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Analyst444

Proposed Software/App Category for Evernote

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I am a devout and devoted EN user. I have recommended it to many people.

 

I frequently pick up on articles/comments on EN made on the web from a variety of sources. It is pretty typical that EN is called a "Note-Taking" app. I think EN is much more than that.

 

I'd like to see a better software/app category that gives an indication of the broader functionality of EN. I can't think of one that exists. I couldn't quickly come across anything at the EN web site.

 

I dreamed one up: "Information Capture and Retrieval System" (ICARS). I don't like it because it would give some/most people who are unfamiliar with EN the impression that EN does something related to cars.

 

So, I ask all you people in this forum who are more creative and/or brighter than me, can you suggest a good category name for EN?

 

It would be nice if the EN marketing people spent some time on this, too.

 

By the way, if someone comes up with a good category name, I think it would be helpful if it had a good mnemonic, too.

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Evernote can do so many things that I think most people's imagination tends to boggle.  The 'note taking' label probably results either from a lack of inspiration on the part of the writer providing it,  or from a feeling that listing everything to too darn difficult and its better to get people using it for notes,  and then for them to discover its other uses by themselves...

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I don't see a need for a label. Some call it a note taking app (I don't). I tend to think of it as an organizational tool. But the bottom line (IMO) is that it's generic enough that it can fill a lot of needs & so trying to attach a label to it can be misleading. Case in point, those who call it a note taking app are often complaining that it is missing many features that word processors have or that it's buggy compared to a word processor. Some complain that as a "remember everything" tool, it should have better list functionality.

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I see it as a datas framework, or notes framework.

 

Its like a framework (don't know if this word have a sens outside the coding topics) because it provides structural elements (to store datas) and methods  but you have  to design more or less complex system to make it fit your needs.

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Trying to classify EN made me  think back to the early '90's (yes, I'm showing my age) when I lived and breathed what was, IMO, the greatest program ever created, Lotus Agenda.  What was it?  A free form database program that you could make do anything.  Way, way ahead of its time.  The things you could do with it as an organizational tool were incredible.  I still miss it.

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Yup - former Agenda user here too.  I recall the motivation for Agenda was said to be "I had all these bits of paper on my desk with telephone messages,  notes and reminders - and I had this PC sitting there...  I thought there must be some way to put all these notes on the PC..."

 

Sounds strangely like an advert for Evernote now!

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Being a complete newby on this Forum, I don't know if this is frowned upon.  But here is the description of Lotus Agenda from Wikipedia:

 

 

Agenda is a DOS-based personal information manager, designed by Mitch Kapor, Ed Belove and Jerry Kaplan, and marketed by Lotus Software.

Lotus Agenda is a "free-form" information manager: the information need not be structured at all before it is entered into the database. A phrase such as "See Wendy on Tuesday 3pm" can be entered as is without any pre-processing.

Its distinguishing feature was the ability to allow users to input data before the creation of database tables, giving the program flexibility to accommodate the myriad pieces of information a person may need to keep track of.

The program was an attempt to create a "spreadsheet" for words. The computing industry was at first quite taken by its audacious goal and the power it brought to users as they were given a tool that allowed them to structure "real life" information in any way they wished.

Its flexibility proved to be its Achilles heel. New users confronted with so much flexibility were often overpowered by the steep learning curve required to use the program. Attempts to overcome this through packaging pre-built databases with the program were insufficient to lift sales to adequate levels. In the end only several hundred thousand copies were sold.

The program reached version 2.0b. Instead of porting Agenda to Windows, Lotus stopped development on this program and introduced a new PIM, Lotus Organizer, that uses the paper-based organizer metaphor, in its place.

 

Oh, the POWER  that you had! THE POWER!!!  :)

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My 2 cents:

 

I agree that an additional category or "tag" could be applied to Evernote in it's marketing.  Rampager took the words right out of my mouth. I think of it as an Information Manager, Project Manager, Writing Tool, database and more. 

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...and if anyone's in the market for some background reading on Agenda I have Ian Sinclair's excellent book in storage - and its whereabouts are documented (of course) in Evernote...  :D

 

post-63053-0-67963900-1401753399_thumb.j

 

Oops, sorry - forgot this one too:

 

post-63053-0-18380200-1401755174_thumb.j

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I once opened a ticket suggesting a category/name change to "information management hub". They thanked me politely & said it would be discussed, though the guy who dealt with it probably pressed the delete button immediately.

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What's in a name? ...

Juliet:

O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?
Deny thy father and refuse thy name;
Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love,
And I'll no longer be a Capulet.

Romeo:

[Aside] Shall I hear more, or shall I speak at this?

Juliet:

'Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
What's Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call'd,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,
And for that name which is no part of thee
Take all myself.

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I will agree with Shakespeare that a name does not change the true nature of an object. However, while not a marketing person, I believe that 21st century marketing people think a product's name, mnemonic, slogan (Coka Cola: "The pause that refreshes.") is extremely important in order to get potential customers to try out the product in order to discover its true nature.

 

But alas, I give up. I appear to be the only one who thinks the topic I raised is important.

 

I did learn something from posting this topic. - - - It's about impossible to keep people on task. (Herding cats? ADD?)

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A name for a product that is promoted to the world is extremely important. Quoting Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet in this context shows ignorance as name in this context means brand. Romeo was not a brand to Juliet. Sothe topic raised by Analyst 444 is important indeed as the "note-taking" app for Evernote is denigrating. But it is up to Evernote themselves to determine the importance to them & decide on a course of action .... or not.

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A name for a product that is promoted to the world is extremely important. Quoting Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet in this context shows ignorance as name in this context means brand. Romeo was not a brand to Juliet.

Oh, yawn. Stretch a little; the quote just goes to illustrate that simple names do not necessarily go to the heart of what the thing (or person) named actually is. Evernote already has a name -- "Evernote" -- and a product that resists simple branding -- it has many varied uses. It's the blind men and the elephant (!) story: different things to different people. Would people stop calling it a "note-taking app" if it were branded differently? I doubt it -- it's not really branded as that anyways currently. Here's what the front page says:

Remember Everything

Evernote apps and products make modern life manageable, by letting you easily collect and find everything that matters.

Why would anyone need to stick some kind of marketing label on that? On the other hand, what harm does it do that despite this, some people call it a "note-taking app"; well it has that function, and some people may just use it for that. You can't manage other people's expectations; well you can try. To extend Analyst444's example, I don't drink a Coke on a hot day because of its several slogans (e.g. "Coke is it") or because its name refers to coca leaves; I drink it because it's cold, has a flavor I like, and contains caffeine.

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I will agree with Shakespeare that a name does not change the true nature of an object. However, while not a marketing person, I believe that 21st century marketing people think a product's name, mnemonic, slogan (Coka Cola: "The pause that refreshes.") is extremely important in order to get potential customers to try out the product in order to discover its true nature.

 

But alas, I give up. I appear to be the only one who thinks the topic I raised is important.

 

I did learn something from posting this topic. - - - It's about impossible to keep people on task. (Herding cats? ADD?)

 

My bad, apparently, in bringing up Lotus Agenda.  But I brought it up because, somewhat like EN, it defied categorization or labelling.  Agenda ended up being considered a PIM, which was a basic strength, but it was so, so much more than that if you were willing to spend the time to learn of its abilities.

 

But, anyway, I don't like ICARS because, if that's all you do with EN, you aren't utilizing its potential.  But, beyond Information Management Program, I don't really know what to call it.

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My bad, apparently, in bringing up Lotus Agenda.  But I brought it up because, somewhat like EN, it defied categorization or labelling.  Agenda ended up being considered a PIM, which was a basic strength, but it was so, so much more than that if you were willing to spend the time to learn of its abilities.

The history of Lotus Agenda (and Mitch Kapor) is interesting. It's curious that nothing else has sprung up to take its place in the modern UIs of the day. Mitch Kapor did try to revive it in the form of the Chandler project, but he's out of that now, and Chandler seems to be kind of an afterthought nowadays. There was a book written about that, Dreaming In Code, that I read at the time.

 

But, anyway, I don't like ICARS because, if that's all you do with EN, you aren't utilizing its potential.  But, beyond Information Management Program, I don't really know what to call it.

That's kind of the beauty of the thing; with any sufficiently rich software environment, most people are probably going to only use a percentage of the full functionality. Which is fine: if that subset meets their needs; why do more than you need to do?

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My bad, apparently, in bringing up Lotus Agenda.  But I brought it up because, somewhat like EN, it defied categorization or labelling.  Agenda ended up being considered a PIM, which was a basic strength, but it was so, so much more than that if you were willing to spend the time to learn of its abilities.

The history of Lotus Agenda (and Mitch Kapor) is interesting. It's curious that nothing else has sprung up to take its place in the modern UIs of the day. Mitch Kapor did try to revive it in the form of the Chandler project, but he's out of that now, and Chandler seems to be kind of an afterthought nowadays. There was a book written about that, Dreaming In Code, that I read at the time.

 

But, anyway, I don't like ICARS because, if that's all you do with EN, you aren't utilizing its potential.  But, beyond Information Management Program, I don't really know what to call it.

That's kind of the beauty of the thing; with any sufficiently rich software environment, most people are probably going to only use a percentage of the full functionality. Which is fine: if that subset meets their needs; why do more than you need to do?

 

You are correct in that most people are going to only us a percentage of its full functionality.  Back in the day, there was a large number of Agenda devotees who very actively participated in the Agenda forum on Compuserve.  One was Jim Fallows, a senior editor at the Atlantic Monthly.  He wrote an article promoting Agenda back then, wherein he noted:  "Now I face the problem that has apparently buffaloed Lotus's advertising staff: describing just what Agenda does. The possibilities are easy to demonstrate on a computer screen but a little trickier to explain." 

 

http://www.bobnewell.net/agenda/atlantic.txt.html

 

Thus, Agenda had the same problem as that suggested by Analyst444 in the OP, to wit:  how do you describe or label it without without limiting it?

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I think you are right that "note taking app" doesn't do Evernote justice. I call it many things, including:

  • My personal knowledge database
  • My auxiliary brain

I know when I first looked at it, I really missed the total power of it until I totally switched to using it. Even then it took me nearly 6 months to grasp the power and I am still finding new ways to use it.

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Evernote is an "Information Manager".   It does more,  but an IM is basically what it is.  It's more broad than "PIM - Personal Information Manager" because info can be readily shared across networks.   To whoever thought it is unnecessary to have a category - I could not disagree more strongly.   Not being able to formally categorize something does not make it more useful - it makes it impossible for tech editors (like myself) to publish articles about it or promote it properly.   I don't think we need to create a category (although i do like the ICARS idea - cool - but  I don't think it has any real legs...) EN doesn't really quite rise to being a 'framework' either when you compare it to something like Filemaker or Canvas.  Sure you can arrange your info to serve as a quasi CRM and the like, but you're really just finding different ways to view the information dumped in - vs. being able to act on the data.   That said, it certainly is a versatile tool.   But "Information Manager" covers the category. 

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