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SXSW: Evernote, the Anti-Social Application

Posted by: Douglas MacMillan on March 19, 2009


Remember when people kept personal journals? With so many convenient tools for sharing our experiences with hundreds of others online, it seems that fewer people take time to record their thoughts in a quiet, private setting – one that can’t be forwarded, retweeted, stumbled, or dugg.

Evernote is betting that there’s still a market for introverts. Founded in 2004 by Russian-American scientist Stepan Pachikov, Evernote is a personal database service where users can store writings, images, voice recordings, and clippings from articles on the Web on a single, private site. It syncs these entries across multiple devices; take a picture of a bottle of wine with your camera phone while you’re out at a restaurant, and the photo will be on your computer when you get home and decide to order a case of it. There’s also fancy character-recognition technology that allows Evernote to index any written words that show up in a picture so you can easily search for it later.

Phil Libin, the company’s chief executive, says a lot of what people pump onto social web sites like Twitter at a rapid rate is frivolous information. “There’s very little meat on it,” he says. By comparison, he says the 820,000 users of Evernote are uploading valuable memories that they want to store safely and more permanently. “We want to be your trusted long term memory,” Libin adds.

A free version of Evernote gives users up to 40 MB of storage each month, but for $4 per month or $45 per year the site offers unlimited uploads and faster syncing between devices. Currently more than 90% of Evernote customers use the free version, which now includes banner ads on its pages.

Here’s a video I shot with Libin at South by Southwest in Austin, in which he calls Evernote “the anti-social app.”

Phil Libin, Evernote from Arik Hesseldahl on Vimeo.

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Reader Comments

J.A. WIlliams

March 24, 2009 10:41 AM

I just read Liz Ryans article on "low ball salary offers" concerning the industry making low salary job offers to those qualified for much higher salaries. She contends that if the criteria is not met for the amount the applicant thinks they are worth to walk away. I'm sorry to inform you that as a "specialist" you seem to forget the people that have to work for less and take it because of the following. Mortage due, utilities due, car payments due, credit cards due, no food in the house, just enough gas money to get to work. Insurances due, and NO JOB. All of this is why the companies are laying off workers rather than lower profit margins. Number one is taking adbvantage of the situation by hiring highly trained people at much lower salaries than they are really worth. Keeping profits high. The interviewers are worried about their own jobs and comply with the upstairs requests without batting an eye. A degree for a higher salary means very little when you have a MILLION Americans out of work. They are NOT all blue collar workers either. Those of whom you regard as low lifes since they are not in question or part of your regard. You know, the people that fight for YOUR rights in wars and battles. They usually don't have business degrees. I am a professional and should be making at least 75k a year, a recent and my biggest offer has been 35k with the statement of "We have others as qualified as you looking for work". THIS is the attitude of the cmpanies and corporations. I have to tell you, your insight into American companies of this century leaves much to be desired. This has all been manipulated since the fifties and sixties. This is earth. What planet or country are you on.

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BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.



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