Jump to content
jbenson2

Evernote Marketing - anyone home?

Recommended Posts

ChrisO'Neil became the new Evernote CEO almost 9 months ago. Other than a short memo, I have not seen much (any) solid information on the status of the program.

O'Neil's final sentence in his introductory memo said: " I look forward to sharing more specific details with you in the months ahead. In the meantime, please send your thoughts to me directly at ceochris@evernote.com."

I know the rumor is a large re-write of the program is coming sometime. But I'd like to see some sort of activity (actual communication) from the marketing group in this forum. All I see in the media about Evernote are the stories about the terminations and multiple senior management departures from the company.

 

Share this post


Link to post

Do you have any links to rumors or speculations? I'll swallow them all hook, line and sinker if I can just read them or get in on them :-)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

I heard that there's a linux client with full encryption, list sorting, themes and markdown just around the corner. All new versions come with a free pair of evernote socks too.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
2 hours ago, Frank.dg said:

Do you have any links to rumors or speculations? I'll swallow them all hook, line and sinker if I can just read them or get in on them :-)

I did some digging and found this post which mentions the 2+ year long project.

https://blog.evernote.com/blog/2015/09/22/the-future-of-writing-in-evernote/

The first few comments add to my original comment. for example:

Kruno —
Just our of random curiosity, what would be the benefit of keeping this a secret from millions of users who are asking for any, I repeat any kind of information about this for the last several years? If you were working on it, even if it takes you two years to do it, don’t you think saying something to the users would make sense? Just curious, you know?

 

I also found a forum post by an Evernote employee that started out strong in Sept 2015, but faded away.

https://discussion.evernote.com/topic/88641-the-evernote-editor/#comment-378790
 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Thanks @jbenson2, much appreciated.

2 points that stood out for me from the blog post referenced:

  1. "Basic markdown will be a reality."
  2. "...if we’ve done our job right, you’ll barely notice anything’s changed. Except, that is, if you look for it."

(1) Basic Markdown formatting is mentioned here:  https://discussion.evernote.com/topic/88677-evernote-for-mac-62-beta-1-released/?p=380238

What this user had to say in one of the posts there makes sense to me: "People who love Markdown so much that they'd clamor for this feature for years are not the type of people who want their Markdown immediately converted to something else with the Markdown lost forever."

What the Markdown feature in Mac Beta does is marks up text formatted with Markdown formatting immediately. Perhaps I could understand that the H1, H2, etc. formatting might speed heading styles up (if they in fact give you the formatting you want)... but typing in ***bold + italic*** when one could just hit Command+i,b / Ctrl+i,b makes no sense... unless the Markdown formatting were to be preserved so that one's Markdown writing might be scalable... i.e. you can take it places. Although, I must say that backticks for displaying code blocks would be a nice visual addition - whether one needs Markdown or not.

(2) The common editor seems like a couple of steps in the right direction recently... but let's see whether this leads to dark themes, text sorting and a couple of the other goodies people have been clamoring for. 

 

Share this post


Link to post

I got tired of waiting for markdown support so wrote a tampermonkey script which adds a markdown preview on the web client in just a few hours with my one year old son crawling all over me trying to see what daddy is doing on the computer, https://github.com/ograycode/evernote-markdown

It's a shame that such simple features appear to take so long to develop within the company, and that something like code blocks (on only one client?) has to come from a hackweek.

If I were the evernote team I would strongly consider wrapping up the web interface into an electron app and calling it a day so they can stop re-implementing code across every desktop platform -- maybe then they can all reach feature parity and move with a sense of urgency.

Share this post


Link to post

Hi @Gojira

Very nice tool! Just tested it with some of my previous Markdown writing in Chrome (Windows) and it works as best as anyone could hope for. Best to go full-screen mode on the Web (beta) to get a bit more space for the split panel. 

I hope more people notice your Evernote Web client Markdown hack. What more could someone want, except for a native implementation (with desktop in mind)?

Nice work :-)

Share this post


Link to post
On 3/4/2016 at 10:46 AM, jbenson2 said:

ChrisO'Neil became the new Evernote CEO almost 9 months ago. Other than a short memo, I have not seen much (any) solid information on the status of the program.

. . .

But I'd like to see some sort of activity (actual communication) from the marketing group in this forum

JB, I know you and I have different opinions about any "marketing group".  Sorry to say, but, unless they prove otherwise, I put them in the same category as "politicians"  :wacko:

So, I'd much rather hear from the Evernote staff actually doing the work.  I can't really speak to EN Win, but here's a great quote from the EN Mac Product Manager, @SoftwareMarcus ( who just left[1])):

7 hours ago, SoftwareMarcus said:

I think the point you may have missed is that the new management team has changed course.  The new focus is on the "note" but before the company tries to run, the team must first ensure that the basics of reliability and stability are taken care of.  This is what the Mac team has been focused for the past 3 months.  My point is that they are starting to turn the corner and will be able to get back to addressing missing features and innovating again.

IMO, the biggest issue the Evernote apps have had for the last couple of years is quality -- there have been way too many new bugs introduced with each new release/update.  I am seeing great progress on resolving this issue in EN Mac.

Footnote [1]:  I have it on good authority that @SoftwareMarcus left Evernote for the best of reasons:  He got an offer he couldn't refuse.  There was no pressure for him to leave, and in fact he hated to leave before his EN Mac plans had been fully realized.  But, in today's marketplace, you have to do what's best for you.

Share this post


Link to post

I would absolutely love to see formal and regular updates from Evernote Engineers. I consider that Marketing.

Unfortunately, their occasional comments can only be found in this forum by hunting and pecking or reading every post. What I am suggesting is a place where the casual Evernote customer can read about the latest improvements in the product. Even start-up companies know the importance of keeping their customers informed.

Regarding the Employee departures:
The senior managers probably also left due to the best of reasons. But, as a customer, when I consider the magnitude of top level people who have left in just the past few years, it certainly causes me to wonder what is going on. Some of the ones I've noticed were:

  • Phil Libin - CEO
  • Philip Constantinou - Vice President Products
  • Andrew Sinkov - Vice President, Marketing
  • Linda Kozlowski - Chief Operating Officer
  • Alex Pachikov - VP of Partnerships
  • Pearl Woon-tai - Sr Director of Partnerships
  • Tammy Sun - Director of Partnerships
  • Heather Wilde - Sr Manager, Technical Support
  • Chris Traganos - Director of Developer Relations

It would be great if Evernote is turning the corner with their new CEO. But does he (and his team) have to remain so invisible?  Especially on a core product improvement that has been under development for 2.5 years.

To me, it seems that some customer hand-holding (aka communication) would go a long way.

 

edit: I enjoyed GBarry's pinned post about the new Evernote for Outlook.
 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
34 minutes ago, jbenson2 said:

What I am suggesting is a place where the casual Evernote customer can read about the latest improvements in the product. Even start-up companies know the importance of keeping their customers informed.

JB, I don't know of any major companies who use their user forums as the primary place for marketing, for announcing the latest releases/improvements.  There may be some, but I don't think it is the norm.

Doesn't Evernote use their Evernote Blog for this purpose?

I routinely get email notices of new EN Blog posts that seem very much to be a marketing campaign.

39 minutes ago, jbenson2 said:

Unfortunately, their occasional comments can only be found in this forum by hunting and pecking or reading every post.

Actually, I have found @SoftwareMarcus to be very forthcoming in his new release/update threads.  So there has been no need for me to search the forum, or anywhere else, looking for nuggets of information.  So I really only need to read one thread:  the new release thread.  I hope his successor continues in this mode.

Share this post


Link to post
10 hours ago, JMichaelTX said:

Actually, I have found @SoftwareMarcus to be very forthcoming in his new release/update threads.  So there has been no need for me to search the forum, or anywhere else, looking for nuggets of information.  So I really only need to read one thread

 

Thank you for confirming my original point exactly. You can see one individual Evernote employee's comment because he is responding to your specific question in the Mac forum. And you also have an advantage because you participate in the forums several times every day. Yes, other people might stumble across the comment if they happen to look at the specific post in the Mac forum.

That is not what I was suggesting for the average customer. Most for-profit software companies (from start-ups to mega-giants) try to keep their latest general and technical news in front of as many customers as possible. Especially when they are working on a major re-write of their core program over the past 2.5 years. These companies use pinned notes in their forums (similar to GBarry's post) or notices with URL links or emails to their customers. Assuming one even remembers there is an Evernote blog, it might be helpful if one wants to see how other customers use Evernote to manage their sewing hobby or re-read another blog post restating Evernote's 3 Laws of Data protection. I have never received an email from Evernote addressing new products or developments.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

@jbenson2, my main point is that most companies don't use their user support forums as a primary marketing tool.  Look at Apple, Microsoft, Google, etc, and their main marketing tool is their main web site, and product-specific sites.  They also have blogs and press release sections.

I'm not sure what you really want to see from Evernote.  As you know, Evernote (like most companies) does not provide public progress reports of internal development.  IMO, the only real progress indicator that counts are the product updates they release.  As with most companies, if you want more advance notice of new features and fixes, then you need to participate in (or at least observe) the product beta programs.

Over the last year, EN Mac has had many beta releases, where Evernote was looking for feedback on possible new features, or changes to existing features.  In several cases, Evernote changed or removed a feature based on user feedback.

Share this post


Link to post

They've always played the we don't comment card. It was very startup-y, but they are no longer a startup. Their changes always seemed to leave data users in the dust and made evernote slower and less useful with each iteration. You can't go around saying you want to be everyone's memory and have a difficult to navigate UI, inconsistent search paradigms depending on platform (as well as missing basic search features found anywhere else), documentation (though the gurus try and do do a great job, but shouldn't have to), and, well, its been discussed ad nauseum elsewhere and everywhere, Well... Since they never comment on their roadmap, I won't comment on whether I will be back after my premium (multi-year subscription) finally expires this month! (not likely, OneNote has come a long way). I can't believe they are growing their pro user base or preventing attrition with their silence. I'm voting with my wallet. 

Edit: typos

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

send your comments to the CEO - he's shared his address. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, Metrodon said:

send your comments to the CEO - he's shared his address. 

That's a good one!  :D

Yes, he did share his email address for some unknown reason. I've sent several polite and detailed messages to his email. No reply, zero response.. And I've seen zero public comments since his memo several months ago. Even Google can't find anything recent.

Of course, I don't expect a personal reply from the CEO, but... if he was professional, at a minimum he would have the common-sense courtesy to set up the email with an auto-responder thank you reply.

Considering all the departures and downsizing, I won't be surprised to find out he is spending his time looking for a corporate takeover firm  for Evernote.

Share this post


Link to post
On 3/7/2016 at 10:03 AM, Metrodon said:

send your comments to the CEO - he's shared his address. 

lol... sorry, he should have had someone on the staff send out an email blast with it, but in any case, I pay him... he doesn't pay me. He can poke his nose in the forum like the rest of us. Ten minutes a week or a day would clue him in. I voted with my wallet, the revenue numbers should be sign enough for him (decreasing or not increasing as much as they would like). 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Your choice, talk here into what is probably a vacuum or send an email to the CEO. Or just walk away..

Share this post


Link to post

There is a tad bit you can see on his twitter account - if you're desperate for scraps of info. He seems to be excited about Google cardboard - which is really quite fascinating. Point being, he's alive and kicking and interested in tech.

Share this post


Link to post

In other words, it's the job of the customer to hunt for Evernote's product information. 

Evernote Stealth Marketing

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

I think this new CEO bloke is just scared of JB....

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
27 minutes ago, Metrodon said:

JB....

 

Who or what is JB? 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
4 minutes ago, Frank.dg said:

Who or what is JB? 

What is Frank.dg?

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
3 minutes ago, jbenson2 said:

What is Frank.dg?

Haha, that was a sincere question. I didn't connect JB with @jbenson2.

I ran through a list of names: 

  1. Phil Libin = PL ... try again
  2. James Blunt... close but no cigar
  3. Jack Black... not sure if he's intimidating
  4. I give up...

Share this post


Link to post
7 hours ago, Frank.dg said:

Seems Chris is responding to the man on the street on twitter

man kid on the street

Who or what is twitter?  Is that a new bird, or what??  :lol:

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, JMichaelTX said:

 Is that a new bird, or what??

One in the hand is worth two in the bush.

Share this post


Link to post
2 hours ago, Frank.dg said:

One in the hand is worth two in the bush.

Depends on the bush.  :lol:

Share this post


Link to post
3 hours ago, JMichaelTX said:

Depends on the bush.  :lol:

What bush? More information please. BTW. Explain "kid" on the street. At any rate, somewhat of a child-ish statement. 

Share this post


Link to post
20 minutes ago, Frank.dg said:

Seasoned Leaders, Fresh Ideas: Meet the New Evernote Team - Evernote Blog

Wow!  Big changes!  Thanks for posting, Frank.  Seems like it deserves its own thread.

Share this post


Link to post

I don't know if this is a one-off, or a real change in support, but I am very impressed with this response by Evernote employee @kgg, in response to a user's report of loss of data:

7 hours ago, kgg said:

@RobinHood, I also updated your account to Premium so you can check note history. Please let me know how this works for you.

Share this post


Link to post

I've reached out to Evernote twice in the last year on Twitter... and on both occasions I got to the end answer real quick:

twitter.PNG.cbea82933c824b3f26d2db9940f8

I'd say their CS on Twitter is most likely the best shot for a resolution. Either a Direct Message (Private) or a public tweet will do. 

 

Share this post


Link to post

On the few times I reached out on Twitter, I got a quick answer indeed. One time I reached out through a support ticket and got quick help in that case as well. But I agree that Twitter might be the way to get attention to your problem or existing support ticket.

@Frank.dg thank you for linking the new blogpost. The new staff sounds impressive with their background. Hopefully this is a another small sign of things looking up for Evernote :)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Maybe it just me, but I believe I am seeing more employee-activity on the forums: more replies and customer service. Fantastic! :D

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
2 hours ago, Frank.dg said:

Evernote looking for new Director of Customer Support:

https://evernote.com/careers/job/?id=188680&gh_jid=188680

Interesting reading about the role and responsibilities...

Glad to here they are making a commitment two customer service. I preferred their approach up until 2013 or so. Perhaps this represents a serious investment in something that, un-fortunately, seems to have been under-valued the last few years.

I would suggest, though, that the new person proofreads stuff be four posting it online. I bet they would bee better off focusing on customer "pain" points rather than "paint points," which must be referring two customers using the relatively unknown Microsoft Paint version of Evernote from the 90s (poor attempt at humor).

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post

Oh, seence their r soo mani typos in eet.

Maybe they need a new AchR maanger two?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Yeah, it's hilariously bad - shows a group of people (I'm assuming a group signed off on this spec) who don't pay attention to detail. Nobody is perfect and everyone makes mistakes, but for a job advertisement that is going to be so widely seen to be so badly put together does make you wonder about the competence of this company.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

What tickles me is that all of those responsibilities need to be spelled out. If they sought out the right person, they'd automatically have the right stuff. 

I was wondering why they don't go headhunting instead of fishing. They've got all these great, new, experienced people in key positions... And then with CS they're going to wade through loads of submissions. 

I don't see housecleaning perks in the mix like there used to be. Must be the belt-tightening. 

Share this post


Link to post

Perhaps they now see they need someone good for customer support and that's why all those responsibilities are being spelled out? At least I hope that is the reason. Doesn't give them an excuse to post a version online with spelling errors.

Share this post


Link to post

You think the Expendables put out an ad for a guy who could make the whole house come down?

Share this post


Link to post

No one's perfect, of course, and I am sure I have my fair share of mistakes in published stuff. Still, this is a global company and a unicorn, so I'd like to see them up their game. 

Personally, I was interested in this voice of the customer thing. You've got a forum full of users, you've got a lot of folks who have been around longer than most of the employees at the company, and this person is going to come in and be our voice? Sounds like a tough job, but more importantly, I hope that the new person actually does it, because this is something that could be a wake up call for the company.

As I often say, the best customer service (from my perspective) is integrated into the company at all levels so that awful ideas get winnowed out early on (way too many make it into the betas and even the public releases), good ones are fostered (lots of them in here by enthusiastic users), and stupid errors are avoided (that tends to cut down on the amount of customer support tickets). A great CS rep (in my opinion) would be wading through the posts in these forums, keeping contact, and getting a sense of what the customer sentiment is (not just this quantitative stuff mentioned in the ad). This might sound obvious to someone who hasn't been around long (or not -- I am probably saying something that pushes the buttons of CS folks), but I think few companies get this stuff right, and EN has... been less than ideal since they gutted CS a few years ago. 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post

 Wholeheartedly agree… 

Think about this: you've got Evernote users who do a lot more in these forums in their free time (qualitatively and quantatively) than full-time employees... And that with their hands tied, so to speak: no insight into Evernote's development roadmap... And we have to often get the attention of employees by flagging posts. 

Perhaps they know we've got them covered for the most part, which is a sweet deal, really... But for a variety of issues, they need to step up and realize that users would like to hear it from the horse's mouth if at all possible.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post

For an example of great CS, the new EN employee has to look no further than Dave Engberg (the former Chief Technology Officer) who was amazingly active in the early years. For years, we used to mine his comments for answers to questions big and small. He stopped posting after a while (got busy, I guess), and now he has left the company.

For advanced issues, you could contact him and receive a detailed, spot-on analysis / solution to a problem. It was really nice to be able to go directly to the top with a problem that could clearly only be addressed by him rather than wasting time kicking it up the ladder. He'll be missed. 

I know that EN in the past few years has seemed (to my eyes, at least) less interested in customer support, but I think Dave's example (along with Geoff, Heather, Jack, and other folks)  shows how it can be done right by anyone in the company -- distinguishing yourself from competitors by offering top-notch customer support is a little difficult to quantify, but I think it pays off again and again in knowledge gained about customers and goodwill earned. Some of us stuck with EN years longer than we might have with any other app, because we felt we had incredible CS. Maybe EN is back on this road.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

I did not realize that Dave left the company. 

GrumpyMonkey's summary is 100% spot on.

Dave's relationship with customers was awesome. He went out of his way to give us detailed insights into the workings of the program. 

Share this post


Link to post

I guess the difference with Dave was that it was relatively "easy" when there was a relatively small number of us. Different world when there are 100m+ of "us".

Plus, there is an element of rose tinted spectacles here too - Evernote was a fairly flakey thing when Dave was contributing, it's far more solid now.

By the way, I'm a shard 1 user, I've been here a long time and I believe that the current incarnation of management and the app(s) leave a lot to be desired.

While I'm By the Waying...have you seen Libin's tweets about the VC world? What a clown, he did so much damage to this company and products.

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

True. But, Dave also gave very clear, detailed, and insightful comments about how things worked. Sometimes, one of his posts would get copied / pasted / linked for years. Obviously, no one expects every post to get such deep engagement, but there are a lot of things that could be done better in terms of communication. I suggested his approach as a model of engagement for the future CS person, but they should obviously feel free to change it up however they see fit. 

Evernote as an app and service has really come a long ways, and I would certainly take its current incarnation over past ones any day, but there is still a lot of room for improvement. It could be better, you don't have to look far to find ideas, but there seems to be a gap between the customer experience and Evernote's development, and there has been for a while. Looking at numbers (emphasized more than participation on forums or anything like that) doesn't seem like a great start for the new CS person if they want to fill that gap. Hopefully, some adjustments will be made. 

Last thing I saw was Libin commenting on bots. Sounds cool. We'll see where his money takes it. Last year, NPR had a great program on bots. I think there is a lot of potential there.

http://www.wnyc.org/story/armys-robot-recruiter-aug/#transcript

But, my personal experience with bots hasn't been so great, and my hopes for the future of interpersonal communications don't have a lot to do with bots. I'm not interested in sharing thoughts with Siri, Cortana, or any other Skynet avatar :)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...