… and probably, you won’t either

That’s it, I am leaving Evernote, and never coming back!

If I had gotten a dime for every time I said that in my almost 10-year-old history with Evernote, I would probably be able to buy myself a mansion. And why shouldn’t I? Indeed, the product is not entirely bug-free. Support forums are full of feature requests that never see the light of day. Yes, management has been shortsighted, focusing on bringing the wrong things to market, instead of listening to their core user community. The company has been a target of various security attacks, and a couple of real security breaches. Last, but not least, the notoriously bad PR, screwing timing up just enough, to give reasons to naysayers to start preaching Evernote’s death over and over again. And, and, and…

Yet, unless you have started using Evernote shortly enough to not care, I really doubt that you will move away. Why? For the same reason, for which you are not giving up the comfort of your Mac and switch to a Windows PC, just because failed to deliver this year. As buggy and irritating some things are, they just seem to work coherent enough, so that you can do your work and live your life.

See, that’s the thing about Evernote. It just works. It doesn’t do it perfectly all the time, it just does it substantially well, and better that all alternatives. Don’t believe me, be my guest and try the alternatives. I have already checked close to a dozen, and every time I was sold, I ended up coming back to Evernote.

I guess, there are two crucial points why the alternatives fail to work. Point one: competitor tools treat Evernote as a note-taking tool and try to beat it at that. And this is the problem: Evernote has long time evolved away from being just a note-taking tool. It has become a knowledge sharing ecosystem, a universal filesystem of sorts, where notes are the glue between all the data you stored. The context that gives everything else some sense. Switch to another device, install a fresh copy of Evernote, and you have your entire digital world synced for you in a matter of seconds, and ready for you to start working. Sure, you can do the same iCloud, or Dropbox, but raw data without the context is just, well … raw data. It is the context that turns data into knowledge.

And here comes point two: the value of a knowledge system increases in a geometric progression with the amount of time you use it. Mathematically speaking, If the value I have gotten from Evernote during the first year of us is x, for the 10 years I have been using Evernote, it has increased not 10 times (10x), but **x to the power of 10 **(x^10). This has to do with both the product and the collected information. One could easily do a dump and migrate to a new tool, but every core user of a certain product develops a certain way of organizing things using the unique features (and sometimes, even shortcomings) of the product itself. Dumping raw Evernote data into another tool is a bit like installing Windows on a Mac. It works, but yeah, you know.

To further emphasize on the 10 years worth of knowledge. Every company in the digital sector, which has been around for that long, deserves my admiration. With all its product and managerial flops, I’d rather choose Evernote, instead of a startup that may not be around next year. As for the privacy dilemma, you should rather speak to the governments that you voted for. I think, ultimately, it is those people, rather than company management, who have the biggest incentives of snooping around your dirty secrets.

Just my two cents.

Note: I originally published this article in Medium Header Photo Credits: Alan Dean | Flickr

Leave a comment