Evernote and Getting Too Big for Your Britches

This week we got the news that Evernote has laid off most of its US and Chile-based employees. The Italy-based parent company, Bending Spoons, is folding whatever it got from buying Evernote into its Italian operations.

What an ignominious end.

For many people, Evernote was that crossing point where they discovered the cloud could be a source of truth for their data. Evernote went off the rails when they tried to expand their product offerings and took the eye off the ball on what they were really good at. They went from a lightweight, nimble, and reliable cloud notes service to something big, bloated, and broken. (I also still think their data model that locked users in—I used to call it a Roach Motel—also played a role.) Even though I never particularly liked or used the service, I am a little sad about Evernote’s demise.

One story I see repeatedly in tech is a company that has a good idea and gets big in its space but then fumbles when it tries to leverage that success to something much bigger in an entirely different (and usually much larger) space. I get the idea of wanting exponential growth, but would the green elephant still be alive today if Evernote had just focused on what they were good at and ignored the idea of exponential growth?

Evernote Changes

Evernote is making some changes. Basic users are going to be limited to two devices and pricing for a Premium subscription just went from $45 to $70 per year.

Katie Floyd sums it up nicely. “… as a long-time Premium user the problem for me, and for Evernote, is I’m just not sure I get $70 worth of value out of Evernote anymore.”

I’m not sure where things went wrong but Evernote is no longer the darling of nerds that it used to be. My pet theory is that they went into way too many lateral markets.

Hopefully these adjustments will let them get back to focussing on what made the product great to begin with. The trouble is there are a lot more viable options now than there were when Evernote first arrived.

Evernote Essential, 4th Edition


Brett Kelly, the Czar of all things Evernote just released the fourth edition his Evernote Essentials book. The update includes some great new content. Brett also now has an iBooks version.

Even though I’ve spent a lot of time explaining how I don’t use Evernote much, the service is increasingly finding its way into many of my workflows. For example, anytime I get an email from a listener that I may want to include with feedback, I send it to my secret Evernote email address with a subject lines that automatically files it in the appropriate notebook. I then share that Evernote notebook with Katie so we both have access to it. This is much faster than my older workflow.

Anyway, if you want to get going at Evernote, go check out Brett’s book.


Evernote Essentials 3.0

In case you’ve been under a rock, Evernote is evolving. They are growing as they acquire other apps and they are growing as they make Evernote better. Brett Kelly’s Evernote Essentials book is the bible for power Evernote users. The book is evolving right along with the Evernote service. Yesterday Brett released version 3.0 of the definitive Evernote book. Brett’s a friend and I know how hard he’s been working on this update with new content and new workflows. If you are an Evernote user, you should purchase a copy of Evernote Essentials. If you’ve already purchased the book, go download your free update.