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Of Interest: Evernote in the NY Times

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Thanks for sharing, it was an interesting perspective
More informative than the usual crash and burn articles

I seems CEO Ian Small has a level headed view of Evernote's state
I like the humour with the socks, and business instead of a movement

A little concerned about the "It expects to reach positive cash flow this year"
O'Neill said Evernote had a positive cash flow

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Right of passage to adulthood, a good thing!

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Hmmn.  Thought I had a free account,  but I "have exceeded my free article limit".  Apparently.

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Get yourself a second web identity and another browser.

It has the advantage that at breakfast you can talk to yourself, one split personality to the other 👨‍🌾👨‍🎨

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On 6/28/2019 at 9:57 AM, PinkElephant said:

Seems they are set to get the company back on track.

The question is, what is "the track"

Personally, I use the editor for basic notes, and need Evernote to process my data (sync, organize, ...)
I use a Mac and iPad, web as fallback; and Mac Applescript for automation

Other users have different ideas on what "the track" should be

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10 minutes ago, DTLow said:

The question is, what is "the track"

Personally, I use the editor for basic notes, and need Evernote to process my data (sync, organize, ...)
I use a Mac and iPad, web as fallback; and Mac Applescript for automation

Other users have different ideas on what "the track" should be

I'd settle for all the functions that we have now being made to work reliably on all platforms (including Web).  Sync could be faster,  and note links vastly improved, but reliability is the key...

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25 minutes ago, gazumped said:

work reliably on all platforms

You're getting the Linux people excited

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Ah.  Not my intention - I meant all current platforms.  Adding a new (to Evernote) OS would be what we UK techs call "opening a whole new can of worms".  (I typed this on my Linux lappy though.)

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33 minutes ago, DTLow said:

You're getting the Linux people excited

That's already happened ...

 

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Woooo... 😍  I'm definitely excited!  (Hadn't seen that post...)

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Further note: a slightly longer article appeared on the front page of the Business section of the dead tree edition of the Sunday NY Times, if you're into that sort of thing (it's a Sunday morning thing for us)

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The gist of the article: in 2019, at the peak of the longest and most spectacular market bull run in history, while other, younger former startups are going through multi billion dollar IPOs, Evernote is cautiously confident it can, finally, stop bleeding cash and may, finally turn a small profit the first time in a decade. Hopefully. Their “pivot to business” has not worked out (I said so when it was announced, having spent over two decades somewhat involved with software and services procurement).

In the meantime, they are hoping to start fixing years old bugs,  and are kicking around the idea of hiring high morale, low pay loyal users instead of low morale, expensive industry professionals. And seem to be very proud of the fact that they are not dead yet, unlike some other startups.

The big looming question is, what happens when the bull market inevitably - and fairly soon - turns into a bear, and people and businesses start rethinking their spending. 

What they need is yet another pivot - towards consumer. A new, saner pricing strategy, directed at individuals and mom and pop shops. Something to elevate them from the free or value priced competition, that they could sell to the new users. Get away from the startup / IPO mentality, that ship had sailed, hit the iceberg, and sunk years ago. Become a boring business that makes money by selling services to consumers.

Or, just keep cutting costs, raising prices on captive loyal users, and hoping for the best.

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5 hours ago, Wanderling Reborn said:

What they need is yet another pivot - towards consumer. ... makes money by selling services to consumers.

Do you see a problem that the majority of consumers are unwilling to pay for this service
Where's the money coming from to pay the bills?

>>solve this problem by making the service appealing to enough people to make it profitable

You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig (this type of service)

>>captive loyal users

Where does the "captive" part come from?
Evernote has always made it easy to export our data and leave

>>And yet, here you are.

Yes, I'm here by choice, with over 13,000 notes and 12GB of data

I have the computer skills to transfer my data to any service I choose.  My weekly backups include a full html data export; a 25 minute process

>>because they can't stand the alternative

That's better.  Of all the alternatives, imho Evernote is the best solution.

>>But I'd be very open to going back to Evernote if ...

If Evernote had a $ for every consumer that said if....  😋

>>I was sure that they are not going anywhere anytime soon.

No guarantees but no one is going anywhere soon.  

Also, the Evernote app is installed on my devices and I have a full copy of my data.

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42 minutes ago, DTLow said:

Do you see a problem with the majority of consumers unwilling to pay for this service

Of course. This is the problem. And they have to solve this problem by making the service appealing to enough people to make it profitable. Because as difficult as it is, this would be a far easier task than trying to sell to businesses. As they have found out already.


>>Where's the money coming from to pay the bills?

Well, we know it's not coming from business accounts, because they didn't materialize.

They are not coming from new users because there doesn't seem to be enough of them.

My guess is, it's coming in part from venture capitalists who are already so deep into this company they may as well keep it afloat for a while longer, and the existing users, who are already so deep into this... you get the idea.

>>captive loyal users

>>Where does the "captive" part come from.
>>Evernote has always made it easy to export our data and leave

And yet, here you are.

Reading through the forums, it's clear that many people here are old time users so deeply entrenched into Evernote's way of doing things and so very invested into the service, they would tolerate yet another price hike because they can't stand the alternative. Seems fairly captive to me. OK, how about "deeply entrenched and dependent ?"

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Just to add.. I've been bouncing between Evernote and Onenote for years.

I went with Evernote first, because Onenote didn't have a decent mobile client.

I could never quite get used to Evernote's structure and lack of total note encryption, so I moved all of my notes to Onenote. My wife stayed with EN because she doesn't want to keep changing things that work for her (I am still the one doing most of the work ;)

I still use Onenote for work, I really like the structured way it works - makes it great for organizing project information and having it all there arranged in a visually logical way. And the degree of integration with MS Suite is just unbeatable. E.g. I can open my meeting scheduled in Outlook, create a linked Onenote note right from within it, and as I take meeting minutes,  I can turn lines of text into Outlook tasks with a single click, and when the meeting is over, all of the action items have already been turned into Outlook tasks and assigned to people via Exchange and linked back to the note.

However, I am hesitant to keep my personal data in Onenote, because of their strategy of moving everything to the cloud and not providing an easy way of exporting notes while preserving file attachments, which I use very extensively. There are some 3rd party tools, but I don't know if they will even work 2-4 years down the road. So, all of my personal stuff is going into file folders as PDFs or Excel spreadsheets or Word docs, synced to Onedrive (which provides the same OCR functionality for text in PDFs and pictures as Onenote and paid Evernote), and can be moved to another service in half an hour. I would far rather keep it in iCloud, as I don't like MS' datamining my information, but iCloud is still  a rather clunky service and very limited on Windows. (All of the really sensitive stuff is fully encrypted anyway).

My only issue with this is that there really isn't an easy, common, and future proof way to combine text and attachments into one single note on that would work cross platform between Apple and Windows. I really like having my notes and my attachments together. There's a number of proprietary tools, and some allow easily exporting data in common formats. The tool I currently use is iThoughts mindmapper. But I'd be very open to going back to Evernote if (1) they came up with a better pricing strategy,  and (2) they provided full note encryption, or better else full notebook encryption, and (3) I was sure that they are not going anywhere anytime soon.

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10 minutes ago, Wanderling Reborn said:

Well, we know ...

They are not coming from new users because there doesn't seem to be enough of them...

My guess is

I think you had those statements in the wrong order.  Evernote plays its finance cards close to its chest - though the new CEO (as you might expect) has confirmed they're profitable.

I'm confused as to where this discussion is going though - are we saying Evernote needs to get their technical act together to survive? That they should give away the premium level of service for free?  That the sky is falling and we should all use other software before Evernote implodes? (which by the way is the very definition of 'self-fulfilling prophecy')

Given that their user base is larger than some small countries - Japan for instance - even if only a small percentage of users are actually paying for the service,  it's not beyond the bounds of possibility that there's a solid income stream.

Evernote already have the 'fixing their act' thing under review.

And I don't see myself as invested,  entrenched or dependent - I'm working in ways that make sense to me.  Evernote suits my purpose and if it ever stops doing so - or disappears for any reason - I'll sadly but gladly swap to another provider.  Yes the fact I have 46.5k notes in the account means it would be a pain in the mooncalf to change,  but if I have to move I will. 

IF I see another reliable and professional service with features that are better,  I'd also move - but common sense says I'd need to be very convinced before entering another learning curve and committing to the unknown.  "Better the devil you know" is an aphorism for a reason...

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2 hours ago, gazumped said:

I think you had those statements in the wrong order.  Evernote plays its finance cards close to its chest - though the new CEO (as you might expect) has confirmed they're profitable.

Is that what you read from the article ? Because what I read was that their CEO Du Jour (#3 in almost as many years) confirmed that (a) Evernote still has not been profitable so far despite drastically raising prices 3 years ago, and (b) their grand plan to succeed by becoming a business service provider did not work out and is being essentially shelved, along with the fancy socks that the article writer was so obsessed with. He thinks they finally may become profitable (i.e. not lose money) this year, but we've heard this before.

2 hours ago, gazumped said:

I'm confused as to where this discussion is going though - are we saying Evernote needs to get their technical act together to survive? That they should give away the premium level of service for free?  That the sky is falling and we should all use other software before Evernote implodes? (which by the way is the very definition of 'self-fulfilling prophecy')  

I am discussing the article and what it actually says.

No, they don't have to give away the premium service for free, but it seems pretty clear to me that they are not being successful with their current pricing and that they need to define a different business strategy now.

2 hours ago, gazumped said:

Given that their user base is larger than some small countries - Japan for instance - even if only a small percentage of users are actually paying for the service,  it's not beyond the bounds of possibility that there's a solid income stream.

It's not beyond the bounds of possibility that I will win the lottery this year, either.

But the article clearly states that they were still not profitable as of its writing, but "expect" to not be in red by the end of 2019. I believe I read something very similar in 2015 when O'Neil took over. The number of downloads isn't relevant, pretty much every app with some name recognition gets downloaded by almost everyone, they create a free account, and then never use it. I myself must've created at least 4-5 free accounts over the years because I kept forgetting my login or wanted to start from scratch.

What matters is the number of paying users. And it's clearly hasn't been enough to make profit even year after year, let alone a nice return on investment.

2 hours ago, gazumped said:

Evernote already have the 'fixing their act' thing under review.

That's good to know... even though we've been through this more than once before.  Let's hope this time it's going to be different. As opposed to all the previous times they "had it under review" in the past few years. Like a ship with torn sails, no compass, and too many captains.

I personally believe that they should drop the prices and rehash the paid service plans to make the service attractive enough for the new users to actually pay for it; perhaps get rid of unlimited storage with limited upload, and instead introduce something like 10GB - 100GB - 1TB tiers, more in line with what everyone else is doing; and try to get as many paid users on their lower tier plans as possible to increase the appeal of the service while still having money flowing in, as opposed to concentrating on pushing the expensive top tier that most people don't need and don't want. And add full encryption, because in 2019 it's a necessity.

 

 

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Here's another great read.

2016

https://www.theverge.com/2016/5/4/11584764/evernote-ceo-chris-oneill-interview

"Evernote's new CEO on the company's critics: 'I love to be underestimated'"

" What people don’t understand about the company is that we’re in a very solid financial position. We’re on the path to sustainability. We don’t have to raise more money. We had a cash-flow positive month in March. "

Sounds familiar ?

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Weird discussion !

I am not thinking about all this stuff, because it is the Job of EN management to keep or make the company and it’s service sustainable. It is not my job.

I have a piece of SW that allows me to take my data and run, whenever I like. This may be when I find a better service, or when the service of my current choice (EN) would go belly up. I do not expect this, but if the black swan swims by, I am prepared.

Only EN management knows what their cost drivers are: Upload or keeping data, numbers of users or numbers of data retrievals etc. No company can exist when their cost drivers are not reflected by their way of doing business, esp. their pricing model.

I am using other services where I pay for the share of server space I want to have reserved for me. EN is taxing me on the monthly upload, and the service level I want to get. If I look for the actual usage of whatever I use, I think that EN is getting a better cut than others with their service price oriented model compare to those who charge you for the space on the server you want to use. But this is this in my case, with my use of data and cloud space.

As I say, I am not interested in how and what EN has to do or does to run their business. I am interested in how I can use what I have more clever and better to meet my use case. And that is it, let it be written in the NYT what they want to write.

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So, you have no problem if the service suddenly folds tomorrow, and are not interested in discussing its history and future.

That's great, but I don't see how it's "weird" to discuss these things for those of us who do care.

I've been through more than one case of a service I've been relying on either dying suddenly (Springpad, anyone ?) or getting bought out and getting changed so drastically it was no longer useful to me. Even if I have a way to transfer all of my data, it's still a major disruption.

In case of Evernote, I don't really have that much invested into it anymore, outside of maintaining my wife's notebooks, but I still care about it and would like it to become attractive to me again.

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4 hours ago, Wanderling Reborn said:

So, you have no problem if the service suddenly folds tomorrow, and are not interested in discussing its history and future.

As per @pinkelephant, I am a user of the Evernote service
My investment is knowing what the service provides, and how to best use it.
This is what I'm interested in discussing.

If Evernote suddenly goes dark tomorrow I will carry on with the app and my full data copy.  
This may be a temporary internet blip, or a permanent shutdown.

I'll have lots of time to decide how I want to proceed.
There are many alternatives.

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As with @PinkElephant and @DTLow - don't care what philosophy Evernote embraces,  I only care that it currently helps me complete my tasks. 

If it ceases to exist or stops doing that - I'll move.  Unless and until that happens I'd rather concentrate on getting my stuff done.

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