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State of the Product - Ian Small


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Following on from this update from Ian Small , I would love to see an AMA on Reddit - or here - with him.

Should help clarify some of the many outstanding issues, questions and suggestions many users have.

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15 minutes ago, FrankC said:

I would love to see an AMA on Reddit - or here - with him

If these forums are any indication, an AMA would be a real sh*tstorm
I can't see anything useful in that

I would like to see a definitive list of features dropped vs pending

 

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1 hour ago, DTLow said:

I would like to see a definitive list of features dropped vs pending

I don't see this happening because the list is by definition squishy and not definitive. Features may not be on the roadmap now but as they wrap up work in (for example) Q1 2021 and look ahead for Q2 2021, they could get added back onto the list.

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well, would be enough to know if a feature existing in the fully featured "legacy" apps is coming back at all, i.e. ever...

as about the the wrath of the tiny fraction: the key question actually is how big a percentage this tiny fraction is as part of the *paying* user base, not of the overall base. from a commercial point of view the basic users are just cost (with the hope to be converted to paying at some point), it is the paying subscribers that are critical. the way I read Ians statement is that something is happening with these very paying subs, something that concerns them enough to finally react. only time will truly tell though...

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4 minutes ago, Paul A. said:

Without the offer of free product, the reward for beta users is the communication with and acknowledgement of issues by Evernote staff. This is the currency that drives a beta program.

Nicely stated. 👏

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22 minutes ago, toao said:

as about the the wrath of the tiny fraction: the key question actually is how big a percentage this tiny fraction is as part of the *paying* user base, not of the overall base. from a commercial point of view the basic users are just cost (with the hope to be converted to paying at some point), it is the paying subscribers that are critical. the way I read Ians statement is that something is happening with these very paying subs, something that concerns them enough to finally react. only time will truly tell though...

I think you overestimate the importance of power users. The evidence over the years strongly suggests that power users are not their priority. I have long suspected that no one in executive management is what the actual power users on this forum would consider a power user.

Users who have been on this forum for a long time know that this is not the first time EN has released product that broke basic functionality and nuked user workflows. In fact, this has been par for the course with EN - long term power users, am I wrong? 

Now think about the last time you went to a new version of Excel or Word and some basic feature was borked. That's right - it doesn't happen! The QA and beta testing and no negative surprises approach that an established company like Microsoft can take is completely different from what we have seen from EN, not just with this release, but every release going back years, which is why I suggested earlier in this thread that Ian Small's response was nothing new - every EN CEO does something similar after they release product they know will disrupt their power userbase. I think anyone who reads Small's response as EN changing how they view their power users is going to be disappointed.

In their defense, a small, VC financed company is under a lot of pressure to move fast, and moving fast means things break. And things breaking disproportionately adversely impacts power users.

A tiny paying group of power users does not make for a high valuation. For a company that needs an exit (sale or IPO), maximizing valuation is the goal, and keeping power users happy has very little to do with that goal. Once users understand that, EN's decision making will make a lot more sense.

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fully agree with your comments @tavor, especially on the company valuation. EN is a fairly "old" startup, so it is no longer being valued on customer numbers (that could be monetized in some way form or fashion by a new owner) alone any more.

they need to show decent revenue, at the minimum self sustainability or a strong upward trajectory. so if there is a significant drop in the revenue forecast, that indeed would create an issue for the exec team, both from the VC owners as well as for their own bonuses. clearly I am just wild guessing here as there are no public numbers, but I read two things in Ians statement: annoyance with and a certain concern about the "intensive customers". I interpret that to be a commercial concern, but I clearly don't know. like yourself I would not be overly optimistic about EN moving in the direction of the concerns raised here unless the commercial pressure is massive...

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17 minutes ago, tavor said:

this is not the first time EN has released product that broke basic functionality and nuked user workflows

This is the first time that Evernote has specified in the release notes    
please be aware that there are a handful of features—such as ...—that are not yet available. If your workflow depends on these features, you can continue to use our legacy apps.   
and
 released a special Legacy version

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9 minutes ago, DTLow said:

This is the first time that Evernote has specified in the release notes    
please be aware that there are a handful of features—such as ...—that are not yet available. If your workflow depends on these features, you can continue to use our legacy apps.   
and
 released a special Legacy version

Right. And what they should have done was noted that in the update notification. Most people don't read release notes anymore as we've all gotten used to the numerous and frequent updates of nearly all the apps we use on our desktops/laptops and mobile devices. MANY users thought they were getting a "regular"/minor update, and didn't realize that instead they were getting a gut renovated new version. If they had made that clear in the update notification, they would have saved themselves and many of their users a lot of grief and wasted time.

Just another data point that demonstrates that power users are not their priority (I'm not angry, I understand it, as described in earlier posts).

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30 minutes ago, toao said:

fully agree with your comments @tavor, especially on the company valuation. EN is a fairly "old" startup, so it is no longer being valued on customer numbers (that could be monetized in some way form or fashion by a new owner) alone any more.

they need to show decent revenue, at the minimum self sustainability or a strong upward trajectory. so if there is a significant drop in the revenue forecast, that indeed would create an issue for the exec team, both from the VC owners as well as for their own bonuses. clearly I am just wild guessing here as there are no public numbers, but I read two things in Ians statement: annoyance with and a certain concern about the "intensive customers". I interpret that to be a commercial concern, but I clearly don't know. like yourself I would not be overly optimistic about EN moving in the direction of the concerns raised here unless the commercial pressure is massive...

Yes, EN is an old startup at this point, but your valuation assessment is totally off base, IMHO. Look at companies like Netflix and Amazon - they lost incredible amounts of money (EN losses are a drop in a bucket by comparison) year after year for many years, yet they were able to go public and reached stratospheric valuations.

Again, look at the evidence. If power users were important to profitability and profitability was important to valuation, would EN management be making the decisions they are? If your answer is "no", then you need to change some of your assumptions.

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1 hour ago, tavor said:

think you overestimate the importance of power users. The evidence over the years strongly suggests that power users are not their priority. I have long suspected that no one in executive management is what the actual power users on this forum would consider a power user.

Users who have been on this forum for a long time know that this is not the first time EN has released product that broke basic functionality and nuked user workflows. In fact, this has been par for the course with EN - long term power users, am I wrong? 

Not wrong.

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6 hours ago, tavor said:

Right. And what they should have done was noted that in the update notification. Most people don't read release notes anymore as we've all gotten used to the numerous and frequent updates of nearly all the apps we use on our desktops/laptops and mobile devices. MANY users thought they were getting a "regular"/minor update, and didn't realize that instead they were getting a gut renovated new version. If they had made that clear in the update notification, they would have saved themselves and many of their users a lot of grief and wasted time.

Just another data point that demonstrates that power users are not their priority (I'm not angry, I understand it, as described in earlier posts).

I heard some users said they were notified in their old version to update, which means they were encouraged to download the new version to the old one. Which contradicts what the release note implies that "thinking twice before updating".

"Please be aware that..." is just an escape clause that Evernote has NO responsibility when you get this buggy product. This is you who CHOOSE to download the product not ME (EN) who didn't force you to do that.

Power users are not their priority, and I don't know who are really their priority. As everyone gets this garbage now.

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9 hours ago, Paul A. said:

As has been extensively reported on these and other public forums, dozens (if not hundreds) of issues were reported by beta participants, never acknowledged by Evernote staff, and shipped "as is" in the production versions. Now, I am aware that software is never perfect - no software program of any complexity would ever ship if every known bug has to be squashed first.

But, if you run a half-hearted beta program, you're going to get half-hearted results. With close to zero communication to beta participants, what incentive is there for beta users to write up detailed bug reports?

Great that EN acknowledges their massively incompetent communication and roll out "plan". However the CEO states "...the releases have not gone as smoothly as any of us would have liked. Despite an extensive QA process and a long-running beta program, some of our customers have encountered frustrating bugs and performance issues.". I was a Software Quality Assurance and Testing manager at a major global company - and I find this statement "extensive QA process..." highly suspect - and based on your comments above, it seems it wasn't actually that extensive.

Your statements confirm possible responses to my questions regarding their supposed QA process:

  • What level of user were their Beta Testers (how many longer term high use users that "stretched" the app beyond simple functionality) from which they documented their user functionality testing use cases?  Seems there was not a lot of incentive for beta users to write up detailed bug reports.
  • How many of the reported KNOWN ISSUES during beta testing were actually addressed before releasing the new V10 code base?  Obviously LOTS of known issues from the half-hearted beta were not fixed/addressed before roll-out.

While I totally agree "software is never perfect" and "not every known bug has to be fixed <before rollout>" - they should have at the very least addressed critical and major bugs/broken functionality -- for example "duplicate notes constantly being generated" -- I can't imagine that someone didn't run into this major broken functionality/issue during beta testing....????

Also, they should have compiled and properly communicated (not just a blanket comment in release notes that many don't read) a punch list of major v6 functionality/features that were not included in the v10 code base ... at least this would have prepared the users for what to expect if they [choose] to upgrade to v10. For example, Windows Export feature is severely limited (so far), with only 50 notes at a time and no HTML export option. This is a major showstopper for me from a backup and data integrity perspective (I want to be able to have a local/external copy of my data intact in case the EN db goes kaput).

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13 hours ago, tavor said:

Yes, EN is an old startup at this point, but your valuation assessment is totally off base, IMHO. Look at companies like Netflix and Amazon - they lost incredible amounts of money (EN losses are a drop in a bucket by comparison) year after year for many years, yet they were able to go public and reached stratospheric valuations.

Again, look at the evidence. If power users were important to profitability and profitability was important to valuation, would EN management be making the decisions they are? If your answer is "no", then you need to change some of your assumptions.

well, this is obviously hard to resolve one way or another without having internal information of EN which we both don't seem to have access to. neither amazon nor netflix saw a decline in their paying customer base along the way. they were commercially in the red for a long time, sure, but didn't take steps to *reduce* their income. essentially their message was: "yes, sure, we are burning a lot of money, but boy are we growing!". EN both does not seem to grow *and* seems to be alienating its commercial base. so outside of a story of "yes, sure, we are driving away some of our paying customers, but boy will we be growing once we are done with the changes." I don't see much of a claim. this claim however is based on a lot of trust and hope as opposed to amazons or netflixs growth which was massive, real and tangible.

I suspect there is currently a lot of unease with the shareholders and subsequently within management and Ians note attests to that (at least that is how I read it). sure, paying power or intensive subscribers and their departure seems to be a nuisance to Ian, but it also seems to be one he no longer is confident enough to ignore.

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I wonder whether notes app is still a viable business model - especially after Microsoft offering Onenote for free!

EN may continue with a some diehard fans as a niche product but it is unlikely to appeal to any new user in a big scale.

 

Quote

Now think about the last time you went to a new version of Excel or Word and some basic feature was borked. That's right - it doesn't happen!

Microsoft has plenty of issues though. While I have not seen big bugs in common apps like Word or Excel, I have seen plenty of major bugs in their other products like .NET/Visual Studio.

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19 hours ago, Paul A. said:

It's good to see an acknowledgement that things are not all hunky dory, particularly amongst Evernote power user base (which I have to imagine makes up a significant portion of the paying subscribers).

I imagine that "power users" (whatever that means to anyone) is not as significant as we think. They just happen to be the angriest when things go wrong. I also have to imagine that a lot of the users who are relying on the power use fringe cases are also not the same ones beta testing and willing to break their workflows, but they'll be the loudest when the changes come. 

I would consider myself a power user, but not at the level of some of the people here. That means people will ask me questions about Evernote, I actually have a decent amount of structure, and I use keyboard shortcuts.

I have sent emails like this before, and my take on it is that "we made some power users upset, sorry, but we're continuing on because we like what we're doing." I don't expect anything from their original plan to change. In the forums (especially the beta forums) I have seen staff responding, asking questions, and seeking follow up. Everything that Ian said in terms of balancing the rollout of new features while developing new features has basically been said by various staff members. This is just the CEO having to step in to placate the masses. 

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Maybe i'm the only one who finds the new Evernote to be a huge improvement on the legacy apps. It's been fun to see features continually added to the web client. It now has a level of functionality that eclipses any other note taking app i can think of. 

Also the Android app is much improved. Features like nested notes, tables, text formatting options etc. have been added. 

Have i noticed a couple of bugs? yes, there have been a few, but at work I use Microsoft Notes and that is totally borked (notes created on the desktop app cannot be edited in the web client, for example) and Evernote is a paragon of productivity compared with that.

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14 hours ago, Joel O's said:

more downplaying of power users' woes

Yes it was a rather painful thing to read with its digs at power users, I’m sorry I found it a rather begrudging apology, totally absent of real content, nothing new at all, if there was any new information please tell me what it was because I can’t see it myself. I don’t think they understand their own product. A real missed opportunity to honestly connect with their valued customers. This just increases my feeling of unease with Evernote, why no reassurance that they will keep the Classic Evernote going for the foreseeable, why? Also I simply don’t believe the statistics Ian quoted, how on earth can 90% of uses be happy with this complete and utter piece of rubbish, Version 10 ?  I don’t believe it, are these 90% running something different from me? Because if they are not it’s a straight out lie. 

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3 hours ago, Vidalia said:

I wonder whether notes app is still a viable business model - especially after Microsoft offering Onenote for free!

EN may continue with a some diehard fans as a niche product but it is unlikely to appeal to any new user in a big scale.

While having a giant like Microsoft offering a competing product for free (though even they have a paid version) is a challenge, we have seen an explosion in the note app space in the last few years - and that explosion took place *despite* the presence of two giants (EN and ON) with free versions.

Why is that? Probably because the growth of the potential market is huge. Humans didn't evolve in an environment with so much information overload. Trying to cope without some kind of "external brain" for storage and retrieval of information is only going to get more difficult. That doesn't mean that note taking apps are the long term solution for the information challenge, but for right now, that seems to be the most viable option. 

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1 hour ago, tavor said:

While having a giant like Microsoft offering a competing product for free (though even they have a paid version) is a challenge, we have seen an explosion in the note app space in the last few years - and that explosion took place *despite* the presence of two giants (EN and ON) with free versions. 

I'm unaware of Microsoft's pricing strategy. Can you really use One Note with unlimited note storage for free?

Also being forced to use Windows or OS X doesn't sound like fun ...

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2 hours ago, MrIllustrator said:

Yes it was a rather painful thing to read with its digs at power users, I’m sorry I found it a rather begrudging apology, totally absent of real content, nothing new at all, if there was any new information please tell me what it was because I can’t see it myself. I don’t think they understand their own product. A real missed opportunity to honestly connect with their valued customers. This just increases my feeling of unease with Evernote, why no reassurance that they will keep the Classic Evernote going for the foreseeable, why? Also I simply don’t believe the statistics Ian quoted, how on earth can 90% of uses be happy with this complete and utter piece of rubbish, Version 10 ?  I don’t believe it, are these 90% running something different from me? Because if they are not it’s a straight out lie. 

Well i'm very happy with it. It's so much better than the earlier apps for Android and the Web.

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3 hours ago, ehrt74 said:

I'm unaware of Microsoft's pricing strategy. Can you really use One Note with unlimited note storage for free?

Also being forced to use Windows or OS X doesn't sound like fun ...

There are two OneNotes: One stand alone, restricted in its features and storage mainly local, the other is part of Office 365 and saving to the 1TB of OneDrive you get with O365. So if you already have an O365 subscription, technically spoken OneNote is free. If not, you are cut back to the free version, or you need to subscribe.

Personally I don’t have an O365 subscription, and don’t like OneNote. Case closed.

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8 minutes ago, PinkElephant said:

There are two OneNotes: One stand alone, restricted in its features and storage mainly local, the other is part of Office 365 and saving to the 1TB of OneDrive you get with O365. So if you already have an O365 subscription, technically spoken OneNote is free. If not, you are cut back to the free version, or you need to subscribe.

Personally I don’t have an O365 subscription, and don’t like OneNote. Case closed.

Thanks, i didn't know that. I'm not a fan of O365 either 😕

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21 minutes ago, PinkElephant said:

There are two OneNotes: One stand alone, restricted in its features and storage mainly local, the other is part of Office 365 and saving to the 1TB of OneDrive you get with O365. So if you already have an O365 subscription, technically spoken OneNote is free. If not, you are cut back to the free version, or you need to subscribe.

Personally I don’t have an O365 subscription, and don’t like OneNote. Case closed.

Haven't looked at ON in a long time, but as I recall the free version was online notes only. The paid version allowed you to keep some notes local-only (unsynchronized). There were some other differences as well, but that's the one I recall. Could be they have changed things.

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ON is free with no device limit and cloud storage upto 5 GB. I use it in my mobile and my notes are available offline as well and synced when I go online.

Now whether ON maintains a complex file structure or local storage or simply a cache I don't know that but I found it to work reliably offline in mobiles for last few years.

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On 12/12/2020 at 9:24 AM, tavor said:

Trying to cope without some kind of "external brain" for storage and retrieval of information is only going to get more difficult.

This is a really good point. And this is why power users are more important than what EN thinks. If you have couple of hundred notes, you can switch apps quickly or you probably won't pay for anything anyway.

But the people who are trying to capture and manage all this massive information flow which is going to get worse and use an app for "external brain", those people need an app that work for their needs and they can be committed to an app for years to come. They will drive the revenue boat for the company if you can keep them loyal by providing an app that suits their needs. 

I am biased of course since I would consider myself a power user but trying to make the app appeal to the masses while not serving the "core" base does not seem right to me. You can have a strip down version for the masses if you would like but upsetting the power user at that expense is questionable for me.

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I always wondered those who have several thousands of notes in EN, what those types of notes are! Have they reviewed their workflow to evaluate whether those many notes are relevant and/or can be handled using a different type of applications?

During my peak usage of EN, I only had ~500 notes.

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14 minutes ago, Vidalia said:

I always wondered those who have several thousands of notes in EN, what those types of notes are! Have they reviewed their workflow to evaluate whether those many notes are relevant and/or can be handled using a different type of applications?

During my peak usage of EN, I only had ~500 notes.

Depends on  your use case. Are there only 500 pieces of (not closely related) information that you want out of your biological brain but saved to an external brain for future retrieval?

I use EN for info archival, but also as my GTD system, so my goal is to store as little of the minutiae as possible in my head and offload all of that to my external brain. Bio brain "real estate" is limited, expensive and prone to memory gaps. External brain is larger, inexpensive and has nearly perfect recall. 

So my 5k notes is merely a good start toward my goal. I can envision reaching 50k notes.

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18 minutes ago, Vidalia said:

I always wondered those who have several thousands of notes in EN, what those types of notes are! Have they reviewed their workflow to evaluate whether those many notes are relevant and/or can be handled using a different type of applications?

During my peak usage of EN, I only had ~500 notes.

Good question. It is always a good idea to evaluate one's workflow to make sure it is always improving and the best solution given that a lot changes with technology these days.

What I like about Evernote and how I use it is that Evernote is the center of my workflow. So even if I use Google Drive or DropBox, it is referenced in Evernote so I don't have to look at numerous places. This is where the tagging comes in handy too. So with any cloud storage, you kind of rely on the folder structure. But with Evernote I can use multiple tags which helps me find a document very easily.

So instead of saving a bank statement into DropBox or somewhere, I save it to Evernote since I can retrieve it so much faster.

I create daily work notes about anything I work on. Or any ideas I might have.

I keep receipts, tax documents, any maintenance items related to the house or the cars etc. 

So my note number grows quickly but with proper tagging I can retrieve it quickly. 

Sure there are very old notes, I am sure I don't need frequently or even need at all but I wouldn't spend the time to clean it up, that beats the purpose of a productivity app IMHO. For example, I receive a class action suit settlement about car repairs for a car I owned back in 2012 and I have receipts saved to Evernote for it. Yeah I sold the car, I could have deleted that, but that maintenance information is quickly available to me via Evernote. I don't have to go do DropBox then to Vehicles then to maintenance etc. 

So after this long answer to your "what type of notes", I pretty much save everything to Evernote. :)

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3 hours ago, Vidalia said:

I always wondered those who have several thousands of notes in EN, what those types of notes are! Have they reviewed their workflow to evaluate whether those many notes are relevant and/or can be handled using a different type of applications?

During my peak usage of EN, I only had ~500 notes.

Evernote is my single repository for all my data; I have over 15k notes    
Most of the data is archived status, but cause no issues being stored in my database 

I use other applications in processing and reviewing my data   
My Mac Evernote is integrated with scripting via Applescript and Keyboard Maestro   
I also take my data to a spreadsheet for better presentation options    
The Evernote editor is fine for basic notes; For extended features, I use word-processing and other editors.  The documents are stored in Evernote as note attachments

Examples of notes are:   
Journaling; a daily journal/dashboard note and others       
Receipts; scanned paper, emailed, monthly feed from my bank   
Task notes; used in my GTD task management process

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On 12/12/2020 at 3:06 PM, MrIllustrator said:

Yes it was a rather painful thing to read with its digs at power users, I’m sorry I found it a rather begrudging apology, totally absent of real content, nothing new at all, if there was any new information please tell me what it was because I can’t see it myself. I don’t think they understand their own product. A real missed opportunity to honestly connect with their valued customers. This just increases my feeling of unease with Evernote, why no reassurance that they will keep the Classic Evernote going for the foreseeable, why? Also I simply don’t believe the statistics Ian quoted, how on earth can 90% of uses be happy with this complete and utter piece of rubbish, Version 10 ?  I don’t believe it, are these 90% running something different from me? Because if they are not it’s a straight out lie. 

Well said. I can't remember to have encountered a worse update of any application I've ever used before. A total lack of profound QA especially with multiple devices in use and a substantial amount of (stacked) notebooks and notes. Additionally, several bugs that are so obvious but still not fixed making me asked myself whether there are any feature descriptions at all to test against. Especially the beta testing phase isn't worth mentioning. Who on earth would spent significant time and risk with one's productive system in a beta phase.

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1 hour ago, Vidalia said:

I always wondered those who have several thousands of notes in EN, what those types of notes are! Have they reviewed their workflow to evaluate whether those many notes are relevant and/or can be handled using a different type of applications?

During my peak usage of EN, I only had ~500 notes.

Absent of proof is not proof of absent.

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35 minutes ago, Goetz said:

Additionally, several bugs that are so obvious but still not fixed making me asked myself whether there are any feature descriptions at all to test against. Especially the beta testing phase isn't worth mentioning. Who on earth would spent significant time and risk with one's productive system in a beta phase.

This is an issue I raised years ago. The test suite then, and now, seemed woefully lacking because updates would routinely break features. You would think a competently constructed test suite would incorporate a lot of this so that the QA process would capture a lot of the errors affecting basic functionality. Then alpha and beta testing could iron out the quirks. 

A few years ago, I would routinely download updates as soon as they were released (not beta, but general release). After having my workflows disrupted on a regular basis, I decided even downloading general release updates wasn't worth the pain. Forget about beta testing! 

And that's the problem. The internal QA phase is so poor, that it makes beta testing unappealing, especially to power users and others who are heavily dependent on EN. So the very people who could detect most of the bugs are reluctant to participate as beta testers without any incentives. And as far as I know, EN offers nothing by way of incentives. Not that incentives are needed IF the QA testing was much better and users had some confidence that betas would not be a huge headache.

So without a good QA phase (and a reputation for that), it's hard to attract lots of beta testers, and without lots of beta testers, you get buggy products pushed as general releases, making the broad userbase involuntary beta testers. This has been the cycle at EN for years - sorry to say for the folks new to the forum who think the v10 fiasco is a one-off stumble and will never happen again - I see nothing to indicate that EN is actually going to change their approach when it comes to testing.

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3 hours ago, Vidalia said:

I always wondered those who have several thousands of notes in EN, what those types of notes are! Have they reviewed their workflow to evaluate whether those many notes are relevant and/or can be handled using a different type of applications?

During my peak usage of EN, I only had ~500 notes.

As per the other responses I decided to use EN to become paperless some 10 years ago.  I put everything into EN in either local or synced notebooks.  I emptied out file cabinets either scanning into EN or just shredding.  I have no paper about at this point.  All my tasks are in EN as well.

To date I have 51k notes of which about half are PDfs.  Will I use all of them at some point in the future, probably not.  Is it worth rationalizing and eliminating some of them today, probably not. 

If I am forced to move to another platform if V10 does not come up to snuff I will most likely move the important stuff and convert to a Basic EN account for what's left, assuming that is an option for some period of time.  I hope I don't have to do that as I have not seen anything on the market at this point that works as well for me as 6.25.1.  FWIW.

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On 12/11/2020 at 12:53 PM, Paul A. said:

It's good to see an acknowledgement that things are not all hunky dory, particularly amongst Evernote power user base (which I have to imagine makes up a significant portion of the paying subscribers).

Overall it's a fine platform update, but I did find the below section on the beta program to be both disingenuous and a missed opportunity in the overall communication @Ian Small:

As has been extensively reported on these and other public forums, dozens (if not hundreds) of issues were reported by beta participants, never acknowledged by Evernote staff, and shipped "as is" in the production versions. Now, I am aware that software is never perfect - no software program of any complexity would ever ship if every known bug has to be squashed first.

But, if you run a half-hearted beta program, you're going to get half-hearted results. With close to zero communication to beta participants, what incentive is there for beta users to write up detailed bug reports? For free? Some apps offer beta users paid access to the product in exchange for the time consuming prospect of testing, writing reproducible bug reports, filling out questionnaires, and so on. Without the offer of free product, the reward for beta users is the communication with and acknowledgement of issues by Evernote staff. This is the currency that drives a beta program.

Without ongoing and regular engagement with beta users, participants quickly realize that providing feedback is as useful as trying to nail Jell-O to the wall, and it should surprise no one when product quality suffers as a result.

Well put.  The guy is brave for explaining what happened and some of the logic.  But other than putting more emphasis on the needs of existing as well as "power users", I didn't see a lot of reassurance of specific changes to improve release quality. 

I use EN a lot, but I'm not a "power user".  I just want the basics to work.  When I type a letter from my keyboard it should appear immediately in the EN, not 1 second later. When I start a new note its Title and body space should be available so that could enter the note, not have to stop and restart the app.  I've learned that EN syncing is just not reliable, so just focus on using one device.  I've learned that trying to sync without excellent version control is a recipe for disaster.  I know a bit about product launch, the high priority of the release date, and creative license to show compliance with Beta criteria. So I understand why products get through Beta with known flaws.  But for final release we had to verify AND validate the effectiveness of corrections. We could NEVER push that responsibility onto the end user.  I believe that is what EN made a clear decision to do and we end users are helping them finalize BETA testing

 

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On 12/11/2020 at 6:57 PM, toao said:

well, would be enough to know if a feature existing in the fully featured "legacy" apps is coming back at all, i.e. ever...

as about the the wrath of the tiny fraction: the key question actually is how big a percentage this tiny fraction is as part of the *paying* user base, not of the overall base. from a commercial point of view the basic users are just cost (with the hope to be converted to paying at some point), it is the paying subscribers that are critical. the way I read Ians statement is that something is happening with these very paying subs, something that concerns them enough to finally react. only time will truly tell though...

I just don't understand who would pay for Evernote Premium and is NOT a power user. Just makes no sense.

A paid version for a note app *must* have power users as target group. Everything else makes no sense. There are hundreds of free alternatives for casual users. Ranging from "sending emails to myself" over "folders with text files". 

 

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11 hours ago, sqcpro said:

Well put.  The guy is brave for explaining what happened and some of the logic.  But other than putting more emphasis on the needs of existing as well as "power users", I didn't see a lot of reassurance of specific changes to improve release quality. 

I use EN a lot, but I'm not a "power user".  I just want the basics to work.  When I type a letter from my keyboard it should appear immediately in the EN, not 1 second later. When I start a new note its Title and body space should be available so that could enter the note, not have to stop and restart the app.  I've learned that EN syncing is just not reliable, so just focus on using one device.  I've learned that trying to sync without excellent version control is a recipe for disaster.  I know a bit about product launch, the high priority of the release date, and creative license to show compliance with Beta criteria. So I understand why products get through Beta with known flaws.  But for final release we had to verify AND validate the effectiveness of corrections. We could NEVER push that responsibility onto the end user.  I believe that is what EN made a clear decision to do and we end users are helping them finalize BETA testing

 

I wonder what's going wrong here. These are problems I just don't have with the v10 release. For me, it works quickly and reliably and i'm very happy with it. Lots of features have been added compared with earlier versions, and they are features which I use.

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7 hours ago, kthesun said:

I just don't understand who would pay for Evernote Premium and is NOT a power user. Just makes no sense.

A paid version for a note app *must* have power users as target group. Everything else makes no sense. There are hundreds of free alternatives for casual users. Ranging from "sending emails to myself" over "folders with text files". 

 

I think there are many like myself who are not ‘power users’ but who pay for the product. Things like offline notes, multiple devices, email in notes etc are features I use frequently and I am sure there are many others the same. I’m by no means a power user, I don’t have the first idea about advanced search or much of the other features. To be honest, i find the narrative that it’s power users that matter, I’ve seen them proclaim themselves as ‘elite users’ (sigh!) a little tiresome and pretentious. I don’t see why one group of users seems to consistently set themselves up as over and above another set. I’m not saying you have done that but these forums have that type of mentality scattered around enough for it to get irritating. 

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I think according to Ian Small if you use tags and Evernote for anything other than a single shopping list you are a power user. We are all in this trouble together so even though I’ve been using Evernote for a long time and like keyboard shortcuts (bring them back) I’m no more important than anyone else. I like the forums because everyone’s opinions are heard equally. Don’t let them divide and therefor conquer us. Let’s stick together friends. 

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2 hours ago, MrIllustrator said:

I think according to Ian Small if you use tags and Evernote for anything other than a single shopping list you are a power user. We are all in this trouble together so even though I’ve been using Evernote for a long time and like keyboard shortcuts (bring them back) I’m no more important than anyone else. I like the forums because everyone’s opinions are heard equally. Don’t let them divide and therefor conquer us. Let’s stick together friends. 

Well said. I truly do not agree with this divisiveness, which begins at the top where management has been marginalising a "small percentage" (3-5%, now mysteriously 10%) of users who use "niche" functions such as tags and are just being overreacting whiners. Watch the earlier CEO interview with Tom Solid a few weeks ago to see how dismissive he was  of the "5% problem". The more they successfully dismiss and marginalise such "power users", the better management looks. All this is to gaslight and obscure the reality that even EXTREMELY BASIC functions of the app like opening, creating, moving notes and folders are objectively that much slower and harder to do.

Forget about the "power users" rhetoric and manufactured schism and let's just consider instead "heavy users", people who rely on EN a lot for their daily tasks, but may only use basic functions. 

I am a "heavy user".  Happily paid premium fees for much of the past decade, take all my notes at work and study with EN. V10 is gradually driving me crazy like a Lovecraftian POV character with all the extra clicks and countless negative surprises over the past few weeks. Where's the preferences? Why can't I drag and drop more than one item around like we've been able to since  the bygone era of Windows 3.1 and earlier? Once it couldn't even load up and was stuck at a loading screen, a spinning green wheel, when I had to pull out some information urgently, and I felt really anxious and let down.

You don't need to be a power user, only a heavy user, to realise the many steps backwards V10 is in terms of not just missing features but also vastly inferior user experience.

On the bright side, I also agree that most people posting here are actually of one mind: passionately and helpfully trying to find the best solution to their own and each others' productivity needs, whether that means EN 10 or Legacy or another app.

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If tags are power user then I’m a super power user 😂

For me what keeps me on Evernote even though I have massive issues with sync and a few other things is - universal tags, custom templates that are easy to implement, multi device, email in notes, note reminders (a new one I’m starting to use). This stuff is really handy as I use Evernote for meeting notes and weekly organisation, for research, book notes, all sorts of things. 

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I'm not a power user, or a paid user.   I only have just over 1200 notes, all of it generated by typing since I don't do any importing of emails, receipts, documents or media of any kind, and I only need to sync 2 devices.  I don't know if I'm a heavy/light user, but I do use it every single day.  It's one of the 2-3 apps on my WIndows laptop that is always open and I add to existing notes or create new ones multiple times each day.  It's not quite a second brain for me, but it is critically important for me to in being productive and efficient.

All that to say that V10 has been the worst software "upgrade" I've ever experienced.  It almost feels like a different product.  It just doesn't feel familiar or natural at all, and I can't seem to be as effective/productive because of all the annoyances.  What kind of a program has no Preferences?  Why can't I add words to the dictionary or at least tell it to ignore what it thinks are misspellings?  Why can't I change fonts?  In fact, it's the only one that made me go looking for a user forum to see if my experience was unique.

Again, since I'm not a power/paid user, I'm happily back to using the Legacy app again.  Maybe in a year (or two?), EN will have added enough of the old features that I can feel comfortable and productive again.  The only new feature I appreciate is Dark mode, so if EN ever feels close to the legacy version but with Dark mode, I might try upgrading again.

So I just wanted to say that even a non-power (and relatively light?) user like me feels the pain of this terrible V10.  In my 30+ years of computer use, it is truly a uniquely bad upgrade.

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51 minutes ago, skim1124 said:

 I don't know if I'm a heavy/light user, but I do use it every single day.  It's one of the 2-3 apps on my WIndows laptop that is always open and I add to existing notes or create new ones multiple times each day.  It's not quite a second brain for me, but it is critically important for me to in being productive and efficient.

If EN is a critically important tool, you might consider to get a paid user. If all these users would contribute,  version V10 wouldn't even exist because there would be sufficient resources to maintain platform specific implementations...

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33 minutes ago, eric99 said:

If EN is a critically important tool, you might consider to get a paid user. If all these users would contribute,  version V10 wouldn't even exist because there would be sufficient resources to maintain platform specific implementations...

Which highlights the notion that the Basic version is too feature rich. EN Basic Legacy is, from my perspective, the second best note app available, right behind the best, which is EN Premium Legacy. For the vast majority of use cases, the 2nd best app in the entire note taking space is good enough, so not much incentive to jump to Premium and pay the highest(?) fee in the note app space.

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11 hours ago, WilliamL said:

I think there are many like myself who are not ‘power users’ but who pay for the product. Things like offline notes, multiple devices, email in notes etc are features I use frequently and I am sure there are many others the same. I’m by no means a power user, I don’t have the first idea about advanced search or much of the other features. To be honest, i find the narrative that it’s power users that matter, I’ve seen them proclaim themselves as ‘elite users’ (sigh!) a little tiresome and pretentious. I don’t see why one group of users seems to consistently set themselves up as over and above another set. I’m not saying you have done that but these forums have that type of mentality scattered around enough for it to get irritating. 

offline notes, multiple devices, email in notes etc
I think that probably makes you a "power user" too. I used multiple tabs and some keyboard shortcuts. These are gone. So using a few tabs, and a few keyboard shortcuts has apparently made me a "power user".  ("it happened to me - so it could happen to you...")
Really the bar for "power user" seems to have been set amazingly low by Evernote. No tabs, no preference settings, nuked keyboard shortcuts.

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5 minutes ago, sonoio said:

I used multiple tabs and some keyboard shortcuts. These are gone. So using a few tabs, and a few keyboard shortcuts has apparently made me a "power user".  ("it happened to me - so it could happen to you...")

Tabs? You mean tags? Or does EN Legacy have tabs and I somehow missed this?

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1 hour ago, tavor said:

Tabs? You mean tags? Or does EN Legacy have tabs and I somehow missed this?

 

1 hour ago, PinkElephant said:

Sure there are tabs in legacy. It means you can have several notes open at once, switching between them in on EN session window.

Good if you need to collect information from several sources, or reference information. Missing in v10.

Tabs only available in Evernote legacy for macOS, if I'm not mistaken. But even if you run on Mac it's still not your oversight @tavor, the Evernote interface does a very, very poor job of visually informing the user that tabs are available as an option. Which is the same point many of us made when the CEO indicated that very few users used tabs. If only one of two desktop platforms even support them and even on the supported platform EN doesn't go out of its way to let you know they exist, not hard to see why usage would be low...

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46 minutes ago, Paul A. said:

 

Tabs only available in Evernote legacy for macOS, if I'm not mistaken. But even if you run on Mac it's still not your oversight @tavor, the Evernote interface does a very, very poor job of visually informing the user that tabs are available as an option. Which is the same point many of us made when the CEO indicated that very few users used tabs. If only one of two desktop platforms even support them and even on the supported platform EN doesn't go out of its way to let you know they exist, not hard to see why usage would be low...

Thanks for the clarification. I use Windows, so I use multiple note windows when I need to view/edit multiple notes simultaneously. Tabs would be useful if the Windows Legacy version had it, but not as useful as opening multiple windows. I was just surprised thinking that I had somehow overlooked this.

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15 hours ago, WilliamL said:

I think there are many like myself who are not ‘power users’ but who pay for the product. Things like offline notes, multiple devices, email in notes etc are features I use frequently and I am sure there are many others the same. I’m by no means a power user, I don’t have the first idea about advanced search or much of the other features. To be honest, i find the narrative that it’s power users that matter, I’ve seen them proclaim themselves as ‘elite users’ (sigh!) a little tiresome and pretentious. I don’t see why one group of users seems to consistently set themselves up as over and above another set. I’m not saying you have done that but these forums have that type of mentality scattered around enough for it to get irritating. 

It's all about the definition of 'power user'. For me, someone who is willing to  pay for a "Notes app" is a power user already.
I don't speak of "elite users".  I don't even know what that is.  
The fact that you are here means that you are a power user, at least in my definition.

 

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11 hours ago, eric99 said:

If EN is a critically important tool, you might consider to get a paid user. If all these users would contribute,  version V10 wouldn't even exist because there would be sufficient resources to maintain platform specific implementations...

I don't think of EN as a charity, so no, I'm not going to contribute.  If paying were the only way to be able to do what I currently do, then of course I would pay.  But since free Legacy fits my needs perfectly, why would I pay?  Similarly, I don't expect EN to accommodate anyone's, especially a non-paid user's needs.  EN will do what it thinks is best for the company and its bottom line, as they should.  And if what they decide is in line with my needs, then I will pay or upgrade or whatever.  But no company should rely on people paying for something they don't need.

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7 hours ago, skim1124 said:

But since free Legacy fits my needs perfectly, why would I pay? 

Different from Google and other data-mining companies who make billions from our data, EN has a classic business model: they can only provide the service if customers are prepared to pay for it.  If nobody pays, your critically important tool will vanish.

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4 hours ago, eric99 said:

Different from Google and other data-mining companies who make billions from our data, EN has a classic business model: they can only provide the service if customers are prepared to pay for it.  If nobody pays, your critically important tool will vanish.

This kind of thinking works for a local sports club or something but not for a globald company with ~200 employes (that's a guess) that is owned by a private equity fund with the simple & clear goal to maximize the return on investment.

If EN wants me to pay (what I do) they will have to achieve this the old-fashioned way. Meaning: They have to build a product that I use regulary and that offers premium features that I want. End of story. 

As I wrote before, I hate working with the new Evernote due to horrible UX, lag between click and display and plenty of bugs. But I still pay for it because right now I have no alternative. Time will tell if most people like me stay with the product. If so, the financial consequences for EN are not too bad.

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I wonder if EN has intentionally crippled the latest version. Those who will continue to stay even with this shambolic version, EN can assume they will remain customers forever and hence they can experiment with price/features confidently without worrying about customers leaving EN.

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5 hours ago, eric99 said:

Different from Google and other data-mining companies who make billions from our data, EN has a classic business model: they can only provide the service if customers are prepared to pay for it.  If nobody pays, your critically important tool will vanish.

You're right to point out the distinction.  But that makes it all the more critical for EN to find a product line and pricing scheme that will allow them to convert people like me to be paid users.  My guess is that there are many like me who are not fans of subscription services, who like to pay once and own the product, and also many like me for whom $7.99/month is too high.  So it's up to EN to make me an offer I can't resist, rather than for me to contribute $7.99/month to a company just so that they can continue to exist--especially if they're using that money to develop "upgrades" like v10.  I'm sure if I had been paying for EN and had v10 thrust upon me, I'd be even more frustrated.

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I just migrated to a new MacBook Pro and didn't realize the new version removed tabs.  I know there are lots of posts about this already, but Evernote mgmt needs to hear from everyone that uses this feature.  At any given time, I'll have 6-8 tabs open.  Having multiple full windows open is a pain and very inefficient for me.  It is a killer feature I really don't want to do without.  I've been contemplating going back to OneNote because that's what my company offers, this might tip me toward looking more closely at that route.  I don't want to take the time to do that, nor do I want to re-learn a tool I used years ago.  I pay for Evernote because it is important to me in my job and when I started here, they did not approve use of OneNote.  It's a heavy lift to change tools like that, but I might have to go that route.  OneNote doesn't have tabs either I suppose, but I don't have to pay for it either...

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'twere me, I'd set the subscription at $25 to $50 per year (some whatever rate) and limit the free trial to 15 days.  Basic users aren't adding EN the value today that they did in the beginning.  The company has strayed quite a bit from the original path anyway.  Sh-- happens.

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5 hours ago, Vidalia said:

I wonder if EN has intentionally crippled the latest version.

Not crippled - the Version 10 product is a work-in-progress   
Evernote told us  "If your workflow depends on these features, you can continue to use our legacy apps." 

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5 hours ago, skim1124 said:

not fans of subscription services, who like to pay once and own the product

The Evernote apps are free; install and you "own" the product and it's functional
As to processing the data, the server stuff, that's an ongoing cost    
I'd be happier with a less expensive subscription,     
but I have no real idea of the actual expenses incurred in this service

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Cost is no measure for prices - at least not in this growth-driven, crazy risk money funded world.

Currently I see no note taking app that really is on a massive growth path. Probably the field is already too mature for newcomers to grab a big chunk of the users by just offering "more for less". As we experience ourselves, switching the notes app is no little feat, because there are workflows that need to be re-created. If looking at the competitive field, we have:

  • Most are on subscription, plus a freemium offer with reduced / limited functions, plus cloud storage & sync
  • Free is Apple Notes, but you need to buy a device to use it. Free is OneNote, if you have O365 anyhow.
  • DEVONThink is a one time purchase, you install it locally and sync through a cloud service you are anyhow using (limited selection)

So if taking about the usual suspects, nearly all of them are subscription-based, cloud-based and in a similar range of functions and supported OSes.

If EN needs to rethink their pricing models: Probably yes, but if I were them, I would first be sure I have a top notch product again before starting to play with a new model to replace the current Basic plan. If tightening now, the conversion rate to a paid model would IMHO be pretty low.

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17 minutes ago, PinkElephant said:

Currently I see no note taking app that really is on a massive growth path.

I agree with much of what you said, but I just wanted to comment specifically on the above. You're absolutely right that "note taking apps" are boring right now. They are commodities, with many free or low cost options. This is why I believe that Evernote wants to broaden itself into more of a "productivity" app, as indicated by their new slogan, "Remember everything and accomplish anything."

The "accomplish anything" part is very hot right now as there is tremendous growth and interest in productivity apps. Hot apps include Notion, Roam Research, SuperHuman, a slew of "task" apps led perhaps by Todoist, and many more that are receiving sizable investments, high valuations, and seeing rapid growth. Evernote is already used by many people to assist in their productivity, and it's not a stretch at all for them to build some new features to make themselves an even more functional productivity tool, and allow them to capture some of the "hotness" around productivity apps.

So we'll see! I'm pleasantly surprised at some of the performance improvements in 10.5.7 (which I only just installed and need more time to test). I feel like the app is finally getting to what I would consider "open Beta" quality, which is not a strong endorsement for an app that has already been in production for months(!), but I do see it improving steadily, and I'm hopeful for what 2021 will bring.

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1 hour ago, CalS said:

'twere me, I'd set the subscription at $25 to $50 per year (some whatever rate) and limit the free trial to 15 days.  Basic users aren't adding EN the value today that they did in the beginning.  The company has strayed quite a bit from the original path anyway.  Sh-- happens.

They've tightened the belt on Basic a couple of times in recent years, and it was by reducing number of devices. I think they've pushed that as far as they can reasonably go. A freemium version limited to 1 device isn't going attract new users because the syncing to multiple devices is a huge part of the advantage of a note app over a bunch of text files in a folder on one's computer. So what else can they take away from Basic? I think you nailed it - the free forever but still robust featurewise app is an outlier in the note app space. The other players offer either a super bare bones free version or a time limited robust free version. EN Basic is an anomaly - very robust (less so with the 2 device limit) and free forever. If EN wants to increase their paying subscriber ratio, replacing free forever Basic with a limited time trial seems like the obvious next lever to pull.

10 minutes ago, Paul A. said:

I agree with much of what you said, but I just wanted to comment specifically on the above. You're absolutely right that "note taking apps" are boring right now. They are commodities, with many free or low cost options. This is why I believe that Evernote wants to broaden itself into more of a "productivity" app, as indicated by their new slogan, "Remember everything and accomplish anything."

The "accomplish anything" part is very hot right now as there is tremendous growth and interest in productivity apps. Hot apps include Notion, Roam Research, SuperHuman, a slew of "task" apps led perhaps by Todoist, and many more that are receiving sizable investments, high valuations, and seeing rapid growth. Evernote is already used by many people to assist in their productivity, and it's not a stretch at all for them to build some new features to make themselves an even more functional productivity tool, and allow them to capture some of the "hotness" around productivity apps.

So we'll see! I'm pleasantly surprised at some of the performance improvements in 10.5.7 (which I only just installed and need more time to test). I feel like the app is finally getting to what I would consider "open Beta" quality, which is not a strong endorsement for an app that has already been in production for months(!), but I do see it improving steadily, and I'm hopeful for what 2021 will bring.

Anyone remember when Phil Libin was talking about competing with MS Office? I remember thinking how laughable that was given EN's QA process.

I think the productivity space is a more reasonable target - going up against smaller competitors and going for a userbase that is more tolerant of the fast and loose QA that EN uses. Spreadsheet users would never tolerate the kind of bugs that routinely escape into EN general release products.

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Yes, putting everything on the same platform is step one, exciting new functions is what is promised after that. Currently a table function that is not even able to create a sum or a count needs way to improve before it can be called a "productivity tool".

With all the criticism one must accept that many of the "hot" apps that are currently hyped are based on "frameworks", some even on the same Electron framework EN decided to use. So here the playing field is on the same level.

What needs to be shown is how the real, workflow oriented features will evolve. Currently for me EN v10 is still not supporting all of my use cases, which means that without "legacy" I would have to take a decision. With legacy it is "wait & see".

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7 hours ago, CalS said:

'twere me, I'd set the subscription at $25 to $50 per year (some whatever rate) and limit the free trial to 15 days.  Basic users aren't adding EN the value today that they did in the beginning.  The company has strayed quite a bit from the original path anyway.  Sh-- happens.

I'd pay about $3/month ($36/year) if they got rid of the free plan.  But not for v10 the way it is now.  I have no idea if EN can survive if they could get a whole lot more people on the free plan to subscribe at $36/year, but that might be one option.  Even if it were a slightly feature-poor plan (without the most data intensive features such as uploading scans, PDFs, emails), I'd pay $36/year if it were the only way to continue using EN the way I want.  The current $7.99 then can be for the really heavy/power users.

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6 hours ago, AlbertR said:

Rumor: They will re-enable Plus subscriptions (30 €/Year) 😉 (robust, really multi-device, pre OCRed PDFs searchable, upload "limit" 1GB/month, ...)

Doubt it, they tried Plus before and it didn't achieve satisfactory results. My bet is instead of a free Basic, Plus and Premium, we get time limited free trial, ~$25 Basic, and Premium. No more free forever option.

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9 minutes ago, tavor said:

No more free forever option.

The theory is - let the Basic users continue to use the service forever
The more they use the service, the higher the paid conversion rate    

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2 minutes ago, DTLow said:

The theory is - let the Basic users continue to use the service forever
The more they use the service, the higher the paid conversion rate    

That certainly has been the idea for over a decade. Has it worked? I look at the stepwise reduction of Basic's feature set as evidence that this hasn't been working, so now they are trying to push people into Premium. The next logical step, IMHO, is eliminating free forever. 

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在 2020/12/14 在 PM10點55分, Vidalia說:

I always wondered those who have several thousands of notes in EN, what those types of notes are! Have they reviewed their workflow to evaluate whether those many notes are relevant and/or can be handled using a different type of applications?

During my peak usage of EN, I only had ~500 notes.

The case is you need to “remember” everything and take it out and use it when you needed 

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The blog post seems to be confusing being able to release software quickly with releasing quality software faster.   Reading between the lines one might infer that Evernote has a new CI pipeline - that's nice, it means they can make releases faster - it ALSO means they can release mistakes faster.   Using customers to do what should be done by automated testing and a QA test team is a recipe for disaster.

My bugs for the the windows client would include

  • crashes a lot or refuses to start because the previous instance is a hidden zombie
  • displaying blank pages for notes that i know had content the previous day 

The blog post says that the majority of customers want new features, but I doubt that a majority want bedrock core features sacrificed for those new features. I totally understand a desire to convert free users to power users by adding new features.  I'd argue that only works if you make those new features premium good enough that people will pay a premium for them.  As an existing premium customer I've not yet found any new features that I'd consider premium and I cannot find bedrock features such as auto importing from chosen file system folders ( desktop or 3rd party cloud drives )

If you really do want new features maybe let your paying users vote for them - engage with your customers to find out weekly what they want you to focus on.  You may find the new features they want are actually old features you removed. You could even build such voting into the new app if you can find a way to stop it crashing.

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5 minutes ago, davidjspooner said:

If you really do want new features maybe let your paying users vote for them

There are request forums and users can vote; the vote button is at the top left corner of the discussion    
Example: https://discussion.evernote.com/forums/forum/304-general-feature-requests/

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48 minutes ago, DTLow said:

There are request forums and users can vote; the vote button is at the top left corner of the discussion    
Example: https://discussion.evernote.com/forums/forum/304-general-feature-requests/

Yep and I've voted in the past ( mostly for android features ) . My belief is that people who post on the forums tend to be the more engaged and vocal customers.  You only know you can vote if you have actually gone looking.   My suspicion is that forum posts may not be a true reflection of the user base and that instead product management have "guessed" what regular non power users want. I think if that is what happened then they got it quite badly wrong.   By pushing feature voting out to the app and general users ( who don't necessarily use the forums ) then "maybe" the results would have more weight in deciding the next sprint/deliverable.  I also suspect that during covid people are spending more time filling in surveys because they are bored and i think Evernote could use that crowd sourced opinion

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On 12/12/2020 at 1:36 PM, Vidalia said:

I wonder whether notes app is still a viable business model - especially after Microsoft offering Onenote for free!

 

On 12/12/2020 at 6:18 PM, ehrt74 said:

I'm unaware of Microsoft's pricing strategy. Can you really use One Note with unlimited note storage for free?

Also being forced to use Windows or OS X doesn't sound like fun ...

They do have a web app, but it's not as strong or snappy as the desktop ones.

On 12/12/2020 at 10:32 PM, tavor said:

Haven't looked at ON in a long time, but as I recall the free version was online notes only. The paid version allowed you to keep some notes local-only (unsynchronized). There were some other differences as well, but that's the one I recall. Could be they have changed things.

 

On 12/13/2020 at 10:32 AM, Vidalia said:

ON is free with no device limit and cloud storage upto 5 GB. I use it in my mobile and my notes are available offline as well and synced when I go online.

Now whether ON maintains a complex file structure or local storage or simply a cache I don't know that but I found it to work reliably offline in mobiles for last few years.

OneNote's business model is essentially: App is free, but you store the master copy of your notes online, so you need to pay for OneDrive storage space if you exceed the free 5GB limit. If you buy an Office license, you can use the old Windows Office app to store local, unsynchronized notebooks.

OneNote started as a local file reader before the cloud was a thing. A OneNote notebook is a folder that contains .one files, each representing a section and its contents. Section Groups, ON's equivalent of stacks, are subfolders inside that main notebook folder. Microsoft tries to present OneNote somewhat like Evernote - you have an account, and an account has notebooks - but it's just OneNote apps, folders and .one files stored on OneDrive, and their sync protocol. OneNote itself does maintain a more complicated, cached version of open notebooks where each paragraph is its own thing, which lets users do collab pretty nicely and enables differential sync well.

A downside of the OneNote setup is that it CANNOT do online-only notebooks. If you open a notebook in a local OneNote client, it has to download a cached version of the entire notebook, because that's what it does the edits to. The cache is synced separately. So, full offline, but compulsory offline.

 

  

On 12/12/2020 at 10:11 PM, PinkElephant said:

There are two OneNotes: One stand alone, restricted in its features and storage mainly local, the other is part of Office 365 and saving to the 1TB of OneDrive you get with O365. So if you already have an O365 subscription, technically spoken OneNote is free. If not, you are cut back to the free version, or you need to subscribe.

Personally I don’t have an O365 subscription, and don’t like OneNote. Case closed.

There are multiple OneNotes - macOS, iOS, Android all have native, so-called "modern" apps with a fancy new sync engine. All are cloud-only, with no possibility of unsynchronized storage. Their web app obviously reads direct from OneDrive. Windows has two versions - the old Office app, which has all manner of local integrations with other locally installed Office apps, and which (with a paid Office license) can create unsynchronized notebooks. OneNote for Windows 10 from the MS store is an entirely different, more modern codebase written for the UWP user interface system (thus the app is often called UWP) but since it started as a lightweight side thing for tablets, it's not as feature-rich as the Office app.

MS had a very similar situation to what Evernote is going on here where they wanted to move away from the old Office codebase and focus on UWP and make it the flagship OneNote client on Windows. Much crying and gnashing of teeth ensued 😁, but they delivered a bunch of updates and UWP is a pretty good app nowadays, still not as 💪as the Office one, but close. They're also in a very Evernote situation in that all the native apps and the web app have pretty different featuresets. Parity is a pipe dream. The Office app and UWP even have different search syntax - now that's fun!

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On 12/16/2020 at 4:58 PM, Vidalia said:

I wonder if EN has intentionally crippled the latest version. Those who will continue to stay even with this shambolic version, EN can assume they will remain customers forever and hence they can experiment with price/features confidently without worrying about customers leaving EN.

You don't do the kind of mass renovation they did to ruin a product. You do it to keep it alive and make it better.

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4 hours ago, Droolling said:

They do have a web app, but it's not as strong or snappy as the desktop ones.

They're also in a very Evernote situation in that all the native apps and the web app have pretty different featuresets. Parity is a pipe dream. The Office app and UWP even have different search syntax - now that's fun!

It's even worse than that. Notes created in the desktop app often cannot be opened in the web app.

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On 12/16/2020 at 3:58 PM, Vidalia said:

I wonder if EN has intentionally crippled the latest version. Those who will continue to stay even with this shambolic version, EN can assume they will remain customers forever and hence they can experiment with price/features confidently without worrying about customers leaving EN.

As I have repeatedly said, Evernote v10 for me as and Android and ChromeOS user is a huge improvement. The rate of improvement of the v10 betas has been enormous and deeply impressive. Obviously it doesn't work well *for you*. *For me* it's great.

Conspiracy theories about how everybody else is James-Bond-villain evil don't really help.

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5 hours ago, Droolling said:

OneNote's business model is essentially: App is free, but you store the master copy of your notes online, so you need to pay for OneDrive storage space if you exceed the free 5GB limit. If you buy an Office license, you can use the old Windows Office app to store local, unsynchronized notebooks.

OneNote started as a local file reader before the cloud was a thing. A OneNote notebook is a folder that contains .one files, each representing a section and its contents. Section Groups, ON's equivalent of stacks, are subfolders inside that main notebook folder. Microsoft tries to present OneNote somewhat like Evernote - you have an account, and an account has notebooks - but it's just OneNote apps, folders and .one files stored on OneDrive, and their sync protocol. OneNote itself does maintain a more complicated, cached version of open notebooks where each paragraph is its own thing, which lets users do collab pretty nicely and enables differential sync well.

A downside of the OneNote setup is that it CANNOT do online-only notebooks. If you open a notebook in a local OneNote client, it has to download a cached version of the entire notebook, because that's what it does the edits to. The cache is synced separately. So, full offline, but compulsory offline.

Wow! I have been OneNote MVP (kind of Microsoft approved Pro) for OneNote for a few years, wrote several books about OneNote and did a (now inactive) Blog about OneNote. So I think I know a bit or two about the software. Over the years I gave up explaining things about it in forums and mostly correcting wrong facts or misunderstandings. All the time I *never* came across anyone who got everything about OneNote right and was able to summarize it in a compact and accurate way. 

Assuming you trust my expertise: Everything Droolling explained ist absolutely correct. I just might add: The "complicated, cached version" of the downloaded data for offline editing is a large number of binary files, each one representing an object on a note page (paragraph, table cell, image...), so a page can be edited in parallel from different users/devices without sync conflicts as long as separate objects are edited. The sync mechanism (MSFSHTTP), also used by Sharepoint, recinstructs edited fragments on the server. That's why only OneDrive / OneDrive for business can be used for storage as Dropbox, Box etc. don't have that server side mechanisms.

And of course all of this is very off-topic to this thread :)

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I think reading at most comments, it is pretty clear that as long as people continue to use proprietary format notes (e.g. EN, ON etc.) the problem will continue as product can change features, increase prices or introduce other limitations.

The only way out is using a open source notes format like .TXT or .RTF or similar.

So any app that uses a open note format, allows users to choose their own sync (e.g. Dropbox, Gdrive, Onedrive etc.) and offers a search across all notes mechanism it is a winner.

Question is whether there is any such app. I think there are quire a few with plain text (which includes Markdown) notes but not sure about rich text notes.

 

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18 minutes ago, Vidalia said:

I think reading at most comments, it is pretty clear that as long as people continue to use proprietary format notes (e.g. EN, ON etc.)    ...  The only way out is using a open source notes format like .TXT or .RTF or similar.

Evernote's note format is enml; basically html   
Note attachment files are maintained in native format

More than the note format, there's also a concern about the note location
Evernote stores the note in a proprietary database structure instead of an OS file folder

>> choose their own sync (e.g. Dropbox, Gdrive, Onedrive etc.)

My backups included a weekly full export in html format - my notes can be accessed in an OS file folder

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On 12/11/2020 at 2:08 PM, tavor said:

Yes, EN is an old startup at this point, but your valuation assessment is totally off base, IMHO. Look at companies like Netflix and Amazon - they lost incredible amounts of money (EN losses are a drop in a bucket by comparison) year after year for many years, yet they were able to go public and reached stratospheric valuations.

Again, look at the evidence. If power users were important to profitability and profitability was important to valuation, would EN management be making the decisions they are? If your answer is "no", then you need to change some of your assumptions.

Not a fair comparison, IMHO. Both of these companies were market leaders (by a wide margin) in segments with broad appeal and a great earning potential (video streaming and e-commerce, respectively), growing revenue year by year, and spending much of it to achieve an even bigger market penetration and technological advantage over their rivals. They had the money to book profits, but decided to use these funds to expand even further instead.

Evernote (and all of its rivals) are competing in a relatively small, niche market, with limited earnings potential (compared to the content delivery and e-commerce) and lots of competition, including free offerings from software behemoths like Google and MS. And this market (not just Evernote as a company, but the entire notetaking market) is well past its prime as far as the hype is concerned. It is no longer the shiny new technology that everyone talks about or wants to try, it's about as mundane as scan apps. 

So, not the same thing at all.

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On 12/17/2020 at 10:56 AM, tavor said:

That certainly has been the idea for over a decade. Has it worked? I look at the stepwise reduction of Basic's feature set as evidence that this hasn't been working, so now they are trying to push people into Premium. The next logical step, IMHO, is eliminating free forever. 

Don't know if you're joking, but this would be a perfect suicide. If they have issues making people pay after using the service for a few years and realizing they need more features that they are willing to pay for, how are they hoping to make people pay without given them a chance to even get used to the service ? 

 

On 12/23/2020 at 10:58 AM, Vidalia said:

I think reading at most comments, it is pretty clear that as long as people continue to use proprietary format notes (e.g. EN, ON etc.) the problem will continue as product can change features, increase prices or introduce other limitations.

The only way out is using a open source notes format like .TXT or .RTF or similar.

So any app that uses a open note format, allows users to choose their own sync (e.g. Dropbox, Gdrive, Onedrive etc.) and offers a search across all notes mechanism it is a winner.

Question is whether there is any such app. I think there are quire a few with plain text (which includes Markdown) notes but not sure about rich text notes.

 

That's what I did with most of my notes and records, actually. After converting them from EN to ON and going with ON for a few years, I just converted them all again into a mix of HTML, PDF, and Word, relying on built-in indexing search in Onedrive to find what I am looking for. (My wife is still using Evernote and expects me to maintain her notes,  though ;) ) DOCX is now an open format and is actually more common than RTF.

The only issue with this approach was taking notes on mobile devices (specifically iOS, as that's what our family uses). Taking a quick note in MS Word on the desktop is easy, but Word for iOS is not optimized for quick notetaking. I used Notability and had it set to auto save PDFs in Onedrive.  It looks like the new combined iOS MS Office app is actually designed for quick notetaking, but I haven't tried it yet.

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3 hours ago, Wanderling Reborn said:

Don't know if you're joking, but this would be a perfect suicide. If they have issues making people pay after using the service for a few years and realizing they need more features that they are willing to pay for, how are they hoping to make people pay without given them a chance to even get used to the service ? 

Not joking. In fact, eliminating free forever comports with your view on Evernote's growth trajectory. If the note taking space is well past its hype phase and is "as mundane as scan apps", then what is the point of keeping the current Basic level free forever? Free forever made sense in the rapid growth phase, especially if the view was the market potential is massive. But if it's a niche market, as you believe, how does offering a very feature-rich product for free with no time limit make any sense at all?

EN Basic is arguably the second best note taking app in the entire space, right after EN Premium. At the very least, EN Basic is right up there with the best of the competition, nearly all of which are paid subscription services (exceptions that I'm aware of being OneNote if you are buying Office 365 regardless of whether ON is included, and Joplin; I don't consider Google Keep in the same category, that's just digital sticky notes).

Having such a feature-rich product free forever does little to induce upgrading to Premium - most of the additional features in Premium are quite niche. EN realized this, which is why they started a few years ago to reduce Basic's feature set, and they went right for a broadly used feature - multiple devices, which they curtailed to 2 + web. And recently they pushed on the same lever, and limited multiple devices to 2 including web. Can't tighten down any more on this particular feature because syncing is a huge part of the appeal of a seamless note taking app, so you have to let users try this for free.

If you agree with me that Premium's features, apart from multiple devices, are quite niche, which I suspect you do given that you view the whole note app category as niche, then adding more power user features into Premium isn't going to radically drive Basic users to upgrade. The other option is to reduce Basic's features. 

What else can they take away from Basic while still giving users a compelling experience that would drive a good portion to pay? To me, the answer is obvious. Keep Basic's existing features and time limit it. 

With that, I throw it back to you. What is EN's path forward in what you view as a relatively slow growth market, if they keep Basic free forever?

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32 minutes ago, tavor said:

Not joking. In fact, eliminating free forever comports with your view on Evernote's growth trajectory. If the note taking space is well past its hype phase and is "as mundane as scan apps", then what is the point of keeping the current Basic level free forever? Free forever made sense in the rapid growth phase, especially if the view was the market potential is massive. But if it's a niche market, as you believe, how does offering a very feature-rich product for free with no time limit make any sense at all?

EN Basic is arguably the second best note taking app in the entire space, right after EN Premium. At the very least, EN Basic is right up there with the best of the competition, nearly all of which are paid subscription services (exceptions that I'm aware of being OneNote if you are buying Office 365 regardless of whether ON is included, and Joplin; I don't consider Google Keep in the same category, that's just digital sticky notes).

Having such a feature-rich product free forever does little to induce upgrading to Premium - most of the additional features in Premium are quite niche. EN realized this, which is why they started a few years ago to reduce Basic's feature set, and they went right for a broadly used feature - multiple devices, which they curtailed to 2 + web. And recently they pushed on the same lever, and limited multiple devices to 2 including web. Can't tighten down any more on this particular feature because syncing is a huge part of the appeal of a seamless note taking app, so you have to let users try this for free.

If you agree with me that Premium's features, apart from multiple devices, are quite niche, which I suspect you do given that you view the whole note app category as niche, then adding more power user features into Premium isn't going to radically drive Basic users to upgrade. The other option is to reduce Basic's features. 

What else can they take away from Basic while still giving users a compelling experience that would drive a good portion to pay? To me, the answer is obvious. Keep Basic's existing features and time limit it. 

With that, I throw it back to you. What is EN's path forward in what you view as a relatively slow growth market, if they keep Basic free forever?

Sorry, but the highlighted line is pure fanboyism. Go to a place like Reddit and see what people use and recommend for notetaking. Especially in the Apple and Windows ecosystems. Evernote is not anywhere near top. (Neither is Onenote, when it comes to Apple users). A lot of people prefer and recommend Notability, or Goodnotes, AppleNotes, Notion, Bear, etc. Evernote is rarely at the top of the list. Keep is limited but perfectly fine for people who don't need power user features. Which is, apparently, the majority of Evernote users. Onenote is slowly but surely taking up market share, especially as 2-in-1 laptops and Surfaces are getting more popular just as MS is finally making a major push into educational space (a decade late, but not too late this time). MS and Google pretty much own .edu, and this is translating into major exposure and user habit forming. Do you think Evernote can afford to limit their exposure right now ? 

Without a Basic version, the number of people even trying Evernote out will dwindle quite drastically. And if Evernote has hard enough time  making people convert now, it will be even harder if these users are faced with having to make a commitment after a 30 day trial. Realize that a large percentage of current Basic users are not really using the service - they opened an account, played with it for a while, then pretty much abandoned it. They will not convert. This move would just result in less people even being willing to evaluate the service in first place. 

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3 hours ago, Wanderling Reborn said:

Sorry, but the highlighted line is pure fanboyism. Go to a place like Reddit and see what people use and recommend for notetaking. Especially in the Apple and Windows ecosystems. Evernote is not anywhere near top. (Neither is Onenote, when it comes to Apple users). A lot of people prefer and recommend Notability, or Goodnotes, AppleNotes, Notion, Bear, etc. Evernote is rarely at the top of the list. Keep is limited but perfectly fine for people who don't need power user features. Which is, apparently, the majority of Evernote users. Onenote is slowly but surely taking up market share, especially as 2-in-1 laptops and Surfaces are getting more popular just as MS is finally making a major push into educational space (a decade late, but not too late this time). MS and Google pretty much own .edu, and this is translating into major exposure and user habit forming. Do you think Evernote can afford to limit their exposure right now? 

Fanboyism? Me? Nah, I've been very critical of EN as my post history would make evident. We'll have to agree to disagree on where EN Basic Legacy stands among the competition. I've looked around and to my mind, EN Basic is right up there with the best note taking apps.

3 hours ago, Wanderling Reborn said:

Without a Basic version, the number of people even trying Evernote out will dwindle quite drastically. And if Evernote has hard enough time  making people convert now, it will be even harder if these users are faced with having to make a commitment after a 30 day trial. Realize that a large percentage of current Basic users are not really using the service - they opened an account, played with it for a while, then pretty much abandoned it. They will not convert. This move would just result in less people even being willing to evaluate the service in first place. 

Who said anything about 30 days? It can be 6 months or even 1yr, which is more generous than most of the competition. Given that many competitors are offering shorter trials and apparently still drawing users, a 6mo or 1yr trial shouldn't be much of a deterrent to people trying Evernote. And then ~$25/year. 

Again, what is your alternative? To keep Basic unchanged feature-wise and keep it free forever? How will they grow paid subs with most users content to stay on free Basic?

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1 hour ago, tavor said:

Fanboyism? Me? Nah, I've been very critical of EN as my post history would make evident. We'll have to agree to disagree on where EN Basic Legacy stands among the competition. I've looked around and to my mind, EN Basic is right up there with the best note taking apps.

Who said anything about 30 days? It can be 6 months or even 1yr, which is more generous than most of the competition. Given that many competitors are offering shorter trials and apparently still drawing users, a 6mo or 1yr trial shouldn't be much of a deterrent to people trying Evernote. And then ~$25/year. 

Again, what is your alternative? To keep Basic unchanged feature-wise and keep it free forever? How will they grow paid subs with most users content to stay on free Basic?

This would indeed be a prize winning answer, wouldn't it ?

As I said... go on Reddit (simply because it's arguably the biggest place where people are asking such questions, which is not tied to a specific OS or product) and make a search for "recommend notetaking" or "how you take notes". See what people have been recommending for the past few years. And how often Evernote is even mentioned. It's no longer the default name people think of, it's a blast from the past, something that was cool ten years ago.

Raising prices did not fix the low user conversion rate, it only masked that problem by forcing more money out of the core group of Evernote faithful. Eliminating the free tier will likewise not force more people to convert to paid, it will just make potential new users even less likely to try it, many existing free users will quit altogether, and  the overall number of active accounts will go down. Venturing into business space was a mistake, and I called it out on this forum years ago. The % of business accounts is what now, mere 15% of revenue ? Jacking up prices the way they did was a mistake (I am not saying that they should not have restructured their pricing structure, but they did it wrong). I bet you that the majority of current paid users have joined the service before the price hike. Evernote must make itself cool and attractive again, and humbly accept that it's no longer a unicorn, but a dinosaur. 

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18 minutes ago, Wanderling Reborn said:

Venturing into business space was a mistake, and I called it out on this forum years ago. 

Completely agreed on that. You remember when Libin was talking about competing with MS Office? What a joke. EN's QA process is not in the same universe as Microsoft. Business customers could simply not abide by consistently buggy general release products. Just look at all the hours EN cost its users with v10. Do that to businesses and they are gone.

Thanks for the link, I'll give it a read.

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9 hours ago, tavor said:

EN Basic is arguably the second best note taking app in the entire space, right after EN Premium

This might depend on your definition of "note taking"

I value Evernote for it's storage/organization of notes and documents    
Since a note can be extended with file attachments, any note-taking editor can be used

Evernote's integrated note editor is useful for basic notes,   
however I don't rate it as "best"

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Regarding "Keep Basic's existing features and time limit it."

Why "time limiting"? Often beginners are threatend with such hard boundary and have the feeling that they cannot agree to start paying without having tested all the features. But there is no time to check all the stuff because playing around with such an application is not their first job...

What about "
Offer all features and transfer limit it."?

OK, most basic users do not hit transfer boundaries as long as they're reset every month. But I'm sure EN can gather statistics over longer periods to settle up reasonable limits. If a new user hat time enough to figure out the main value, he/she will honour this dispite fancy UIs and trendy approaches to All-in-One apps (that will never come 😉)

But biting around a "transfer" limit: If some suggests other nice limits (except time), this would be OK. Main thing is to convince newbies without time pressure. 

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5 hours ago, AlbertR said:

Regarding "Keep Basic's existing features and time limit it."

Why "time limiting"? Often beginners are threatend with such hard boundary and have the feeling that they cannot agree to start paying without having tested all the features. But there is no time to check all the stuff because playing around with such an application is not their first job...

What about "
Offer all features and transfer limit it."?

OK, most basic users do not hit transfer boundaries as long as they're reset every month. But I'm sure EN can gather statistics over longer periods to settle up reasonable limits. If a new user hat time enough to figure out the main value, he/she will honour this dispite fancy UIs and trendy approaches to All-in-One apps (that will never come 😉)

But biting around a "transfer" limit: If some suggests other nice limits (except time), this would be OK. Main thing is to convince newbies without time pressure. 

This is indeed the main thing. Evernote failed to convince newbies to buy a paid subscription when it was a cool, industry-defining service that everyone was talking about and with very little competition and low subscription price. Now that it’s an old dinosaur brand in a market filled with shiny new toys, with a restrictive free plan and jacked up price... this is an even tougher task than the one they couldn’t pull off years ago.

I’ve kept repeating myself for years here...

  • Jacking up prices while severely limiting the free plan turned away new potential users and greatly contributed to Evernote brand stagnation. It may have not been a mistake, but rather a deliberate last ditch attempt to buy time and temporarily increase revenue at the expense of loyal core user base, giving up on attracting new users in hope that this is all temporary and the redesign will fix everything (and the conversion rates were low anyway).
  • Venturing into business space was a mistake. Evernote had, predictably, failed to make a dent in the market. They are at their core a consumer company, not a business company. This cost them wasted effort and misdirected funding.
  • They think of themselves as a unicorn, but to the average new user they are a dinosaur. Most people coming to this market today were in elementary school when Evernote was famous. They lack things that many modern users consider basic - handwriting, for one. Full note encryption. Some modern apps lack features too - but they benefit from still being new and cool and talked about. (Notion, I am looking at you...)

If I knew how to fix it, I’d be running companies instead of managing projects. Personally, I think they are way overpriced, for starters. Just compare EN pricing and included features with most competition. But they may have put themselves in a situation where they just can’t cut prices without sinking, not unless they secure major new funding. Time will tell...

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13 hours ago, Wanderling Reborn said:

The surveys were interesting, but the insights these guys are offering are mediocre at best. This was written in 2019 and one of the authors had this gem:

Quote

“I think the low-hanging fruit is an app refresh. That's what the research shows. Evernote needs to be fresh and lively. It doesn't mean you have to add features, just brighter colors or something like that because folks think this company hasn't kept up with the times.” Hiten Shah, CEO and Founder of FYI.

They were so proud of this insight, they set it apart from the rest of the text and bolded it. Longtime users will remember that EN did this color refresh a few years ago. For the power users, which I assume has high correlation with what the surveys refer to as "daily users" (and whom the authors say EN should focus on - which I agree with), this went over like a lead balloon. Of the many dozens of highly requested features that we've been waiting years for, a different green and grey color scheme was nowhere to be found.

Other similar "insights" in this article. These guys must churn pieces like this out b/c they really didn't put much thought into it.

But surveys are interesting and do highlight the challenge EN faces. For a daily user like me, it's easy to forget that daily users are actually a small minority. Makes me think that either the other 80% of users needs a different product, or the 20% of daily users need a different product. Because there's no way both camps are optimized by the same product.

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36 minutes ago, tavor said:

The surveys were interesting, but the insights these guys are offering are mediocre at best. This was written in 2019 and one of the authors had this gem:

They were so proud of this insight, they set it apart from the rest of the text and bolded it. Longtime users will remember that EN did this color refresh a few years ago. For the power users, which I assume has high correlation with what the surveys refer to as "daily users" (and whom the authors say EN should focus on - which I agree with), this went over like a lead balloon. Of the many dozens of highly requested features that we've been waiting years for, a different green and grey color scheme was nowhere to be found.

Other similar "insights" in this article. These guys must churn pieces like this out b/c they really didn't put much thought into it.

But surveys are interesting and do highlight the challenge EN faces. For a daily user like me, it's easy to forget that daily users are actually a small minority. Makes me think that either the other 80% of users needs a different product, or the 20% of daily users need a different product. Because there's no way both camps are optimized by the same product.

I actually read his statement as saying that Evernote needs to visually rebrand itself to appeal to broad new audience. A fresh new look. Which is probably true. Just changing colors would not do it. Pretty much everyone even remotely interested had already tried the service and most moved on. To make them interested again, something needs to change. But it was the data in that article that I mainly pointed to.

However, this would not fix the pricing predicament that they put themselves in.  They are charging premium prices compared to the rest of competitors, yet they are not seen as a premium product, or even a top suggested product. On the other hand, they have a fairly sizable core group of dedicated legacy users who are now, I suspect, the main revenue source. They can’t attract new users without reimagining the service and dropping prices, and they can’t drastically revamp the service and drop prices without both pissing off the core users and losing revenue. I think you are right, it’s almost like they need to split into two separate products.

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4 hours ago, Wanderling Reborn said:

However, this would not fix the pricing predicament that they put themselves in.  They are charging premium prices compared to the rest of competitors, yet they are not seen as a premium product, or even a top suggested product. On the other hand, they have a fairly sizable core group of dedicated legacy users who are now, I suspect, the main revenue source. They can’t attract new users without reimagining the service and dropping prices, and they can’t drastically revamp the service and drop prices without both pissing off the core users and losing revenue. I think you are right, it’s almost like they need to split into two separate products.

Right, the bulk of the revenues likely comes from the ~20% of users who are daily users. The group they have ignored for years. So many highly requested features have languished in limbo, some for 8, 9, 10 years - some are almost as old as Evernote itself. It was one thing to ignore these users' requests back in the first 5-7 years of EN's existence, as there was little in the way of serious competition. Back then when people were contemplating leaving, there was OneNote (with all the drawbacks it had back then) and DevonThink for those content to stay in Apple's walled garden, and that was about it.

Different game today with so many competitors. They cannot afford to continue to ignore their daily users, at least not while they are charging one of the highest prices in the note app market. Now that the product is Electron-ized, we'll see where they focus their attention - is it to build deeper interactions with their daily users, or try to grow the userbase by bringing in people who've tried the product and left or people new to note apps. Or as our last couple of posts have suggested - maybe split their offerings - a more feature-rich but more complex app for daily users, and a lighter, simpler product for casual note takers - i.e., the 80% who aren't daily users.

A point on daily users - there are many daily users who aren't on Premium; I'd guess the majority of daily users are on Basic. I think EN can convert a good chunk of these people with (1) a renewed focus on building useful features, and unlike the article's notion, EN knows exactly where to start - the miles long list of highly requested features, and (2) a paid Basic or Plus (whatever you want to call it, but I'm thinking something like Basic Legacy with no device limits and maybe 1 or 2 other features) for ~$25/year.

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15 minutes ago, tavor said:

Right, the bulk of the revenues likely comes from the ~20% of users who are daily users. The group they have ignored for years. So many highly requested features have languished in limbo, some for 8, 9, 10 years - some are almost as old as Evernote itself. It was one thing to ignore these users' requests back in the first 5-7 years of EN's existence, as there was little in the way of serious competition. Back then when people were contemplating leaving, there was OneNote (with all the drawbacks it had back then) and DevonThink for those content to stay in Apple's walled garden, and that was about it.

Different game today with so many competitors. They cannot afford to continue to ignore their daily users, at least not while they are charging one of the highest prices in the note app market. Now that the product is Electron-ized, we'll see where they focus their attention - is it to build deeper interactions with their daily users, or try to grow the userbase by bringing in people who've tried the product and left or people new to note apps. Or as our last couple of posts have suggested - maybe split their offerings - a more feature-rich but more complex app for daily users, and a lighter, simpler product for casual note takers - i.e., the 80% who aren't daily users.

A point on daily users - there are many daily users who aren't on Premium; I'd guess the majority of daily users are on Basic. I think EN can convert a good chunk of these people with (1) a renewed focus on building useful features, and unlike the article's notion, EN knows exactly where to start - the miles long list of highly requested features, and (2) a paid Basic or Plus (whatever you want to call it, but I'm thinking something like Basic Legacy with no device limits and maybe 1 or 2 other features) for ~$25/year.

The problem is the current pricing. It pretty much holds them hostage and severely limits what they can do as a company.

When you look at the prices that their competition charges, the current Premium plan is too high. Long term users will pay it to keep thousands of notes and workflow they came to depend on over the years, but most people who are not already deeply invested into the service will just shrug and move on. To attract new users, they must make a compelling value proposition - but this is a Catch-22. If it’s too attractive, the current paying users may switch over to the new cheaper plan, and they lose the revenue they came to depend on, with no guarantees of more paying customers. If it’s not attractive enough, they’re back to square one, with slow attrition of old paid customers and no new ones. I don’t have a solution for this.

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