Evernote responds

Wow. Two days ago I pub­lished Ever­note, the bug-rid­den ele­phant, recount­ing the ongo­ing issues I’ve had with the ser­vice (and, more recently, seri­ous inci­dents of data loss). The response has been stag­ger­ing: over a hun­dred com­ments on my post, hun­dreds more on Hacker News, and many flur­ries of con­cern and agree­ment on Twit­ter. Sen­ti­ment has been remark­ably con­sis­tent, with nearly every com­menter shar­ing my frus­tra­tions — some of them with hor­ror sto­ries of their own.

Ever­note CEO Phil Libin reached out to me shortly after I pub­lished the post and expressed his apolo­gies, assur­ing me (and, in turn, the many Ever­note users who wound up here) that the ser­vice will be refo­cus­ing its efforts to rem­edy its qual­ity issues. Now he has writ­ten a lengthy response on the Ever­note blog that goes into more detail, dis­cussing the company’s recent re-empha­sis on sta­bil­ity, its hir­ing strat­egy, and planned improve­ments for the app’s design.

Libin’s post is steeped in dam­age con­trol, but it is can­did and encour­ag­ing all the same. Ever­note has the poten­tial to be a great pro­duct (I use it con­stantly, even when it is only mediocre), and I hope the changes Libin out­li­nes help it reach its poten­tial.

You can find Libin’s full post here, below are the open­ing para­graphs.

On Soft­ware Qual­ity and Build­ing a Bet­ter Ever­note in 2014

I got the wrong sort of birth­day present yes­ter­day: a sin­cerely-writ­ten post by Jason Kin­caid lament­ing a per­ceived decline in the qual­ity of Ever­note soft­ware over the past few months. I could quib­ble with the specifics, but read­ing Jason’s arti­cle was a painful and frus­trat­ing expe­ri­ence because, in the big pic­ture, he’s right. We’re going to fix this.

The past cou­ple of years have been an amaz­ing time for Ever­note. We’ve grown mas­sively as a com­pany, a com­mu­nity and a pro­duct. And we’re still grow­ing quickly. How­ever, there comes a time in a boom­ing startup’s life when it’s impor­tant to pause for a bit and look in rather than up. When it’s more impor­tant to improve exist­ing fea­tures than to add new ones. More impor­tant to make our exist­ing users hap­pier than to just add more new users. More impor­tant to focus on our direc­tion than on our speed. This is just com­mon sense, but star­tups breathe growth and inten­tion­ally slow­ing down to focus on details and qual­ity doesn’t come nat­u­rally to many of us. Despite this, the best pro­duct com­pa­nies in the world have fig­ured out how to make con­stant qual­ity improve­ments part of their essen­tial DNA. Apple and Google and Ama­zon and Face­book and Twit­ter and Tesla know how to do this. So will we. This is our cen­tral theme for 2014: con­stant improve­ment of the core promise of Ever­note.

Comments (6)

  • Reply

    I think if you are using the free part of a freemium pro­duct, you get what you pay for. If you are pay­ing for EN as I am, there is no excuse for hav­ing crappy code and UX/UI. For me, as soon as Note­Suite rolls an iPhone ver­sion, Ever­note will be gone and for­got­ten.

    I think Ever­note was in the right place at the right time with a mediocre pro­duct. Unfor­tu­nately for Ever­note, there are much more tal­ented engi­neers out there that are start­ing to make a dent in the note tak­ing app mar­ket. It makes me won­der how long it will take before Ever­note becomes the Black­Berry of note tak­ing apps – “hun­dred year com­pany”, give me a break!!

    • I think if you are using the free part of a freemium pro­duct, you get what you pay for.”

      What sort of logic is that? Ever­note Free is a *sam­ple* of the pre­mium ser­vice. Your logic is akin to a gro­cery store hand­ing out free sam­ples of a food they hope to sell and when peo­ple tell them it’s awful the store responds, “It’s free, what do you expect?”

      If that were Evernote’s approach then they are doomed.

  • Reply

    Thanks for writ­ing your post and I’m glad Ever­note responded to you and me – in a way. I love Ever­note and right as I was about to start telling peo­ple about it, it went glictchy on me.

  • Reply

    Thanks for writ­ing about your issues.

    I’ve been using Ever­note on Win­dows and on Andriod and I’ve come to enjoy using the appli­ca­tion.

  • Reply

    The ques­tions is, a full year and a half later is – Has it improved?

    • Came here to ask the same ques­tion … now another half-year later….

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