Evernote Should Have Been an OS
Posted on March 25th, 2015
Jon Mitchell goes deep on finding the perfect notes app, and details his love affair and falling out with Evernote.
There was a time when I was really fired up about Evernote, I took the app at its word and crammed everything I had into it, from audio files to contacts to PDFs to clipped web pages to photo albums. My text notes often expanded to be hundreds of words long. I was basically using Evernote as a word processor and a file system, kind of like Google Drive, rather than a notes app, a starting point. The app encouraged me to do so, and I paid a substantial annual fee to unlock its full power.
But Evernote’s insistence on treating “everything you’ll do" as a note forced all kinds of compromises. The interface was so crowded that I couldn’t find a comfortable way to organize it. First it failed slowly, forcing me to backpedal on specific use cases. Then it failed all at once when the company resorted to frequent, utterly unrecognizable, ground-up redesigns at a frantic pace, presumably in order to whip its business into shape.
There’s more about Evernote in his article, but I was particularly intrigued by this idea:
Evernote should have been an OS. They should have forked Android a long time ago, and they should have been making Evernote Phones by now. If you ask me, the only way for a notes app to become a 100-year company, which Evernote CEO Phil Libin often loudly aspires to build, is for it to be the very fabric of starting things on any device.
It got me thinking of what other emerging app that sometimes threaten to bloat but also depends and encourages integrations with 3rd-party services and software. Slack, with its ecosystem of integrations, both official and unofficial, comes to mind.