How Evernote Made Remembering Everything, Simple

The first time you tell people about Evernote, they never get it. Give
them a few months though and they’ll come back to you raving about
how much they love the premium subscription they just bought for the
note taking service.

It’s hard for people to understand why they would want to use Evernote
the first time you show it to somebody because to them it sounds like
other applications they seen, but have never had to use. They’ve
gotten by just fine all this time without it. Evernote lets you take
notes, it lets you organize those notes into notebooks, and you can
sync those notes across your computers.

When you start explaining the more unique features of Evernote, it
make the program sound even more complicated… On top of taking notes
you can clip webpages, save files and photos, email notes into the
system, and finally you can search text across all of your notes, even
the text from your photos.

In every case I’ve seen it’s always been instant hesitation,
skepticism, or a canned response like “Why don’t you just use X?”

Inevitably though those users get hooked. So how?

It’s probably because once they start using the program, it’s not like
using a desktop application. Evernote is used less like a desktop
application, and more like a smartphone app.

My buddy Terence Lo replied to me
on Twitter when I first shared this idea kept it simple and in
perspective:

“@malcolmbastien plus it solves a fundamental problem everyone has.”

He’s 100% right about that, but even so I just don’t think that that
completely explains why Evernote has become as popular as it has. What
shows us that there is in fact more to it is that Evernote isn’t the
only, or even the first solution of its kind. There are others like
Yojimbo, and 3banana that do a lot of the same thing. I don’t know if
either of those are lauded as $10 million companies.

There can’t be such a big gap between every single note taking
application that’s existed, and with Evernote. Even if the gap was
big…$10 million big?

In an article on Mashable they have some statistics about how many new
users Evernote is signing up from mobile. I think the key is somewhere
there.

Unlike other note taking applications that were out before Evernote,
Evernote is a great smartphone app. It’s great on the on the iPhone,
on the iPad, on Android, and on BlackBerry. Even on the desktop,
Evernote works like a smartphone app.

Evernote works like a smartphone application. No files, no folder
structure, and no saving or loading. Everything is saved automatically
and all store on the cloud. It gets rid of all the complex pieces that
people are losing patience for.

So the reason for people’s initial skepticism? They’re thinking in
terms that apply with what they’ve always used on the desktop, but
that don’t apply with Evernote.

Is this the blueprint for the next successful consumer productivity
apps for the next decade? What if other verticals embodied these same
ideas into their software?

Except to see a lot more Evernotes, more Simplenotes, more Dropboxes,
and a lot less of what we’re used to.

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