Evernote Is Dead? I Don't Think So

There's nothing like getting under the skin of a fanboi (pronounced "fan boy" for those of you who are unfamiliar with the concept). Fanbois are known for how their brand-adoration could easily outstrip the allure of a real cult. Insulting the object of fanboi affection is like stabbing someone's mother. The responses are often swift, relentless, and never lacking in character assassination.

So, now, let's get something out of the way; I am a fanboi. Not of anything Apple, Google, Linux, or Microsoft-related as many fanbois are. Of Evernote's namesake app. To be clear, unlike many vendors, Evernote has never attempted to curry favor with me as a journalist. I am not a stockholder in the company. When I spoke at an event of which it was one sponsor, I was not compensated in any way (even for my travel costs). The company has never offered me free access to the premium version of its product for testing purposes. I've gladly paid the fees out of my own pocket for many years now. When people ask me what's my number one killer app, I never hesitate. It's Evernote.  Everything I'm about to say comes straight from the heart.

Earlier this week, when Syrah founder and CEO Josh Dickson read Evernote its last rites in a BusinessInsider.com contributed editorial headlined Evernote, the first dead unicorn, the fanboi in me was awakened. How dare anybody attack my beloved Evernote? But, being in a field where some rigor is appreciated before committing pen to paper, my journalistic sensibilities took over and I attempted to read Dickson's opinion with as objective an eye as possible. As a fanboi, I wanted to defend Evernote. But as someone who relies on Evernote everyday, I can't bear the thought of losing access to it. 

In my opinion, Dickson's article is one of those "shreds of truth" pieces. Despite his questionable motives as a potential competitor to Evernote (his company's self-proclaimed mission is to "build the best writing tools ever"), several unfair comparisons to other solutions that most Evernote users would never view as Evernote substitutes, and disparaging Evernote for failing to do anything well, there are a few facts about Evernote's key performance indicators (ie: downloads) that no doubt merit the attention of Evernote stakeholders.

But declaring the company dead with a click-baity headline? Not only did it leave me wishing BusinessInsider had applied a little more scrutiny to this third party contribution, it led me to spot some flaws in his arguments.

For example, Dickson wrote that "Evernote hasn’t made even good products for a long time. Like many others I’ve talked to, I was once a heavy Evernote user, and its died a slow death of irrelevance in my work flow. It fails to even do one thing great, and instead tries to make up for it by doing a number of other things poorly." He goes on to say "It’s hard to see how the company has had any success on the business customer front…..Most business customers are using other products already that more than adequately address the need of a note taking application. Many customers have long converted to Google Apps, which bundles document sharing (and spreadsheets, and ‘power point’) into a larger, more valuable suite of products centered around Gmail. Microsoft’s OneNote is available for free, and its collaboration tools are available already for organisations running Microsoft’s Office 365."

David Berlind is the editor-in-chief of ProgrammableWeb.com. You can reach him at david.berlind@programmableweb.com. Connect to David on Twitter at @dberlind or on LinkedIn, put him in a Google+ circle, or friend him on Facebook.

Comments

Comments(10)

davemichels

I am satisfied with Evernote, but I don't understand why the won't add handwriting support to Windows. Since I got my Surface Pro - I've started using OneNote for this very reason. I've been surprised Evernote hasn't added this as they have the tech. 

arg1524

Try selecting “new ink note” (ctrl+shift+I). That should be what you’re looking for.

here’s a visual

arg1524

Have you tried the ink note feature (ctrl+shift+I)? 

mrsean2k

I rarely use Evernote as  "note taking" app. But with a premium subscription and a cheap scanner, it's allowed me to secure copies of any documentation I would otherwise have cluttering up the place, instantly searchable, and shareable to the right people.

By this estimate:

https://www.quora.com/How-much-revenue-is-Evernote-doing-Valuation

Evernote just beavers away, quietly turning a profit by providing a service people are willing to pay for. How awful.

Rock PiLP

"Josh Dickson read Evernote its last rights"? Or last rites, as in liturgy rather than Miranda…

salsero69

I love Evernote.  There's quite a few things they don't do right, but quite a lot more that is amazing.  It's my goto tool for meeting note taking and WebEx screenshot grabber amongst other things.

Carlly

Basically, you're argument is...but I like Evernote! You haven't spoken at all about financials which is what really matters. Are you a premium user? Are there enough paid users to sustain the company? I tend to agree more with the notion that Evernote is not built for the long haul.

david_berlind

Carlly,

I think I was pretty up front about the fact that I like Evernote. The original column isn't any different in its indictment of the company for its past. We live in a time where a lot of companies are trying a lot of new things and often fail, but still manage to do well with their core proposition. For the most part, the stock market values companies on the basis of their potential. The original column basically says "here's how the company has screwed up in the past. Therefore, it is dead."  Instead, it could have been a bit more balanced, acknowledging how recent partnership initiatives (deals like the one it did with the NY Times) and management changes could bring about some new traction for the company.  Furthermore, to say that Evernote is a note-taking application  suggests that the writer really doesn't understand Evernote.  Either that, or he does understand the app, but deliberately pidgeon-holed it as a means support his larger point. Either approach is unfair to Evernote.

So, I believe what I wrote acknowledges that Evernote has challenges, but also discounts the extreme of death as being a possibility.  Death is a bit of a stretch. Might the investors not get their money's worth?  Possibly. Welcome to the world of venture capital. Evernote has too loyal a following for it to die. Worst case scenario is that another company will see the value in the team, the intellectual property, and the paid user base, and scoop it up. I don't think that will happen any time soon. But there's too solid of a base there for death to be the outcome in the forseeable future.

Carlly

MrSean2k - you can't take Quora as fact for valuation. From what I've heard, it's much, much lower than that estimate.