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State of the Product - Ian Small


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5 hours ago, Wanderling Reborn said:

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.

Current Premium users are willing to pay $8/mo over current Basic. Per my plan, EN takes current Basic and removes device limit and maybe 1 more feature (along with development focus on daily users, not on socks and mugs and bags or on new colors), then charge ~2/mo for it. They're not going to lose many Premium members to paid Basic given they're currently paying $8/mo over free current Basic.

What they stand to gain is the large number of daily users who are currently Basic users upgrading to new Basic. Per my earlier post, they can offer free trial Basic for 6mo or 1yr, and if they start the clock at the same time for existing users, they can't really cry foul because they'll have plenty of advance notice.

And for new users who are prospective daily users, 6mo or 1yr trial is long enough for them to make a decision. And it's longer than many of the competitors are offering.

For the 80% of non-daily users and prospective non-daily users, these people generally aren't paying under the existing scheme and won't pay under my proposed scheme. They need a different product - maybe multiple products, built off the same core Evernote product with extensions that support the uses of the different types of non-daily users. E.g., if someone uses EN just for recipes, rework the UI to customize the note experience into a digital recipe book experience - free trial and $6/yr after that. Similar for other categories of non-daily users.

There is no future for a be everything to everyone in one note app anymore, like there was years ago. Too much competition, and they're busy carving out sections of the note app userbase. Look at how Obsidian and Roam are picking off the research segment. Evernote could have built this in years ago, but they were so busy with growing userbase, and what did they get for it? Many millions of very low intensity note takers who are never going to pay for the app as it currently exists; again ~80% are non-daily users for a product that is designed for daily use.

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35 minutes ago, tavor said:

Current Premium users are willing to pay $8/mo over current Basic. Per my plan, EN takes current Basic and removes device limit and maybe 1 more feature (along with development focus on daily users, not on socks and mugs and bags or on new colors), then charge ~2/mo for it. They're not going to lose many Premium members to paid Basic given they're currently paying $8/mo over free current Basic.

What they stand to gain is the large number of daily users who are currently Basic users upgrading to new Basic. Per my earlier post, they can offer free trial Basic for 6mo or 1yr, and if they start the clock at the same time for existing users, they can't really cry foul because they'll have plenty of advance notice.

And for new users who are prospective daily users, 6mo or 1yr trial is long enough for them to make a decision. And it's longer than many of the competitors are offering.

For the 80% of non-daily users and prospective non-daily users, these people generally aren't paying under the existing scheme and won't pay under my proposed scheme. They need a different product - maybe multiple products, built off the same core Evernote product with extensions that support the uses of the different types of non-daily users. E.g., if someone uses EN just for recipes, rework the UI to customize the note experience into a digital recipe book experience - free trial and $6/yr after that. Similar for other categories of non-daily users.

There is no future for a be everything to everyone in one note app anymore, like there was years ago. Too much competition, and they're busy carving out sections of the note app userbase. Look at how Obsidian and Roam are picking off the research segment. Evernote could have built this in years ago, but they were so busy with growing userbase, and what did they get for it? Many millions of very low intensity note takers who are never going to pay for the app as it currently exists; again ~80% are non-daily users for a product that is designed for daily use.

These people are paying $8 over Basic because they are locked in and have no choice. 

Who do you think will pick that $2 plan ? If new users, it needs to be at the very least attractive enough to compete with gazillion of free and cheap plans offered by Notion, Onenote, Bear, SimpleNote, Keep, Apple Notes, etc. etc. etc. And this means it will look attractive enough to a large percentage of current Premium users as well.

Or, they make it restrictive, along the lines of what you proposed. Which will still not entice too many new users from outside of Evernote, maybe convert some existing Basic users, with the possibility of some Premium users still downgrading because they mainly need multi device access.

I am not going to post pros and cons and prices on this forum, this would look like promoting competing services. But I do suggest you look at pricing plans vs features of competitors. Evernote is easily the most expensive of the bunch. They are not growing - probably slowly shrinking - but they have a somewhat secure revenue source from people who are married to their service. So, do they endanger their existing captive golden egg paying user base for a pie in the sky ? That's the big question.

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  • Level 5*
10 minutes ago, Wanderling Reborn said:

they are locked in and have no choice

No one is locked in

With Evernote's export feature, it's always been easy to exit with our data   
As part of my data backups I run a full export weekly (html format)

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9 minutes ago, DTLow said:

No one is locked in

With Evernote's export feature, it's easy to exit with our data

I wasn't talking about data. The data may not be locked in, but devoted users are. They won't find another Evernote to switch to. They have years of habits, established workflow, and it will be irreplaceable. Their devotion is not boundless, of course, but strong enough that they will continue paying for years to come. So if $8 per month is the only rate, they will pay $8. I bet the majority of these users would pay $15.

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I've added about 2.5k notes over the years. A lot of this was early on when I collected things from various other sources. In contrast, I've managed only 89 notes (so far) in 2020. As much as there is to love about Evernote, my needs simply do not justify $1 per note.

This change has prompted me to actively look to move everything elsewhere.

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I was one of these faithful, almost religious, EN users and this mess has made me move on to devonthink - something I never would have thought possible just a few months ago. forcing the barebones V10 on unsuspecting users seems (judging from the forums here) to have triggered quite a significant number of folks to move elsewhere and cancel their premium subscriptions. Ian's blog post can be read as an attempt to stem that tide. what that could mean is that things have started to move / slide and that EN has created the unenviable position of no longer being in charge of the process, but needing to deal with a small/mid sized/large avalanche of revenue loss.

the very interesting and thoughtful discussion between @Wanderling Reborn and @tavor does seem to assume though that EN is still fully in charge of the process, which I increasingly doubt. let's say EN is in the process of losing up to 10% of their revenue base (which obviously is a truly wild guess), what are their options then? gaining new revenue quickly is tough as outlined here yet any downsizing will obviously further limit their ability to (re)act. also (again judging from the forums) they have lost even more evangelists than paying customers, which is not helping the upselling process either. worst case this turns into a vicious cycle. a truly tough spot yet on some many levels self inflicted...

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12 hours ago, Wanderling Reborn said:

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.

The catch-22 may be solved by introducing a (one time) opportunity for premium users  that they can spread their 8$ over two users. If this doesn't work, there is nothing lost, but if it does, then EN can proceed dropping  the price to the more realistic price of 4$ for everyone. 

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Fundamentally, I think the basic plan is to over featured to be offered for free.  The jump to the premium plan doesn’t provide enough added value for many to justify the large jump in price.  They tried inserting a plan in the middle which was later dropped, so that didn’t work.

 Personally, I think they should end the free plan and start charging a low, ~$10/annual fee for basic.  If people are unwilling to spend $10 a year on what basic provides, they, IMO, will never make the leap over to premium.

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My opinion: Who is using the app natively should have a test window (time or volume driven), and then need to decide to continue and pay, or see the account frozen with the existing content. This could be used as well for all existing accounts, by starting the initial run for all, and setting the account to passive use (view & download only) with all content after that. Probably there is a reasonable entry pricing for full access at about the old Plus-plan, and maybe a student discount.

Those who only work inside of a share opened by a paying (maybe only Premium/Business) user should be able to do so without limits. This would strengthen the use of EN as a collaborative tool, and at the same time restrict the full use to paying users. The Premium account level would be positioned as the user level necessary to be a „master sharer“.

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Yeah, I'm driving a business account also and like the possibilities to admin users, books and spaces on a move advanced level (*). I'd like to have family account (means "small business") to offer kids (students and younger adults 😉) full EN possibilities for a price far below professionals until they will get professionals and able to pay theirself.

(*) Business accounts lack the possibilty to stack tags - but this another discussion 😞

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On 12/22/2020 at 6:41 PM, Droolling said:

 

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!

Just wanted to quote this for emphasis. I'm a frequent OneNote user for various things but the disparity is worse than EN's was. Add in the fact that many people are forced into dual OneNote accounts (business plus personal account) and then also Microsoft's abhorrence of VPNs and some networks, and my OneNote sync breaks catastrophically (with note or even whole notebook loss) roughly once a year. 

I use it for disposable quick notes. I can't trust it to be a digital filing cabinet like Evernote.

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