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(Archived) My (likely not popular) suggestion: Evernote! Please stick to basics!

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I saw this morning that Evernote has released two new apps for the iPad. One is intended to aid in remembering and sharing dining experiences, and the other is intended to aid in the remembering of people's faces. Yes, these may be nice and even creative elements in the Evernote repertoire. But has Evernote pursued these at the expense of refinements to the editor suggested in the many fine threads in this forum? I would rather see Evernote remain a thick, strong, beefy, robust product than a thin, fishy, wiry product. Don't become the Google of notes. Remember your roots! Just my 2 cents.

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It comes down to a business decision. What will generate more business?

1.) 3rd and 4th generation refinements in "bullet points" and "table editing"


2.) Cutting edge technology that will generate free world-wide publicity from tech writers and editors.



Face recognition


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I can understand your feelings...

I do somewhat see the point of these apps though...

The way I understand these apps that evernote is as demonstrations of what can be done with the ever note API functions and are made (aside from the obvious user increase) to showcase evernote and what can be done with it, as well as generate more app ideas from other EN users/devs.

My view anyway...

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Evernote is not just building a set of Evernote clients, it's also building an infrastructure where other developers can build products based on Evernote services. This is an important endeavor, because the more third-party developers that use Evernote services to build products that solve problems that are outside of the main Evernote focus, which gives them better visibility, and entrenches them in the larger software ecosystem. To that end, they're evidently devoting some internal resources towards creating their own applications (or contracting them out), which hopefully helps in dog-fooding their developer services. What amount of resources they're so devoting is unknown to me, but it's probably good to point out that while fixing the basics is really, really important (the editing problem is probably the most pressing), the fact is that not all developers are equal, it's difficult to a large number of them all of them on a single problem that's probably fairly localized (you're probably up against the mythical man-month there, too), and that Evernote, like many businesses, is a balancing act, and you can't go chasing one problem while leaving other endeavors hanging in the air.

That being said, I think that Evernote Hello is pretty cool idea, and that it uses Evernote as the underlying storage is great. One interesting thing that I noticed in the blog article: the Evernote Hello notes are all read-only. Exposing a read-only attribute is something that has been requested in the forums -- wonder if that's something that might pop out sometime.

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Yeah, but what next: Evernote photo notebook (a la Picasa/iPhoto/Bridge)? If it's purely about the priority of generating business, then the *sustainable* root is essential and it's where all else came (comes) from. Adventurous forays, week limbs, may generate a moment's pleasure, but the gnarly old trunk must not be forgotten. That's all I'm saying. I'll shut up for now. En boca cerrada no entran moscas.

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Additionally, it seems to me this is a way to hopefully garner new (paying) customers. Since all EN clients are free, they only make money on the premium accounts. So if they can snare a new group of users who will be using the new apps a lot, then there's a good chance a percentage of them will become paying users.

OTOH, I've watched the vids but did not download the apps. But my initial thought is that there's nothing new here. I can do all this now with my iPhone & either EN app or FastEver/FastEversnap. The new apps probably make it a bit snazzier. So maybe there's something I'm missing here, since I haven't downloaded the apps. (Nor do I plan to, at this time.)

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I'm cool with Evernote developing new stuff. If it's a place to "remember everything," then I think it is logical to incorporate contacts into it. They've really dropped the ball with iOS (sorry developers, but I think you'd agree), but they are working on picking it back up (lots of effort over the last few weeks, in particular), and I don't expect them to drop everything for it. If they just get it right on the next build, we'll be back on track.

On a personal note, I don't see myself ever using Hello (sorry developers). Do they seriously think I am going to meet someone, hand them my iPod (for example), ask them to enter their own info, and then take a picture of themselves? Haven't you read the studies about fecal matter on keyboards, and haven't you noticed how many guys don't wash their hands after doing their business!!??

LOL. At the next conference I go to it would be hilarious to see everyone standing around taking pictures of themselves with other people's gadgets. Of course, I ridiculed the iPad when it came out, and here I am as a vocal advocate now, so I guess you never know.

But, wouldn't it be much more intelligent to have our picture and info in one place so that we don't have to take a picture of ourselves for people every time we meet them? Yes, Facebook has this, but then you gotta mess around with that annoying service (sorry Facebook fans).

If Evernote wants in on this contact market, let us create a "public profile note" and a "private profile note" we could share with business/personal contacts. I share it with you, then yours is shared with me automatically (assuming you have the settings like that), and the contacts (with their pictures, cvs, and other stuff) get added to our notes. That would be really, really cool (assuming the further spread of Evernote). I am doing all of this by hand now, but would like to automate it!

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That being said, I think that Evernote Hello is pretty cool idea, and that it uses Evernote as the underlying storage is great. One interesting thing that I noticed in the blog article: the Evernote Hello notes are all read-only. Exposing a read-only attribute is something that has been requested in the forums -- wonder if that's something that might pop out sometime.

Yeah. I noticed that as well. Although I wonder if it is actually just one way sync. e.g. Food notes have to be edited in the Food app. Changes made in Evernote don't flow back to Food.

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One comment about the general theme of this topic, expressed in the title of the topic and this request:

I would rather see Evernote remain a thick, strong, beefy, robust product than a thin, fishy, wiry product.

I don't think anyone would disagree with that opinion. Even users who request more features would certainly not like to see them if it means Evernote becomes a thin, fishy, wiry product. That sounds miserable, and really smelly.

But the idea of "sticking to basics" is not feasible as an overarching principle for Evernote development. Why? Because what would that mean? It could mean:

  1. Sticking to products/features that already exist. No new features; just make the current ones work as well as possible.
  2. Sticking to things that support the mission of "Remember everything." Anything else is superfluous.

Clearly, option 1 isn't a viable long-term strategy for the company or its users. Option 2 could be, but even that isn't without controversy, or disagreements: I don't think a majority of users could agree on which features are essential, and which are unnecessary, for remembering.

For example, I'm one user in the desperately-wanting-more-robust-word-processing-features camp. I don't see this as unnecessary or "not basic" at all, because, for me, remembering is vastly helped by the abilities to highlight, more easily create and modify lists, have better tables, remove formatting, more easily add formatting, etc. Many of my notes are things I create in Evernote with the current word-processing features. My quest to remember my notes—and more easily find and be able to understand them, thus better remembering in the future—would be helped enormously by being able to do more with the text I create in notes. For me and my needs, that's the essence of "Remember everything." That's critical.

Other users have made clear that these word-processing features would be useless to them, so they see them as "not basics," and they hope Evernote developers devote themselves to "more important" things. I use the scare quotes there not to ridicule those users, just to point out that we millions of users have (many) different priorities, and it's easy for one user or a group of users to see the features they use or want as critical, while other features are unnecessary feature bloat.

I say all this just to offer some (hopefully helpful) perspective and a reminder for why the call to "stick to basics" really can't be heeded by Evernote staff in a clear-cut and uncontroversial way. It's easy for one user to make it, envisioning his or her idea of what is basic, but it's near impossible for Evernote to identify the most basic, most critical, features. Instead, the company has to respond to general user demand (partly expressed here), working within the restrictions of its resources and capabilities. Through that, hopefully Evernote will make all existing features work well while continuing to meet constantly evolving user demand that results from new users, new technologies, and a new world.

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With all of the products, it would eventually be like google products.

I m an you might use a few and not for the rest while some may use most or all of its.

Well, consider that our primary focus is to be your external memory. Your brain has more than one input, and it has more than a few methods to organize memory. You may only use some of these methodologies when retrieving, or some of these inputs when creating. Now apply this metaphor to how we're moving with our apps--more inputs, more methodologies for creation and retrieval of your memory.

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