I’ve tested dozens and dozens of phones over the years. And while the experience can vary wildly from device to device, there are still a handful of services and apps I always make sure I have right off the bat.
Twitter. Gmail. And Evernote.
It’s the latter that has increasingly become the most important thing I use day to day. For those of you unfamiliar with Evernote, it’s a primarily a note-taking app. You jot something down on your iPhone, and that note syncs over the Internet to all your other devices. Your laptop. Your tablet. Even your refrigerator.
It goes beyond that though. Evernote has a suite of apps like Skitch, which lets you annotate images with arrows and text, and Keep, which lets you scan business cards and sync them with your LinkedIn account. (Keep is about to be spun into the regular Evernote app.) And there’s another, new part of Evernote’s business: physical products. Evernote now sells items ranging from messenger bags to notebooks, all the non-digital stuff people would need to remain productive.
I keep everything in Evernote. Transcriptions of interviews with my sources. Story ideas. Photos of receipts for lunches or trips I need to expense. And all that stuff is instantly available on all the gizmos I use every day.
If you don’t use Evernote, you should.
I had a chance to sit down with Evernote’s CEO, Phil Libin, a few weeks ago to dive a bit deeper into what’s going on at the company.
When I met Libin, he was wearing an Evernote t-shirt under his blazer, like a proud geek dad wearing a t-shirt from his kid’s college. Libin is soft-spoken, but has a lengthy, intelligent answer for just about any question you throw at him. And he doesn’t get flustered when I asked him annoying business reporter-type questions like “When are you going to IPO?” or “How much revenue do you bring in?”
In an era when it seems like many startups are striving for a quick exit, Libin says Evernote is in it for the long haul. He uses the line the line that Evernote is a “100-year startup” in just about every interview he’s given, but if you dive a bit deeper, you can tell he really means it. Evernote is more than just a company that helps you jot down notes. The long-term goal is to be the company that provides everything productive people need. You can already see that in the diversity of its products today, and Libin says he feels like Evernote is well-equipped to handle whatever changes technology may bring to the way we work.
That’s part of the reason why unlike most app companies, Evernote has a version of its service on just about everything that runs on electricity, from household appliances to smart watches. The idea is for Evernote to be omnipresent, even if only a few people adopt a particular product.
“We’re not in the business of predicting who’s going to win and who’s going to lose,” Libin says. “We get a lot of knowledge designing for everything. It’s an intentional decision to stretch people as much as possible.”
The next logical step, of course, would be an IPO, which Libin says is two to three years away. Evernote has raised over $US250 million in funding so far and is valued at well over $US1 billion. Libin wouldn’t give me specific revenue numbers, but there is growth. Revenue for 2013 is up 2.5 times what it was a year ago, Libin says. That revenue comes from people signing up for the paid version of Evernote, which costs $US5 per month or $US45 per year and lets you use the service offline and upload an unlimited number of files. The products business, which is available on the Web and through the Evernote apps, has also exceeded revenue expectations, Libin says. There’s also a paid product businesses can sign their employees up for. Evernote has 80 million registered users.
But an IPO isn’t at the forefront of Libin’s mind.
“I think it’s morally right for us to be public,” Libin says. “An IPO itself is not a goal. I think for most companies at our scale or beyond, the day of the IPO isn’t that special. We’re trying to make something bigger.”