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."