I heard the founder of fab talk a bit ago.When he pivoted to what he has today, he rebuilt the team mostly from the ground up. His logic was the vision, the platfrom, the positioning had changed dramatically and the team needed to change along with it, regardless of loyalty of the people who stuck with him from the beginning.Straight hard talk that sounded right to me.

      2. William Mougayar

        Is Brewster a USV backed company?

        1. fredwilson

          yes. i was clear about that in the post

          1. William Mougayar

            yup. sorry i missed it initially.

      3. Abdallah Al-Hakim

        I got an email today from hashable informing me that they are shutting down. Is their team pivoting to something completely different? or is this a surprise to you?

        1. fredwilson

          pivoting to something completely different

    4. bsoist

      I thought the timing was interesting too. I hadn’t really used hashable that much, but I was thinking of using it more to better track my connections. I just deleted hashable from my iPhone about an hour ago. Now, I’m downloading Brewster.

    5. JimHirshfield

      Funny, Brewster has highly positive association for me too. There’s an old estate in New Haven that was turned into a city park many years ago. It was called Brewster Park when I was growing up and it’s where I would hang out with my high school buddies, picnicking, concerts, or just lazing about. They’ve since changed the name – it’s named after the mansion that was torn down.”In 1957 Brewsterโ€™s will stipulated that the house be demolished and the grounds be given to the City of New Haven for a park after his wifeโ€™s death.”http://edgertonpark.org/his…

  2. David Noรซl

    Sounds neat, wanted to try it out but unfortunately it only accepts US mobile phone numbers

    1. fredwilson

      that’s for the sms distributionyou can get it in the app store herehttp://itunes.apple.com/us/…

      1. David Noรซl

        I tried that too, US store only ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. William Mougayar

    I like the trend about connecting to your existing services as the only required on-boarding and the App does the magic in the background.

  4. Ryan Stephens

    Brewster is downloading to my mobile as we speak. Ever since I read Keith Ferrazzi’s “Never Eat Alone” I’ve been obsessed with managing my professional relationships. I also keep a big excel spreadsheet where I track the last time I talked with someone, what we talked about, what was actionable, etc.It sounds excellent for managing your own personal contacts, but is there anything within the app that helps you facilitate the connection of other people within your network (i.e. Joe would be an excellent contact for Suzan to have for….)I’m really looking forward to playing around with Brewster today.

    1. Randy Meech

      Awesome — very interested to hear how it goes.

      1. Ryan Stephens

        Randy,I DL’d the app, but it won’t open. I deleted and re-installed – same thing. Any ideas?Thanks for your help in advance!-R

        1. Randy Meech

          Can you throw a support request here and we’ll hook you up? [email protected]

  5. Rohan

    I thought you were talking about a pub for a moment.But this is better.And I can’t seem to find it on my App store. US release?

  6. Patrick Morris

    Great timing I was just talking to a friend who is currently looking for a job and wanted a service like this. I’ll have to pass it along.

  7. Tanya Jayne Park

    Why only iPhone?When I started reading this I felt sure you would tell me there is an Android version.But seems not to be the case sadly.Love the idea but today I’m – Disappointed Tanya

    1. fredwilson

      i feel your pain. i am android only too.

      1. Tanya Jayne Park

        Any ETA on an Android version?Also why do you think people develop for iPhone first? I could understand it a year ago but it seems like a level playing field now and it perplexes me why this is still prevalent.

        1. fredwilson

          that is one of my biggest beefs. i wrote a post several years ago suggesting that developers shouldn’t always build for iOS first. got a lot of shit for it. it’s hard being a VC who invests in mobile when many of the best apps are iOS only. but i have my principals and i am not going to let money get in front of them.

          1. Tanya Jayne Park

            ๐Ÿ™‚

          2. brian trautschold

            “i have my principals and i am not going to let money get in front of them.”major respect for that quote (even if it is based on iOS v Android)..and btw *Disqus* real terrible on doing comments from mobile..

          3. Yalim K. Gerger

            Yes. Finally someone pointed that out. Disqus acts as if mobile does not exist. I am quite sure I’ve never used a post-pc era app that sucks at mobile so bad after being around so long.

          4. fredwilson

            daniel says the team is now focused on the mobile experience

          5. brian trautschold

            I like where Daniel’s head is at.sorry for getting @FakeGrimlock:disqus fired up…unstoppable force for product improvement

          6. FAKE GRIMLOCK

            UNSTOPPABLE FORCE FOR MAKE *EVERYTHING* MORE AWESOME!

          7. Ricardo Diz

            Totally agree with your *Disqus* comment!

          8. Dave W Baldwin

            and at @ricardodiz:disqus just in case, when notified, say be gmail, you have a reply on disqus, reply from the gmail instead of coming back to avc page.

          9. Ricardo Diz

            Thanks for the tip!

          10. FAKE GRIMLOCK

            IT SAD HOW @DISQUS 2.0 DO IMPOSSIBLE, MAKE DISQUS EVEN WORSE ON MOBILE.THEM SHOULD HAVE HIRED SOME KIND OF EXPERT IN MOBILE UX, HELP THEM DO IT RIGHT.

          11. Christian ๏ฃฟ

            several years ago…we use to prioritize numbers… now android market is huge…not before…

          12. Adrian Sanders

            climbing two mountains at once?

          13. FAKE GRIMLOCK

            THEN PUT MONEY IN FRONT OF BUILD PHONE THAT NOT ANTI-DEVELOPER, ANTI-USER.MO PHONE LOOK LIKE GOOD START.http://www.mozilla.org/en-U

        2. kidmercury

          patience is all we need. there is a small but growing collection of apps that are android only and a growing contingency of developers who realize that they are better off making android a priority. i don’t have a device running jelly bean but from what i can gather it seems like google really nailed it on that. as android tablets gain market share, developers will migrate and the good times can begin.

          1. kenberger

            true- I have jelly bean on my Nexus phone and Google Now does some of the functionality described and then some. I’m bullish.

          2. Richard

            The apple tree bears the best fruit in the land. They will be the cokecola of this space for years to come.

          3. kidmercury

            best is highly subjective. in any event, it is still PC wars all over again, apple will lose the distribution game on a long run because their model costs too much and because they will not be able to fit into the myriad of hardware setups that tablets will require for all their case uses (ebooks, restaurant menus, maps in malls, tv screens, gaming devices, checkout registers, refrigerators, automobiles, etc).

        3. Tim Metzner

          Totally feel your pain as I’m an Android only guy still. I also understand that as a young startup the only way you’re ever going to gain traction is by being laser focused. My guess is (without any hard data to back up my theory) the reason most focus on iOS first is because you’re able to reach more early adopters and tech influentials thro iOS than Android. So even if market size is similar, you’ve still got a better shot at going viral and creating buzz via iOS.

        4. Elia Freedman

          Sometimes that answer is as simple as what the developer has more experience in. When talking about minimum viable product, what can be done fastest usually wins. There is almost zero cross over when moving from iOS to Android, and that includes skill sets.

        5. Scobleizer

          Developers tell me over and over why.1. Most of the influentials are still on iOS (when I spoke at Where 2.0 80% of the audience was on iPhones, and that number has NOT changed much over the past year despite all the hype about Android).2. Enterprise users are FAR heavier users of iOS than Android. Listen to AppCentral’s CEO talk about what he’s seeing happen in enterprise: http://soundcloud.com/scobl… So, if you are chasing users with money, iOS is it.3. iOS users use more apps and pay for more of them. I consistently hear this. When I was at Google IO conference one developer whispered to me that he’s thinking of not building for Android anymore because Android users don’t pay for anything. This is a consistent belief among developers, true or not (and the devs tell me it’s true).4. iOS is easier to build for. Listen to Path’s developers (they built for both iOS and Android) https://plus.google.com/111… They said Android was a real pain to design and build for compared to iOS. I’ve heard the same thing from SmugMug and many other developers (another way to put this is ecosystem fragmentation).5. eBay’s CEO tells me his users are still a majority on iOS. Money.6. Starbucks’ CTO tells me more users in his stores are using iOS. Money. (Heavier mobile and app users use iOS).Anyway, I don’t see this trend changing anytime soon. All the coolest apps I’ve seen this week are on iOS and I know of apps coming out well into next year that are going to be iOS only.If you want the best apps you should get iOS and stop complaining. When you buy a non-iOS device you are betting against developers and whining about it won’t help your cause at all.

          1. Dale Allyn

            I like the content in this comment, Robert, but feel that saying that frustrated Android users are “whining” when they’re expressing their lament seems a bit harsh. IMHO the last paragraph detracted from the otherwise interesting info (and I’m an iOS/Mac user).

          2. kidmercury

            lol i appreciate the bluntness of your comment, robert!

          3. FAKE GRIMLOCK

            PEOPLE THAT WANT SMART PHONE BUY IPHONE.PEOPLE THAT WANT WHATEVER CHEAPEST BUY ANDROID.

          4. Abdallah Al-Hakim

            nice summary!! It makes sense ๐Ÿ™‚

      2. LE

        I am ios only.But if I did what you did I would definitely have android as well. For the same reason I watch both sides of political arguments (Kudlow and Chris Matthews) and I used to go through my sisters magazines to gain intel on what the opposing side was thinking (very helpful btw.).Kind of a @msuster “Both sides of the table” approach.

    2. Randy Meech

      We are working hard for you, Tanya ๐Ÿ˜‰

      1. Tanya Jayne Park

        Glad to hear it :)Any tentative ETA?

    3. Ricardo Parro

      Windows Phone here :S ! Unfortunately windows phones are behind the curve in terms of apps but it’s a great phone. Specially the Nokia ones

      1. Scobleizer

        Here, do an exercise. Get a new Samsung SIII. Put it next to the Nokia. (I have both). The Nokia sucks in comparison, sorry. Windows Phone is not going to be picked up by most people because it just is way lacking in the app (and hardware and software) department.

        1. Ricardo Parro

          well I don’t agree.

    4. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

      It is assumed that iPhone users are more tech lovers ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. Carl Rahn Griffith

        And most inclined to jump immediately onto on any old bandwagon going ๐Ÿ˜‰

        1. kidmercury

          +1

      2. Elia Freedman

        I disagree completely. More novices on iOS, at least among the app downloading crowd. Much of the press seems to be iOS centric’ too, which might make a difference.

        1. kidmercury

          +1

        2. Donna Brewington White

          And I would have thought that android users would tend to be more inclined toward early adoption. Especially something more productivity oriented rather than social.

    5. jason wright

      What is the explanation, the thinking, behind releasing on the iphone first?

      1. William Mougayar

        From a technology perspective, typically it’s easier to develop an iPhone app and it requires less resources to do it than on Android.

    6. hypermark

      For most developers the choice is simple. There is (largely) one version of iOS, very few device variants and a clear distribution and monetization path. The opposite is true with Android, which in part explains why there are few (non-Google) breakout apps that launched first on Android.

    7. Donna Brewington White

      on the bright side maybe the bugs will be worked out by the time it gets to androidalthough it’s fun to be part of the early user crowd bugs and all

  8. Anne Libby

    App store search (via phone) for Brewster doesn’t pop this one up. Your link works fine.

    1. John Revay

      Had the same issue – search on iPhone did not return the app, I had to load via iTunes

  9. Cam MacRae

    It sounds awesome, but having read the privacy policy I’m less convinced it’s for me. I’d be more positive if account deletion meant account deletion, and my data was encrypted etc., (the use of firewalls and contracts, whilst encouraging, doesn’t cut the mustard).The problem as I see it is not that I choose to provide my data to Brewster, but that I am providing the data of *others*.

    1. Randy Meech

      Cam – account deletion is account deletion, it’s super easy and we get rid of all the data you brought. I’ll explain it in an upcoming blog post. All data is encrypted to & from the server.

      1. Cam MacRae

        That’s not what the privacy policy says.Data encrypted to and from the server isn’t a concern. Storage is.I love the idea, and hope it blows up into something big, but as I’m one of those weirdos who cares about the breadcrumbs I leave about the place it’s probably not for me.

        1. Carl Rahn Griffith

          Thus, Mark Z would love this ๐Ÿ˜‰

          1. Cam MacRae

            And for the sake of all involved I hope he (over)pays handsomely for it!

          2. Carl Rahn Griffith

            Lol. I am sure it has the potential to become a (Austin Powers) Dr Evil Instagram moment… “One Billion Dollars! Mwwwahhhhhhhhh!!”;-)

        2. Dale Allyn

          I felt the same way, Cam. I’m glad they’ve taken the first steps to encryption and deleting data on exit (taking Randy at his word), but like you, I’d prefer encrypted storage for this type of material.

      2. JimHirshfield

        Randy? Yo…how are ya? Didn’t know you were involved in Brewster. Cool.

        1. JamesHRH

          Proof of the need for Brewster Jim!

          1. JimHirshfield

            Doah!

        2. Randy Meech

          Good — busy day!

      3. sprugman

        If deletion is deletion, than why the weasel words in the privacy policy?

    2. RichardF

      I agree Cam, my address book is mine and nobody elses. I don’t have Twitter or Facebook apps on my mobile phone because both of those apps by default have access to your address book and I don’t trust either company. The whole Path debacle demonstrates how easy it is for a young company to assume that your contact database somehow becomes theirs to utilise.

      1. Cam MacRae

        The LinkedIn app clobbered all my address book photos with watermarked LinkedIn profile pics. Couldn’t delete it fast enough.

        1. RichardF

          ugh…

        2. Brandon Marker

          wow, that is horrendous. Especially considering most of the LinkedIn pics are awkward or look like they are from ’95

  10. Preston Pesek

    I’m also confused as to why Apple’s calendar is still rendered to look like you’ve just torn last month’s page off of a paper desktop calendar (literally something designed to physically rest on a wooden desk). This is perhaps a compromise to usher people into new patterns of behavior by offering familiar touch-points leftover from obsolete yet entrenched solutions… its the same question that Steve asked about the address book, and it’s a great one: Why does a digital address book need to evoke the feel and utility of a physical, paper one? It’s a fine line to walk when introducing new solutions. Our behavior patterns are shaped by the forms, textures, and barriers that exist in our environment, and our intelligence is based upon pattern recognition (see http://amzn.to/OzObYP). If you introduce something too radical or unfamiliar before people are ready for it, you risk low adoption rates. This is a major problem for all kinds of innovators, and it’s the reason why younger, more malleable brains readily adopt and invent new solutions, and why it’s important as we age to challenge ourselves to break old patterns, travel to new environments (both digitally and physically) to make sure we don’t get trapped in a pattern of debilitating repetition that prevents us from realizing that there is a better way!

    1. awaldstein

      Really great comment…The more dramatically you break behavioral patterns the more immediate the benefit needs to be.I actually think age is not the curve for accepting change in the web world as much as the need to capture a benefit. Semi instantaneous behavioral gratification.That’s why big buzz around early iterations of products before they start to discover themselves and that behavioral hook are in my book, often ill advised.

      1. Preston Pesek

        Interesting take on the risk of early iteration… it’s almost like a race between humans adapting to the environment of a new app, and that of an application adapting to its human environment. Whichever one gains more momentum, wins.

        1. awaldstein

          Survival of the most adaptable is how most think about it.Though I’m less and less convinced about the pie against the wall method.It takes time to figure out how the behavioral muscles work. It just ain’t easy to build something that has just enough to capture the reflex and not too much to stifle the want for more that isn’t there yet.

      2. Preston Pesek

        Agree 100% on the correlation of immediate benefit and universal adoption when introducing radical & unfamiliar solutions… although it’s always going to be a challenge to reach those comfortably entrenched and not even looking for new solutions. For example, there are loads of people who see no apparent, immediate benefit or problem for which Twitter has provided an obvious solution. In fact, I would argue that Twitter is an example of an app that requires the right kind of attitude and desire for new experiences for non-digital-natives to enthusiastically adopt it… perhaps the problem that it solves for quite a large cohort is that of not wanting to appear out of touch with what everyone else is talking about. This is, of course, a real problem that people want to solve, but it’s quite different from needing to broadcast a short blurb to lots of people instantly, a problem that I would argue not that many people actually had prior to using Twitter. However, Twitter is an entirely new environment requiring thorough engagement before all of its benefits begin to unfold. I don’t know if anyone else had this experience, but for me, using Twitter for the first time felt like the first day of middle school, where some of my old friends were there, but it’s mostly new faces… the rules are different, the stakes are higher, the possibilities are endless and there is a buzz of anxious excitement that everything is about to change… I live for those kinds of experiences and I’m thrilled that the digital revolution is fertile ground for them. However, many find that kind of experience intimidating, uncomfortable and far too unfamiliar to voluntarily subject oneself to… (I don’t know where I’m going with this line of thinking, but there’s something interesting there)

        1. awaldstein

          As a ‘publisher’ or someone whose networks are the market for my business as a consultant, Twitter intrigued from day 1 and you learn the language to make it work. And over time, I’ve had a natural migration of my networks from Facebook to Twitter.Really powerful and inspiring platform.Something harder, something less intuitive is the check in space. Foursquare is still becoming useful and their patience and professionalism in discovering each piece of behavior is inspiring. Makes me like them. Want to help them succeed. Makes me patient as they capture a new future.

          1. Preston Pesek

            Location specific socializing is an interesting counterpoint in an era when you can connect with everyone no matter where you happen to be physically. I almost view Foursquare as swimming upstream at a time when we’re rapidly absorbing the benefits of technology which renders location irrelevant. It may take an entire generation to realize what exactly we are losing by not interacting face to face… and at that point I’m sure we’ll relish in the benefit of a Foursquare like product, but for now, I’m not sure I share your optimism for the platform in this life… I would love to be proved wrong on this.

          2. awaldstein

            We shall see.Where we differ is that the best online social connections drive to offline relationships.True for blog communities for certain. Whenever there is exchange at a personal level, offline connections seem obvious,The ones that by default are virtual and appear complete, aren’t as interesting nor I bet as long lasting.

          3. Preston Pesek

            No doubt this is true. Care to catch up over coffee? I’m in the city, working on a startup that I’d love to get your thoughts about. [email protected]

    2. JamesHRH

      Familiarity breeds adoption.

    3. thinkdisruptive

      Why do you call it an address book?

      1. FAKE GRIMLOCK

        AFFORDANCE.

      2. Donna Brewington White

        What would you suggest?

        1. thinkdisruptive

          Not intending to suggest any alternative. It was a rhetorical question. The reason most e-versions of product start by evoking the physical is the visual metaphor is a touchstone to enable people to make the leap. Once they’re comfortable doing this electronically, they soon realize that a lot more is possible if you break convention and reengineer the process. We label it an address book for the same reason. It’s a metaphor, not really a book. If you didn’t use the metaphor, you’d have to educate people regarding what the thing does and why they should use it.per @FakeGrimlock:disqus Different way of saying the same thing. Cognitive psychology says that when we see a door handle that looks like a door handle, we recognize the function it performs and know what to do (turn the handle to open the door). The reason we use visual metaphors for UI and verbal metaphors to label and describe things is that they suggest the purpose and functions that the user should expect. i.e. it makes the transition easier. The opposite is also true. If you painted a trompe l’oeil of a door on your wall, and then attached a door knob to it, people would walk up to it and try to turn the handle and be very confused when the door doesn’t open. It’s kind of like those old Bugs Bunny cartoons where he had a portable hole that you could put on any surface and then walk through it. You see a hole — your mind expects it to behave like a hole.

    4. Yaniv Tal

      i agree with this but you’re selling apple’s approach short. there’s actually been a big movement in UX toward building widgets that mirror objects in the real world. it’s why people like sticky note apps that look like sticky notes. that’s not to say that we should force people to digitally flip through the notes one by one until they find the one they want – we can and should use the benefits that technology opens to us, but we also shouldn’t understate the appealing nature of familiarity – the warm fuzzies you get when something just “feels right”. naturally these things will change over time but culture is relative while being very real, even as we leap into the future ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Thomas Ilk

    Only available in the us store….

  12. johndefi

    I’ll give this a shot, but like others will have to wait for Android support.Will the app allow for contacting and managing communications from within or is it focused solely on data?

  13. JimHirshfield

    “Fred Wilpon, one of the founder partners of the firm, declined to disclose how much Union Square has invested in Brewster…” Who dat?http://bits.blogs.nytimes.c

    1. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

      ๐Ÿ™‚ …Yep I also noticed that … and Fred is addressed as Mr. Wilson 2-times in the post and it reminded me of baba12

  14. Carl Rahn Griffith

    Is modern life really so complex as to necessitate this?Regardless, good luck to them.

    1. JimHirshfield

      Business life, yes. We move at such a faster pace. Keeping up with who you know, how you know them, etc is very important to getting things done. It used to take forever to find the right contact at the right company. Now we have accelerated this process and with it comes many more contacts and it’s not easy to keep up relationships – professional relationships; I’m not talking about personal friendships and family. I can understand how some might see this as the downfall of human personal relationships, but it’s not. It’s CRM for the individual, but on a professional basis. Most CRM solutions are enterprise solutions and don’t travel with the individual when they leave that company and start working for another. So from a career perspective, we need individual professional CRM, IMHO.

      1. awaldstein

        Yup…part of the thesis of VRM from Doc Searls.

        1. JimHirshfield

          nod

        2. JimHirshfield

          (testing out new upload image feature on @disqus , in case you couldn’t tell)

          1. JimHirshfield

            obviously animated gifs don’t work.

    2. Ricardo Parro

      to merge all of your contacts around the web and manage the several relationship degrees in one place is pretty complex but useful for someone that uses the web as a way of leverage the day to day life.

    3. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

      Just trying to ease your hippocampus from struggling to get the data from frontal lobe ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

    The reminder feature sounds interesting and as Steve puts it … it is nifty.In this fast faster world we keep forgetting some great, good friends and family members and the reminder feature will be appreciated by the users in the long run (not immediately though).Good luck to the team.

  16. Richard

    Can you ask Steve to talk a little about the back end database / stack setup?

    1. Ricardo Parro

      that would be cool

    2. Randy Meech

      Cassandra, Riak, Elasticsearch, a lot of Node, some Rails — will do a blog post about this when things settle.

      1. Richard

        Thanks, I’m building a medical app and woud love to pick up a nugget or two.

        1. Yaniv Tal

          avoid node.js! don’t mean to start a flamewar here but not all that hypes is gold.. and javascript on the server should really be a nonstarter unless you/your team have never coded in anything else.

          1. Richard

            Please throw flames. This is what this blog is for? And I am feel like a ping pong ball today on backend stack decision making.ย 

          2. Yaniv Tal

            yeah, how nice it would be to have a big fat budget so you could spend enough time to thoroughly evaluate all the available options. i do think it’s important to spend the time to evaluate as much as you can upfront but at some point you’ll have to make a decision with incomplete information. we recently had to make a big technology pivot and it was difficult to do but that’s the nature of the beast.what are you considering so far?

        2. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

          @samedaydr:disqus what kind of medical app? … just a curiosity … any blog post on the app?

  17. sprugman

    What’s the revenue model?

    1. Richard

      We dont need no stinkin {badges} revenue model. :)Rev model easy when something becomes a habit.

      1. Ashley Herron

        I don’t ask because of skepticism about the possibility. I ask because of the reasons outlined by Rick above.

        1. sprugman

          Lol. How’d I get logged in as my girlfriend? #disqusfail

    2. Adrian Sanders

      intent.why not use my contact book to find “flowers” for my girl?what’s the contact that’s gonna show up there?highest bidder probably ๐Ÿ™‚

    3. rick gregory

      Why not, well, charge for the app? Yes, I know, network effects, etc. But if I’m paying for the app then *I* am the customer. If I’m not, then history tells me I’m the product. Sorry, but loading up all of this data and letting a very detailed graph be built around it feels like making me the product. Make me the customer. Let ME pay YOU.

      1. Ricardo Diz

        Well said. Still, I would add that the project needs some traction, and a free app lowers the barrier for people to try it. Thus, it seems to me like a good idea for now.You can make the decision to make the user the costumer or the product (btw, love the way you put this) later on. By not charging for the app, you’re not actually making the decision now, since you’re also not getting anything out of the user now (e.g., ads)…

      2. JamesHRH

        Paying customers demand a lot of service. Service does not scale cost effectively nor does it scale qualitatively.Can you imagine if FB has to respond to 750M ‘customers’?

    4. fredwilson

      dont know and dont care yet

      1. BentoBox

        Really?… My retirement funds are invested in your company. I would like you to know and care.

        1. fredwilson

          i said “yet”.i will care when it makes sense to care.your retirement funds are doing just fine with USV. http://finance.fortune.cnn….

          1. PhilipSugar

            Snap!You know that is the best part of being successful, it means you can march to your own drum and when people challenge you, you can smack them down.Its so much harder before you’ve had success but as you know it is what makes you successful.

          2. fredwilson

            there’s a longer answer to that question that involves explaining why we don’t focus on revenue models early in a network business. of course we do focus on them eventually. we have been very involved in the development of business models for many of our most successful portfolio companies. we love business model innovation. but it isn’t where we start.

          3. PhilipSugar

            Understand completely.My point is that when you march to your own drum you will have people that will challenge that.Its so nice to be able to say: Scoreboard!! That is what your link shouted ๐Ÿ™‚

          4. fredwilson

            yeah. i kind of felt bad about bragging. but i also am proud of what we’ve done.

          5. PhilipSugar

            Screw that you’ve worked hard to get where you are.

          6. Fund of Funds

            Based on the UTMCO report, UTMCO invested in USV 2004 L.P. $22.2M. As of Feb 2011, USV 2004 L.P. had returned $14.3M to UTMCO. The current value stated was $125.6M. As you know, this is the POTENTIAL return. It could be a lot more, it could be lot less.Note: I will fully congratulate USV the day I read that USV returned (no show a potential return) x5 or x6 to UTMCO. In the meantime, there are hundreds of funds that had performed and are performning better than USV.I agree with BentoBox. I would like you to know and care. For the retired people, your limited partners, your entrepreneurs and your portfolio companies’ customers that give their personal information for free. Is not all about the “potential” ROI, is about how do you get the LPs to invest in your funds, where you place the chips, how do you help to execute and how do you exit. “Don’t know and don’t care yet” sounds pretty scary (even with the yet) to me.

          7. fredwilson

            those are old numbers. i believe the 2004 fund has now returned north of 3x cash to UTIMCO and all of our LPs. i think we will get to 5x and possibly more. that fund is something special.

          8. fredwilson

            and i challenge you to find a 2004 vintage venture fund with better realized and unrealized returns than ours.

          9. JamesHRH

            The USV thesis – if you had done ANY research – is based on networks creating value.The revenue, optimally, is a natural extension of the network.Here is a list of 3 generic, high level revenue models that can be integrated into Brewster 5 years from now & generate billions ( if it is a usage home run ): professional services ( help w Brewster operation ) premium user services (fee for access to best services) & 3P services ( allowing businesses to connect w your Brewster account).And I have not even seen the app.Get real.When Andy Bechtolstein gave Larry Page & Sergey Brin $100,000 (as the first investor in Google – you may not know these names), they were running the service on CPU cycles that were, technically, being stolen from Stanford. Andy knew the that the scope would create revenue, eventually.Time & place, partner.USV has 4 of the largest social media winners in their portfolio. You know better?

        2. JamesHRH

          Really?If you knew ANYTHING about social media, you would know that disregarding revenue is central to every home run to date. Organic revenue models appear & are more powerful than traditional models.The guy you are taking a run at is acknowledged to be in the top 1%, based on performance & reputation, in his industry.Are you?

      2. Robert Thuston

        ^100 and that’s why you are awesome. Love that you don’t blindly follow conventional wisdom! In this way you inspire me immensely.

  18. Eric Leebow

    Yes, why only iPhone? How about Android, does it work on iPad? The name is great, it’s the name of my Mom’s old dog, and the high school my brother went to. Just wondering how it was called Brewster?

  19. Stanislas Marion

    it’s not in the French app store :(. I’ve been waiting for years for something like this, especially since everyme thought it was cool to pivot from exactly this to yet another way of sending status updates.

  20. takingpitches

    Hey Nytimes, no one is mistaking this Fred for Fred Wilpon!

  21. kidmercury

    i’m still largely skeptical of mobile apps, mainly because (1) i question the app store distribution model (2) i question how prevalent downloading apps will really be and (3) i think entrepreneurs in the western world (but not necessarily elsewhere) are too far ahead of customers due to bubble 2.0 and the creeping bandwidth crunch. i see parents with kids download ebook/apps with great frequency, but i don’t really see any other demographic that downloads lots of apps. what is the max number of apps for the average person on their phone? 20? and how many will be pre-installed?more so than most apps, address book really needs to be integrated into the core OS. perhaps an acquisition target.

    1. Carl Rahn Griffith

      Agreed.

    2. JamesHRH

      I have to admit that I am a little App’d Out.The deck of my phone is littered w my kids games, my wife’s apps, etc…. these things all require management of some kind.

    3. RichardF

      the address book needs to be integrated into my core OS!

    4. Richard

      That train has left the station and you are still debating it’s departure time

      1. kidmercury

        tell me how many mobile apps have a clear revenue model, and how many have displaced google as the primary keystone that drives the web. right now, it all fits into the OS. and maybe that’s the way it is. if so, though, then mobile apps are a poor strategy.

        1. Richard

          You are making the mistake of putting today’s deflationary long tail app technologies into yesterdays normal distribution appliance business model. Apps are more like music than they are like appliances. Teams developing Apps will no more go away because of failure to develop into a google size company than musicians will stop writing songs because they will never be ย the Rolling Stones.ย If u look at Apps like call options, or more precisely barrier options, you will see that they are here to stay.

          1. kidmercury

            to clarify, i am not disputing that app are here to stay — i agree that they are. what i am disputing is that they are economically viable as standalone products — meaning not integrated into the OS — and the current systems for distributing apps are sustainable and will be with us for some time. so, when i say i am skeptical of mobile apps, what i really mean is that i am skeptical they are economically viable and that the current value chain surrounding them is sustainable.

          2. Richard

            The business models are coming!! It will just come from a different skill set than the hackers. Coders are great at building apps, but it takes years of insight to come up with great business model. (never mind some 18 year old who hasnt purchased more than mountain dew and pizza). Think dynamically not statically.

          3. kidmercury

            i think the business model is sell an ecosystem — the model being advanced by apple, amazon, google, and what microsoft and facebook seem to be gearing towards. but i think there is room for many companies here, not just the aforementioned big players, if they target a niche. that is why i think innovations that create low cost integrated ecosystems are far more valuable than creating apps. but, we’ll see. it’s still early in the game as evidenced by the lack of clear business models. what i think app developers should find troubling, though, is how valuable integration is in a mobile context.

          4. Yaniv Tal

            integration and extensibility is built into android. any app can publish intents that make it just as integrated as the core apps that ship with the OS. it’s interesting to note that while google has done a magnificent job of empowering app developers with far more control than iOS allows for its ecosystem, their true bet is actually on the web. they’re going to continue to put massive amounts of money into making web app development just as powerful as native apps. this is going to introduce a host of problems with implementing phonegap type functionality across platforms to allow deep integration with the different OS’s. there will have to be standards for registering intents and enabling frictionless payments/ recurring payments / in-app purchases through these web apps and i don’t expect google and apple to get together to do this any time soon. i doubt if any small companies are going to be able to offer this kind of ecosystem either. it’s probably going to have to come from the big boys.

          5. kidmercury

            i think everyone is going to just pull an amazon and piggyback off android to create their own integrated ecosystems at a discount — the evolution of android with intents will only make this easier to achieve. to give you an example, i do a lot of work in the financial services industry. the user experience i want is a tablet that gives me a curated media store where i can buy and discover books and videos related to finance; all the trading apps i want pre-installed; ideally some social networking service integrated as well; and the right screen size (maybe a 10.5″ tablet to allow for detailed look at trading charts). i think someone can build this using android as the OS and curating android apps to pre-install, then selling the device.

          6. Yaniv Tal

            that’s not a bad idea – custom android roms! it would be similar to the AMI’s used on amazon web services (VM’s with all the software you’d need preinstalled and configured). the problem is that the carriers aren’t likely to go for this. the ROM is where the carrier sets all of their proprietary settings / security policies (this is what people edit to root a phone). you can’t underestimate the power of the carriers. they’ve been cited as THE reason apple waited so long to develop the iphone. companies like amazon might be able to get a seat at that table but good luck trying to pry their final grip off the device!

    5. ayo

      Disagree with the argument for integration into core OS. That would be nice, but I currently use Xobni/Smartr Inbox as my default address book (it’s pretty similar to the brewster functionality so I’m curious to see the difference), and it’s far superior to the iOS address book, without being integrated into the core OS. For all the reasons @fredwilson:disqus describes (smarter search, contact analytics, de-duplication, automation etc). Crucially, an address book with living software behind it delivers value to you passively (without you having to do work for it) – this is important because most core OS address books have been designed and maintained explicitly as contact repositories and nothing more.Re: mobile apps – are you skeptical of mobile apps vs. sites/webapps, or just skeptical of mobile apps as the direction of mobile? I’m curious because the 3 problems you outline (distribution, prevalence of downloads, and bandwidth) all seem to be superseded by functionality: if certain apps deliver core functionality that you as a user need, my experience has been that finding those apps is not an issue. The other advantage vs. other software formats is that apps are persistent in a way, that many other things are not, and give developers the ability to sell themselves to the user over time (eg most webapps and downloadable installs for desktop have yet to adopt push notifications as a channel for delivering information, and often just push data into your email, which is likely to get lost).

      1. kidmercury

        based on your comment, i am assuming that you, like most people who participate here at avc, are more technologically sophisticated than the typical user. i think the typical user will increasingly demand integrated solutions. (integrated should not be confused with closed; i view them as separate issues)my skepticism around mobile apps relates largely to their economic viability and how they are distributed. i’m skeptical that people will download apps to their mobile devices in large quantities and that there is a robust business model here for many apps. i’m more bullish on delivering a curated ecosystem of some type, like what amazon is doing. how many opportunities are there for ecosystems like amazon, apple, facebook, google? i believe there are many, as i believe the cost of creating these ecosystems is falling dramatically.so my skepticism pertains more to marketing and economics/business model, a bit less to usage. i agree mobile apps will be used, but i am much more comfortable with a view that they need to be pre-installed and integrated with the OS and hardware.

        1. Dave W Baldwin

          It is a matter of providing a service. This falls into a ‘part’ of the personal assistant that will sort your stuff. So the big boys will be interested in buying it.Those that are trying to describe this strictly as an app, based on app this/that are off. Brewster only proves the practicality of striving for a more cognitive machine. The younger will dig it, the older will be thankful.

          1. kidmercury

            they may very well be interested in buying it — but they’ll only be interested in buying one such app (assuming they don’t create it internally). it’s similar to the twitter/facebook ecosystems, the platform is only going to buy one to fill the gap. as for everyone else………but maybe this can stand on its own and is not dependent upon deep integration with the OS. i’m skeptical, but we’re still very early in the mobile game, so who knows.

          2. Dave W Baldwin

            You are right. In this realm, it is a matter of building an artificial mind, different lobes/synapse at a time… Or more at once which more than app.

        2. Yaniv Tal

          it’s easier for an “app developer” to monetize off the app store than the alternatives is it not? the app store (and google play) made it really easy for people to make impulse purchases. It’s a lot harder to ask someone to enter their credit card or kick them over to paypal.

          1. kidmercury

            yes — provided you can get found via the app store! it’s a bit like SEO on the web, but far worse because of the usability constraints of mobile and apps, and the decision costs associated with apps (do i really want this on my OS, will it take up too much space, privacy concerns, battery concerns, etc)i agree that credit card/paypal has challenges as well, which is why i favor some type of model for app curation and apps pre-installed on the device.

          2. Yaniv Tal

            yeah that is a big problem. a high school friend of mine is working on a company called 2step that tries to solve this problem. it’s location/social based app curation. I probably shouldn’t say too much about what they’re working on but I agree that having a single gatekeeper (the app store) for app curation doesn’t really work. i’m sure the platform guys will always demand their cut from the sale but as long as the sale funnels through them, there should be room for alternative and novel forms of app curation.that’s not even to mention that app curation doesn’t even exist for web apps. i don’t think browser bookmarks are the way to go here. i’d rather have a context-aware recommendation system that natively displays icons to launch my web apps (would work great as a widget on android). it could display a combination of my commonly used apps and apps that it locates through a recommendation engine.

  22. Brandon Burns

    the product looks and sounds great. well done. sophisticated. much more sophisticated than a spreadsheet, which from fred’s story seems to be what got this ball rolling.great story that the spreadsheet won the pitch. but i’m dying to hear the story about how a dude with a dream of turning his spreadsheet into an app scored the meeting in the first place.fred? or steve?

    1. Carl Rahn Griffith

      Interestingly, my idea/startup product business plan – which eventually became a web2.0 app – started from a pretty complex spreadsheet I had evolved over a number of years. This has just reminded me.

      1. Brandon Burns

        a conversation i had w/ a friend last night about my question, and your response, finally got me off my ass to start the blog i’ve been telling myself for years i’d start. thanks for the spark.in case you mosey on over to it and read the post, i’m not knocking you, steve or anyone else at all. just voicing my general opinion on referrals, and the better world i think we’ll have when we can figure out how to reduce our reliance on them.http://optionalevil.tumblr….

        1. fredwilson

          I agree with you. AVC.com is my referral network

  23. Carl Rahn Griffith

    Thinking about it, seems a better fit to a CRM type user/mindset – knock, knock, Salesforce.com?

  24. kenberger

    Reminds of the original idea sean parker shared with me for Plaxo years ago.Love the articulation here– I need this and want to help. Too bad I can’t until it’s Android.

  25. Seenator

    Fred,This is great! Been thinking about this for a long time. Not yet downloaded the app but I would look at leveraging the email domain in the address book. For e.g. Identify the top companies where I have relationships (e.g. take a persons email domain @gs.com and say X number of people at Goldman). Further take these companies and categorize into that indutries. To solve the use case, I have a friend/family looking for job, who in the Finance industry can I introduce them toNik

  26. JimHirshfield

    I love the spreadsheet part of the story. Reminds me of a characteristic that my pal, Derek Ball, uses to find start-up ideas: Find problems that are currently being solved with spreadsheets and fax machines. <–if they’re doing that, it’s time to disrupt.

    1. JLM

      .Brilliant insight and comment. Bring the new economy (technology) to the old economy..

      1. JimHirshfield

        oh, well, thanks. I’m just the messenger.

      2. FlavioGomes

        Well under way in many respects. However, Learning to wield that power has its challenges for the old guard.

    2. ShanaC

      This! Except because of weird industry regulations, often the biggest change is convincing industry people to use technology in the first place.

      1. JimHirshfield

        Well, sure…another problem altogether.

    3. Elia Freedman

      I love this comment, Jim! The spreadsheet was first introduced in 1979. 35 years later it still dominates as a hammer for every problem. Think tech has changed a little since then?

      1. JimHirshfield

        Thanks

      2. FlavioGomes

        It’s the configurability to an immediate challenge that I think keeps it enduring.

    4. Nick Grossman

      A corollary to this is “find problems that are currently being solved with craigslist”

      1. JLM

        .Haha, well played!.

      2. Gordon Bowman

        i like that. thinking of airbnb as the classic example

        1. Nick Grossman

          Yes, exactly. I have my own story of woe about that particular opportunity: http://www.avc.com/a_vc/201

          1. Gordon Bowman

            I remember reading that story when you first posted. Good to re-read it though. I love your 4 key takeaways.

    5. effectivewebsolutions.info

      Fax machine!? I haven’t heard about anyone using a fax machine for ages.

  27. Afton Funk

    Fred, thanks for the post and for supporting this app! Just downloaded it and I’ll leave a review once I’ve had some time to play a bit. This exact situation has been driving me nuts for years now – I’ve gone through multiple methods, spreadsheets, apps, etc but have not yet found an acceptable solution. This sounds incredibly promising.

  28. Oli Olsen

    Why is it only available in the US iTunes app store ? I’m in Denmark and I’m cut off from Brewster. Kill regional – Let the world be one and free !

    1. Abs Ghosh

      I can access it in the UK

    2. Johnny

      There is another app called Gather, same concept and works better I think, without the regional limitation…

  29. JLM

    .This is another example of convergence though from a different perspective.The app is taking all your disparate contacts — consolidating them, rationalizing them, flavoring them and putting them in a single place.I think this is the wave of the future on all things.This app — or its equivalent — will end up on every phone in America in much the same way that maps and GPS are now de rigueur.It will become married to email by its actual use.When you think about it, “contacts” are the foundation for snail mail, email, phone and every form of communication.Android it..

    1. Carl Rahn Griffith

      I wonder what the industry/cultural/geographic patterns/deltas are for volumes of contacts and so the feeling of pain for such a app? Is the USA one of the most extreme such models? From my past experience of life/business, and behavioural patterns, I’d say so – much more so than a ‘typical’ European – even one with a mirrored lifestyle/business, etc…

    2. Dale Allyn

      I don’t disagree that consolidation, relating and reordering are a piece of the future, but I am very hopeful that the winners in this space will hold the users’ privacy and that of her contacts as the precious cargo it is.When I have LinkedIn suggesting that I connect with people whom I do know (even if as a few degrees removed), but who LinkedIn should have no knowledge of the connection, I want to puke. This crap needs to stop.Give me a product with a revenue model that allows me to exchange my hard earned money for their brilliant product โ€“ and stop building stuff that requires that my data be exploited in order for survival.Okay, I’ll take my medicine and go lie down now. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      1. JLM

        .Funny, for some reason LinkedIn irritates me more than any other social media site and yet they would claim to be the most “professional”.We have lost any semblance of privacy for all time. We put our necks into that noose and let them tighten it like Jack and the Beanstalk and now we can never get it out again.I, like you, would gladly pay for a superior service and stop trying to leverage things with mass info drops.Get a massage, JLM, et al..

    3. fredwilson

      from your mouth to god’s ear!

  30. kenberger

    It does sound fantastic and something I really need.I’ve been working on a business version of this for years: something that a sales or bizdev person can constantly monitor to answer “what is the best use of my time right now?”. Something that manages the urgent, but doesn’t forget the important.I should talk with Steve.

  31. markslater

    love it. This is an area with alot of innovative activity right now.I have to question how they make money? Please dont tell me its to do with “reccomendations”.

  32. Seb

    I hope there’s a good reason for making this app georetarded?

  33. Tom Labus

    Let’s hope there’s a way to control that firehose or you’ll have a lot of “contacts” you don’t know.

  34. Christian ๏ฃฟ

    grrr not available in Italy iTunes store, USA only!

    1. Carl Rahn Griffith

      Us Europeans have much simpler analogue al fresco lifestyles – we don’t need such automation ๐Ÿ˜‰

  35. Vernon Niven

    Very cool. I’d love to integrate with my Nimble CRM account (they offer 3rd party integrations with MailChimp, et al). Consolidated address book + messaging nirvana for a startup CEO (like me).

  36. Vlad Ciurca

    This is available only in the US AppStore? Seems like i can’t download it in Romania.

  37. Tom Krieglstein

    Excited for the idea, but how has this not had a name revamping yet? I hear it and I assume it’s just another beer check-in app.

  38. Martin Weigert

    Why is it only available in the US/UK app store?

    1. Jay Alson

      Where are you located?

  39. Abdallah Al-Hakim

    A related topic. Some of my email contacts use this service called ‘contact monkey’ http://contactmonkey.com/ – which makes is super easy to add your contacts full details to your address book with one click. What I like about them is that you can decide to follow the user profile and it will notify you of changes to his/her contact details.

    1. Dale Allyn

      Kind of like a web-based vCard??

      1. Abdallah Al-Hakim

        Yes, that is a good way of putting it. It is a simple concept but it works for me.

        1. Dale Allyn

          I have under-utilized vCards, but they have always been quick and handy. I often don’t think to include one when sending contact info, and they’re a bit “old school”, but a quick click on one in the mail client imports all the contact info to the address book. It has been quite a while since I received one, but when I do I like it for its ease.

          1. Cam MacRae

            I’m almost embarrassed to confess that my new business cards have a QR code which resolves to a vCard. Works nicely — give someone my card; they scan the QR code; I’m in their address book.Just a pity it looks like a robot puked on my cards.

          2. Dale Allyn

            Haha, sometimes functionality just isn’t that cool. ๐Ÿ˜‰

          3. Yaniv Tal

            NFC will be cool and functional!

          4. Dale Allyn

            Yes, NFC does offer some solutions here, too (Bump, etc.). Actually, in my comment above I should have said “pretty” instead of “cool”. ๐Ÿ™‚

  40. ShanaC

    Boo, no android!

    1. Jay Alson

      Shana, that’s up next!

      1. ShanaC

        ๐Ÿ™‚

  41. Jay Alson

    Totally agree. The problem is a lot of the contact information is kept sacred so you have to work around it. This is our best solution to the problem:http://itunes.apple.com/us/

  42. reece

    pretty excited for Steve and his team to launch this, as i’ve been on the testflight build for almost a year nowthey’ve iterated like hell and improved performance a ton

  43. orson

    For most people, most of the time, I wonder if there is really a problem here to be solved. Especially when one considers the app fatigue issues raised. Is it possible the address book has remained unchanged for past 20 years because for most people it works just fine.

  44. Diesel Laws

    Would love to test this out (in Australia). Shame. ETA on world domination?

  45. Alessandro Piol

    You made my day! I sat next to Steve at your last annual meeting and I found him supersmart and the idea fantastic. I have been waiting ever since for this app to come out and the moment I saw your blog entry I downloaded it. I’ll let you know how it goes, but this is such an unfulfilled need in our digital toolbox. Congrats to Steve and the team!

  46. matthughes

    I just downloaded Brewster for a test drive – still waiting to be notified when ready.Interestingly, it seems I had to log in to gmail via the web, not through the iOS gmail client.

  47. Barry Nolan

    It’s only available in the US App Store – not for us lost in euro land.Interestingly it’s classified as a productivity app…not social networking

    1. fredwilson

      it is not a social network.

      1. JamesHRH

        I think this is a really interesting point.It is, open to correction here as I have not seen it, a productivity app that leverages the existence of social networks.

        1. fredwilson

          exactly

  48. Tony_Alva

    Giving it a whirl Fred. Brewster is putting my contacts together as we speak.

  49. Gerald Buckley

    Downloaded the app. Connected quite a few accounts and it’s taking FOR EVER to do its thing. A UX suggestion… would be most helpful to say something like, “Have 500 contacts? ~25 minute wait while we Brewsterize them. Have 1,000? ~120 minute wait.” etc. As is, I have no idea how long it’s going to take to Brewsterize my various accounts. Yes, I’m sure I have a grotesque amount of duplication and discrepancies which is one of the reasons this is so appealing to me. Will be WONDERFUL if there is a “Mail me a vCard of all my contacts” option (I’d PAYYYYY for that one)

    1. Randy Meech

      Hey Gerald — as you can imagine we’re having a busy morning! Thanks for the feedback, I’ll look into what’s going on.

  50. gbattle

    There’s a “Brewster’s Millions” joke/comment that needs to be made, but I can’t think of anything funny right now. Congratulations to Steve and the team – drop.io mafia represent!

    1. JamesHRH

      Never thought of that!imdb has over 5 Brewster’s Millions on file…..What is Steve giving away to get 10X of……..?

  51. Jan Sessenhausen

    contacts (and appointments) being spread out across services and somehow always outdated is such fundamental problem that needs to be solves – exactly why I made an investment in fruux (www.fruux.xom). Everyone thought I was nuts because of iCloud and stuff, but those just don’t cut it and are caught up in their strategic purpose to create a vendor (hw) lock-in. And third party service integration coming soon for fruux as well, they focussed on getting calDav and CardDav support right first. The basis for further things .. ๐Ÿ™‚

  52. Mark Essel

    I’ll give it a whirl. Hashable didn’t quite replace business cards, but maybe Brewster can replace my segmented (and always breaking) contact lists.

  53. Greg Gortz

    I was talking with two Brewster employees last night and they were stoked about the launch this morning. I am going to replace my “phone” button with the brewster app on my home screen. Its not often that an app changes my daily behavior.

  54. LE

    “search query like “knicks game” or “sushi tonight” or “band of horses concert”To me an app like Brewster is of value only to people prior to, or after they are done having kids or retired. I can’t see how anyone outside of those age groups (ok maybe mothers managing activities for their kids) has time or the need for this and will use it on any regular basis. And I question how much of another social distraction young people need.With something like Facebook or Linkedin things don’t happen in real time and you can check in if you are bored and want to see what is going on with someone else or stalk them. Things are queued.In order to need an address book arranged around activities or interests you have to have time for activities and interests. If you are young and have so much time for activities and interests I would question why you are not spending more time thinking about what you need to secure yourself for the future.I will now turn the floor over to @kidmercury

  55. William Mougayar

    I’ve been notified that my account is ready about 3 hours after signing-up. Cool. I’m in…playing with it. The Updates folder is empty, but that’s probably the greatest potential once we see something there. Also, Search should have more than just People search. Can we search content on these people?

    1. JamesHRH

      How did you do that in CAN William?

      1. William Mougayar

        I do have a Canadian account, but I was in the US. Not sure if being in the US mattered. Note that Brewster appeared as a 4th or 5th result choice when you search for it.

  56. baba12

    Mr.Wilson writes “I remember back in early 2011, Steve Greenwood walked into our old offices on the 14th floor and told us that he intended to build that hyperconnected mobile address book.” I wonder if Steve Greenwood was/is a good friend to begin with and could walk into USV offices and find Mr.Wilson available and willing to listen to what he had to pitch or was Mr.Greenwood a stranger who managed to get past the layers of security etc to get to Mr.Wilson ( Fred).As for the App, I have downloaded it and will see how it helps me as I tend to not use my addressbook generally, I still rely on remembering numbers.

  57. Gordon Bowman

    Prediction: bought by Google in 24 months and incorporated in Google Now and Google+

  58. Jeff

    Brad Feld pitching FullContact and Fred pitching Brewster in the same week? Is Address Book the Next Big Thing?

    1. John Revay

      I down loaded Full Contact a few weeks ago after seeing a tweet by @howardlindzonI was not overly impressed – it seemed like there was a Freemium model

  59. Jack K

    How do they handle the ex-significant other challenge? That feels like the toughest part of the “people you’re losing contact with” feature.

  60. OurielOhayon

    love the app Fred. really insanely well done. We re going to feature it on Appsfire. send the entrepreneur our way…we ll try to help him out

    1. fredwilson

      done

  61. Dan Epstein

    Sounds great. I’d definitely use something like this (and plan to–downloading now!).Congrats on the public launch, Steve.

  62. Antony Evans

    When can we have this on Android?

  63. Stephen Maelevitz

    Just another data aggregator. And yet another failed attempt at solving a problem. I’m glad people realize there is one here and are trying to do stuff about it. But all this does is create more problems, more clutter, more disparity. It has a pretty UI design, so hats off for that. Beyond that, it’s nothing innovative or game-changing. Not sure what USV saw in this one. Take a note from Steve Jobs: “Itโ€™s the disease of thinking that a really great idea is 90 percent of the work. And if you just tell all these other people โ€œhereโ€™s this great idea,โ€ then of course they can go off and make it happen. And the problem with that is that thereโ€™s just a tremendous amount of craftsmanship in between a great idea and a great product. ”

  64. William A.

    *UPDATE* As of 10:30PM last night, I’m in. I have a large set of contacts so I’m sure that was the cause but I’d still like to see that first communication be a bit more friendly.After playing around with it for a few minutes, I can certainly see the excitement. Terrific!—This sounds like a great idea. But, I’m confused.I downloaded the app, connected to my various accounts, then I get a note saying it’s doing its thing and they’ll contact me when it’s ready.Then, I get an email that includes:”Youโ€™re on track to have your personalized address book delivered to your pocket.We add new people to Brewster daily, but limit the number to maintain an exceptional experience. You’ll hear from us soon,The Brewster Team”Huh? Daily? Why not put that at the beginning, BEFORE I hook in all my details?”Hey! We’re excited you want to join us! We’re a bit full at the moment but we’ll send you an email when we’re ready to get your contacts updated and into your pocket. You’ll hear from us soon, The Brewster Team”I’m no longer feeling as giddy as I did when I initially read this post.

  65. Paraic Hegarty

    So about 10 comments noting it’s not available outside US app store and no responses? Simple questions needing simple answers. Any chance?

  66. Tom Labus

    Story on why Brewster is slow today, lots of people downloading.http://www.businessinsider….These guys got a huge amount of press today.

  67. Dave W Baldwin

    Congrats Steve and team at Brewster. I’m going to try it asap.

  68. karen_e

    I cannot wait to try this! Very timely as I am at a marketing and business development conference. [It’s in San Francisco where the weather is perfect. I might never come home again.] All of our discussions about CRM headaches are going to change if Brewster is any good.

  69. thomasknoll

    I really want this app to deliver on its promise. I’ve been chasing a scratch for this itch for a long time. A lot of tools touch on piece or the other, but never fully deliver on the promise. And, they keep dropping like flies. I *just* received an email from http://hashable.com saying that they are shutting down. Yet another example of an app that *almost* works, but never makes it. =(

  70. Guest

    “After 7 Years, Steve Greenwood Finally Launched His Dream Startup” – Nice move for Steve and USV. Congrats. One dimension of FB is being a sort of address book. I have been annoyed by the fact that my contacts are all over the place. It’s a a one place for everything solution and I can imagine that it will make life easy. The same thing is true for address-books as well. There is not a great one out there yet.

  71. Kelvin

    Very good concept, I tried it but it is buggy, look at the App Store reviews by the users, even the other app called Gather does better, it’s also new and works great, search Gather in App Store to compare it with Brewster.

  72. Otto

    Looks interesting. I’ll give it a go. The iTunes reviews are hilarious, people either love it or hate it. I partly understand the bad reviews though, 3rd party authentications can be annoying.

    1. fredwilson

      it didn’t help that they were surprised by the demand and couldn’t create accounts quickly enough

  73. Otto

    I would like to be able to sign in with multiple twitters, since I have a few. Also, I know Yahoo is something people like to make fun of but I still have Yahoo mail from way back that a lot of people still use, so adding that as a third-party authenticator would be helpful for me at least.

  74. FlavioGomes

    So far feels promising.

  75. Humberto

    i have been mulling about this too. my perspective is a different angle though: an offline social network.Basically i have the same spreadsheet (likely less complex), and it keeps letting me know “you should have called your grandma”, “you haven’t talked with X girl in a while? Are you still friends or what?”the beauty of it is that it doesn’t need the social hooks. it works just off offline (same for “local”) data, because interactions always mean communication, a physical action. it handles email, phone calls and text messages, but i have to download the log to my mac for my spreadsheet to work.i’ll stay tuned, congrats to Steve.

  76. Philip Boyle

    I look forward to trying this out when it launches outside of the US. I still don’t understand the reason for not launching in other English speaking countries at the same time though. Localisation issues? Data protection? Cost? Apple restrictions?

    1. fredwilson

      in the same vein

  77. Elie Seidman

    Assuming this is an obvious area of focus but one of my main address books is not even an address book – it’s my email. I dont proactively add everyone in my email to my address book – either in Outlook or in Gmail. But a lot of people i’m interacting with are not in my address book but are in my mailbox. A real nuisance. I dont want to have to proactively prune my inbox and address book.

  78. EffectiveWebSolutions.info

    Cool, but in a mobile work why do we need address books?

    1. EffectiveWebSolutions.info

      Oops… That should say “… in a mobile world…”.

  79. Steve O

    Brewster=Blippy 2.0 but worse. Good luck with the recovery.

  80. Ciaran

    Got as far as the reviews in the app store, saw that it converts phone numbers into US format, even if they’re UK, Irish, whatever, and decided not to go forward. There is a world outside the US. We even have money.**At least for the moment.

  81. Saurabh Hooda

    Contact consolidation has been a big problem for long time. am glad that someone worked on it and solved it. Waiting eagerly for Android version to come. I hope brewster folks don’t try to make it aggregator of social network updates. Just make it ‘easy to use’ contact-consolidation-app and you’ll earn millions soon. some phone maker company would bid for you shortly:)

  82. John Revay

    “So he asked us for the seed capital to build a team and build that product.We said yes. “#Jealous