It seems like every other week lately, we see some new app or other that promises to revolutionize the way we organize our lives. And I’m as guilty as anyone when it comes to salivating over high-potential (alleged) organizational miracles.
The problem, though, is that adopting most of these apps is an organizational obligation in and of itself. You have to import your info, learn a whole new system, and devote tons of time to perfecting your fancy new framework—setting up the structure, filing stuff into appropriate folders or tags, and whatever else the service requires for reaching that elusive state of organizational nirvana.
Heyday is different. The new service, created by a pair of pals named Sam and Samiur, aims to act as your info-organizing assistant—without ever demanding any deliberate effort on your part. It simply shows up alongside whatever material you’re viewing at any given moment and gives you an intelligent overview of related info you’ve looked at before—in any app or service, and anywhere on the web.
“So many tools in the productivity space are built for people who almost get joy out of organizing things,” says Sam DeBrule, one of Heyday’s cofounders (in a comment that could have absolutely been aimed at me). “We thought, ‘Okay. If we built a product that was really intended to help folks who want to get the benefit of things being organized for them automatically, what would that look like?'”
As it turns out, it would look an awful lot like the tools you’re already relying on—everything from Twitter to Google Search and even your existing email, word processing, and note-taking apps of choice. That’s because Heyday is less of an app, in the traditional sense, and more of a layer. And as part of that positioning, it integrates seamlessly with all your other stuff instead of asking you to learn something new.
The web’s missing layer
DeBrule and his Heyday-building partner, Samiur Rahman, met while working at a machine-learning-driven data analysis company called Mattermark. The two of them quickly realized they were overwhelmed with the amount of info they were taking in day after day—and even more overwhelmed with the systems they were depending on to organize it all.
“Everything should just be connected,” Rahman says—”without your doing any work.”
So they put their heads together to come up with a better answer. First, they built a product that was designed to act as “your own personal Google”—a stand-alone app you’d open to search and organize all of your info from every productivity service you used. But they quickly realized that was missing the mark but that the real answer they were seeking was a whole lot simpler.
What they wanted to build was something conceptually akin to “[putting] on augmented reality goggles around the content you’re viewing,” Rahman explains. “We’re just enhancing your experience around that—resurfacing old stuff for you, giving you context about whatever you’re reading, making you feel more prepared and able to access your memory without having to do much work.”
On the desktop front, that all happens by way of a browser extension—available for Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Brave, and Vivaldi—on which a little green tab automatically pops up anytime you’re viewing something that relates to material you’ve viewed before. All you have to do is click that tab, and you see a panel with all the related info right then and there.
“It feels very familiar,” DeBrule says. “Heyday’s just there working in the background for me versus this laborious task of me trying to educate myself or trying to learn a whole new system.”
Heyday works in a similar manner on iPhones and iPads, too, via the Safari extension, which is available as part of its iOS app. Although the iPad experience is a bit buggy and incomplete; Rahman tells me it’s due for an overhaul and that the primary focus right now is on the desktop side of the equation, where he and DeBrule have found that most of their current users do their heavier work.
But Heyday isn’t just about Google. It works all around the web, including with other search sites, and it surfaces info from emails, documents, and even Slack messages, in addition to your past search activity.
A few specific examples:
- When I opened an article I wrote about a time-saving keyboard shortcut tool, Heyday surfaced one of my recent email newsletters in which I’d mentioned that same tool; it also popped up a tab with other related articles from all over the web.
- When I searched for “Heyday” within Google, Heyday offered up a selection of related pages I’d viewed recently while researching the service—along with the Calendly interview I’d scheduled with the company’s founders for this story.
- And when I searched for “HP LaserJet Pro,” Heyday emerged to remind me of all the other times I’ve researched my blasted home-office printer and what I’ve discovered in those earlier troubleshooting endeavors.
And all that’s just the start of how Heyday hopes to help you without ever getting in your way.
The sticky glue philosophy
The second half of the Heyday puzzle is how the service works to bring the different parts of your web-browsing experience together in a single, cohesive whole. To that end, the desktop extension allows you to highlight text on any web page and then save that specific excerpt in a special section called, rather fittingly, “Highlights.”
Highlights are always accessible on the Heyday website—which acts almost like a souped-up version of your browser’s “History” section. It shows you topics you’ve researched, content you’ve viewed, and sites you’ve visited, also making it as easy as possible to search or browse through all of your recent material. You can even add different snippets of info in subject-specific “Spaces” if you really feel the need to do some of your own categorization.
But you absolutely don’t have to. In fact, Heyday makes it especially easy to avoid opening its site by sending you a daily “Flashback” email, which resurfaces subjects you’ve researched along with important-seeming tidbits you’ve read in the recent past. It all plays into the idea that Heyday hangs onto everything important for you and brings it back to your attention when you’re likely to need it.
“The long-term [vision] for Heyday is to be that glue layer that allows people to feel like, ‘I’m never losing context, I’m always able to get back to what I need, I’m always seeing the full picture,'” Rahman says.
Part of that vision includes making privacy a top priority. Heyday promises to protect all of your data, encrypt it at every step along the way, and never share it, sell it, or use it to show you ads. Instead, the service charges $10 a month after a free two-week trial, and makes its money solely on those subscriptions.
And that, the service’s cofounders hope, will allow Heyday to stand out as not just another attention-demanding productivity app, but rather the missing link that ties all those other apps together.
“Every individual user can use whatever tool they want but still feel that all this stuff works together,” says Rahman.
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