Eugene Kim at Business Insider on Evernote:
Despite reaching 150 million registered users this year, Evernote has been slow to develop the revenue side of its business and is grappling with departures and cost-cutting, according to interviews that Business Insider conducted with more than a half dozen current and former employees of the company.
Let me tell you a little story; about 2 years ago I went to an Evernote event at the Powerhouse here in Brisbane.
There was about 100 people in the room, and there were the usual suspects from business and education sectors. Outside of that though, the rest of the crowd was a very diverse group of tech-savvy people in non-tech savvy industries.
One guy asked a very specific question in the Q&A portion about his tagging system which seemed to indicate that he was in some part of health care, and storing searchable notes about patients in Evernote.
It was a question that made me think “Oh, wow. People are using this for all kinds of stuff I didn’t even realise.”
I think that that was a part of Evernote’s initial success — it didn’t prescribe any particular use cases for its tools. Hey you! You can make this work for patients! For horticulture! For drawing! For document storage! Tax time! Audio! Recipes! Bookmarks! Screenshots! Anything you like!
Fast-forward to today though, and those really wacky use cases are 3-5 years deep into an Evernote account, and their needs are spraying out all over the map.
In response, they’re trying to add features to a bloated product, and it’s getting creaky at what it should be really good at; a note-taking app that syncs seamlessly.
The diversity of its user base isn’t a growth vector anymore, it’s a liability. And they’ve been responding to what their user base wants (features), but not what they need (stability and a better core product).
Also, they are still selling a 5-pack of socks for eighty-five bucks.
Hopefully the new CEO, former Googler Chris O’Neill, can turn it around. Sounds like he’s trying, at least.