Bringing simplicity to an increasingly complicated world is the lofty goal of Foursquare employees Pierre Valade and Jeremy Le Van, who recently launched Sunrise to that end. Each morning, the service sends a simple, friendly email to each user, reminding them of their schedule for that day by pulling information from Google Calendar, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
Zero Maintenance, Zero Stress
“We tried to combine every source of information we could get into one single email, so when you wake up in the morning, you get a great sense of what you’re going to do each day,” Valade said, in an interview conducted in the Fueled Collective, just one floor above Foursquare’s SoHo office.
Valade intends for Sunrise to be completely stress-free. The site requires zero daily maintenance from its users. After the initial setup, no additional site visitations are necessary. “We need to do the job for you,” Valade said. He chose email for this exact reason. For many people, reading email is a morning ritual. Had Sunrise been an application, it would have required users to remember to check each morning.
A Seamless, App-Driven World
In an ideal world, Valade said, everything would be seamlessly automated. For example, he said, alarm clocks could automatically adjust a person’s wake-up time according to the next day’s schedule. Or, why check the traffic report for the morning when your car automatically gathers this information and directs you accordingly? In Valade’s vision, you would be presented with the exact information you want at the exact moment you need it.
Valade has several ideas for future additions to Sunrise. One feature he would like to eventually implement would remind users to confirm appointments that they have in upcoming days. Another possible feature, which Valade said users often requested, would remind users to follow-up with people they may have met the previous day. He also excited by the idea of allowing greater customization to users. Depending on the feedback, Valade said they may integrate more social networks into Sunrise.
The Dawning of Sunrise.im
The genesis of the idea for Sunrise came as a response to a Google Calendar setting that would send a daily email with the day’s schedule. Valade saw potential in the idea, but an underdeveloped execution. “They didn’t put a lot of love into it,” he said.
Valade and Le Van developed Sunrise on the weekends while working full-time as designers at Foursquare during the week. Valade said they were encouraged by the support of their coworkers. Foursquare’s Head of Product, Alex Rainert, always told them to utilize what they’ve learned from other situations.
“Even though its not related to Foursquare in any way, it gives us a different perspective on problems,” said Valade.
In order to create the polished final product, Valade and Le Van worked through trial and error. They designed countless different calendars before settling on the final version. At one point, Valade said, they even considered sending an additional email before bed, but they decided that in the interest of simplicity, two emails was too much. There was an allure to a morning email that the evening email lacked.
“Sunrise, to me, is the best way to start your day,” Valade said.