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Summary:

I thought Daylite 3.7 by Marketcircle was just another PIM, kind of like Microsoft’s Outlook or Entourage. Daylite is not just another PIM; it is a business tool that organizes your data better than any other application I have ever used. Currently, I am part of […]

Daylite Icon

I thought Daylite 3.7 by Marketcircle was just another PIM, kind of like Microsoft’s Outlook or Entourage. Daylite is not just another PIM; it is a business tool that organizes your data better than any other application I have ever used.

Currently, I am part of FiniteComedy.com, a small video production company that makes video for the web. Creating and producing video content creates tons of projects that require plenty of attention.

My Old System

GMail + GCal = Sort of Solution I had been using a kludge of applications to keep myself organized. I regularly used a combination of Google Calendar + iCal integration and GMail and its Contacts feature. I’ve experimented with 37signals and its Highrise web application — Highrise is an online address book, contact manager, task list web application; I don’t believe it has a calendar. It is a fine web application, but for some reason it never stuck with me.

I have also had a lot of past experience using Microsoft Outlook, but hardly used Entourage.

Enter Daylite: Installation

Installing DayliteInstallation is done via an installer (no a drag and drop install here). It takes up 141MB of space. While installing, Daylite asks if you want to create your own database or take a look at other databases to get a feel for Daylite in action. I created my own database. At that point, I did not know exactly what I was doing, but I figured I could learn as I go. A “database” in this context is just a term for your Daylite set up. Daylite also asks for personal information and you can import your address book and iCal information. You can also import all or some of your iCal calendars. Those of you who have jumped on board with Google CalDAV integration will be annoyed to know you cannot import these calendars.

The last step is choosing from a template. There are a number of specialized templates to choose from including Film & Video, Law, Print & Design and more. There are also blank and General templates. Each template contains some presets for categories, keywords and settings. I tried General to get a better overall feel for the program.

Life with Daylite: First Thoughts

Creating a new contactI started using Daylite like I would any program. I just jumped right in. First I wanted to create a new contact. The default toolbar has often used (or the most useful) functions. When I hit the “New Contact” button, a window pops up with plenty of options for any contact.

After a couple minutes of use, I saw that Daylite provides you with a wealth of options in presenting you your data. To some this may be daunting. In my opinon, this is the kind control that is needed to keep track of multiple projects and data. Connecting projects to contacts is a snap. Just add some one to the “Linked” section. That way, when you look at a project, you can find whoever is connected to that project. Projects can also be linked to to-do lists.

Daylite also puts in an icon in the menu bar with quick access to create new contacts, appointments, notes and more while you are not in the actual program. Daylite is very stable and crashed only once during the testing period.

Daylite has an odd way of searching. The search field looks like a spotlight search, but you must hit enter to get results. Not a big gripe, but I thought it was odd (or at least inconsistent with the Mac interface nowadays) that the results did not populate as you type.

It seems that every bit of information in Daylite can be displayed in at least three different ways depending on how much information you want up on the screen at one time. Personally, I like seeing as much information as I can on someone or some event to get a bigger picture on what I’m doing.

Life with Daylite: Project Management

I have never been completely satisfied with the project management solutions I have tried. The best thing I had found to manage projects and link them to contacts is just using a dry erase marker and my whiteboards. It is an inelegant solution that does not provide any of the comforts of a computer-based solution, but it kind of works except for space issues.

Project ViewDaylite has excellent project management capabilities. I am currently trying to set up a live taping of “ChannelFlip Tech” and some other shows at the Digital Life Show held at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City this September. There are several elements to this project. There is my contact at Digital Life, my co-host and his schedule, potential sponsors, and material for the show.

Setting up the project is simple. Create a new project and input some data like a name for the project and due date. It is the “Linked” field that I found the most helpful. You can link a project to a contact, an organization or a group. The Digital Life project can be linked to my contact at Digital Life, my co-host, sponsors and any one else who has a contact file.

Daylite’s project window shows you your different projects and you can choose to see the data in different ways. You can get a feel for your projects at a glance. I am not completely familiar with every feature yet, but I know there are many other customizations that could make Daylite more useful for my particular needs.

Daylite: The Rest of the Features

The Many Features of DayliteThere are some very good components to Daylite. There is a calendar that works as you would expect any calendar program to work. It does allow smart calendars which is nice. Events can be categorized, although they can be assigned to only one category at a time.

There is an Appointments feature that takes your calendar data and lays it out like the Contacts section. It is pretty much an alternative view to just looking at the standard calendar.

Contacts are presented in a similar way to projects. You can see your contact list, selecting a contact will show you what is linked to that contact. I am using the “General” template so there is plenty of data fields already. Contacts also support smart contact lists. I am a big fan of smart lists that actively change as information changes. It saves a lot of time over the long run. The “Organizations” feature is similar to the contacts, just organized by organization instead of individuals.

“Opportunities.” You can add a New Opportunity to the Opportunities section of the application. I have never seen this kind of function before. This feature is obviously geared towards a business. Since I am pursuing advertisers and sponsors, this is a great section. Once an opportunity is acted upon, you can create a project. “Opportunities” is like a pre-Project zone.

There is also a “Notes” feature. I have never been a big fan of notes outside of putting notes in appointment data or in a contact file. You can link notes to contacts or projects. This seems to be the best way in Daylite to add notes to Projects. This allows for greater organization of notes as the note appears linked to the project, and the project appears linked to the note.

Conclusion

Daylite is one of the best solutions I have used to manage information. However, it is not something everyone needs. If you want to use Daylite as an iCal replacement, then it is overkill. This is software built for a small business that wants to manage its contacts, calendars and projects well. Daylite is priced at $149 US for 1 user, $745 US for 5 users and $1490 for 10 users.

  1. Jörgen Olsson Monday, August 11, 2008

    I have used this app at my company for several years – and it has proved itself to be a great tool that becomes better and easier to use with each new major version. Works great in a multi user environment – and the support is great.
    The only real pain is the reports engine, it is hard to understand – but I guess the guys at MarketCircle has heard that enough – and I believe they will improve on it.
    I am happy to recomend it to any one running a business with a lot of sales contacts, projects and to-do’s.

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  2. Just like the old application “Sharkware” from early Windows daze… right down to the Opportunities function, and tight integration with Contacts.

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  3. One of the benefits of Highrise is that it can be shared by remote users, which cannot be easily accomplished with Highrise. One of the other things I didn’t like about Daylight is that it can’t be used if you want to keep your contact database in a FileVault-enabled account or on an encrypted sparseimage.

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  4. Filipe Mendes Tuesday, August 12, 2008

    I have been using this tool now for around 7 years and i can assure it makes the life easier to someone that has loads of tasks, projects, and new business to run at the same time. It has been improving a lot over the recent years, and the interface is also gradually getting better and better! There are minor details that could be better, but in my opinion its the best solution out there in the market, and i have tried most of the other ones, both software and online.

    Its also very easy to start using and to adapt it to your business to best suit your needs. I would give it a 4.5 out of 5.

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  5. Iyaz,

    Have you used Contactizer (by Objective Decision Software)? And if so, do you have any thoughts on it vs. Daylite?

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  6. How is the syncing functionality? Does it easily sync with an iPhone? I run a small business and I have been looking for an upgrade to using ical and Address book, but I really need seamless integration with my iPhone.

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  7. Matt — sorry, I haven’t tried that program.
    Jake — I would love to test the syncing, but I do not have an iPhone yet.

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  8. Man thats the shi t you got it yaaaah baby

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  9. We’ve been using Daylite in our business for the past 26 months. We have four copies networked to our 4 Macs.

    First off, I feel for any company that comes out with a PIM or CRM just because everyone’s needs are so different, and that makes it very hard to please everyone.

    That said, Daylite is a very frustrating program to use, largely because there really isn’t any manual or video trainings that explain the full process of how to truly use the program. Yes, DL will point to its ancient PDF manual (http://marketcircle.com/help/manual.html ) and their basic tutorial videos (http://www.marketcircle.com/help/movies.html ), but both of these show only how each part works, not how to actually use them. This is why there are a whole school of Daylite Partners who you can hire at $85-$195/hour for truly working out how to get Daylite used in your business. The three other companies that know that use Daylite have all admited that they’ve spent $4-11 grand on “continued training.” Which here means “how to use the damn program.”

    (note: the price of Daylite is $189, not $149, as mentioned in the article)

    Yes, of course, *anyone* knows how to add contacts, put to-dos in the Tasks, and add events in the Calendar. But I contend that most people who download and try out the 30-day trial of Daylite get baffled by how to use the Projects and Opportunities, as well as how to set up a network of Macs in ones office, all tied to Daylite. I contend that MarketCircle loses tens of thousands of dollars each month because they’ve never taken the time to create a training department and shows mock businesses using Daylite, and describing the nuances that show how their Projects and Opps features can be used. I don’t believe that 10s of thousands of missed dollars each month is an exaggeration. The handful of colleagues that I’ve suggested Daylite to have all come back with the same report: they’re very impressed the first few days, and then they get bogged down in the complex parts, that have no explanation on how to truly use them. And each time they call our office to learn what to do and each time, I have to say, “We don’t get those parts either.”

    Plain and simple, Daylite is a very, very complex program; there is no other way to describe it. Not like “Photoshop is complex” complex, but like really difficult to use fully. The fix is there, though: Marketcircle could be the Photoshop of image tweaking, the 1Password of password management, the iTunes of music, and the only thing missing is for them to take the time and create a written manual or video series that explains *not* how to install the program or type in contacts, but mock-ups on sample companies and sample scenarios that fully utilize each and every feature found in Daylite.

    We’re sticking with Daylite. We get the feeling that MarketCircle is eventually going to come out with Version 4, and then version 5 which will be the world’s best Mac PIM/CRM application in the world, bar none. If you already full grasp the concepts of Opportunties and Projects and already have them integrated into your biz, the current version may be a breeze for you. I hear that some people pick up books on string theory and go, “Oh. Got it.” For the rest of us business idiots in love with the GTD-style thinking of organization, Daylite will remain one complex, frustrating program that is about the best thing out there right now.

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  10. Redstone: I have bought Daylite because I got it recommende from a good source. And I agree that it’s very complex. But do you have any tips on how to learn it?

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