The note-taking app Evernote was one of Silicon Valley’s first “unicorn” startups, but its growth slowed and it struggled to generate revenue as users complained about glitches, such as how its Android and iOS apps were incompatible with each other.
When Evernote recruited CEO Ian Small in late 2018, he realized that the company needed to completely rebuild its apps. Not only were they filled with bugs, but their tech core was a decade old, which slowed down new releases.
Rebuilding the product also involved a cultural change of more collaboration and transparency within the company itself.
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The story of note-taking app Evernote has both high-highs and low-lows: It was one of the first “unicorn” startups with a billion-dollar valuation and a cult-like following in 2012, before plunging into “deep trouble” in 2015 and a “death spiral” that included executive departures in fall 2018.
By October of that year, the company recruited current CEO Ian Small who has led Evernote’s slow, laborious resurrection ever since, including the decision to completely rebuild its app.
“If you work anywhere in Silicon Valley, they say, ‘Let’s go back to basics,” Small told Business Insider. “The reason people say it is because frequently products lose their ‘why.'”
That’s exactly what happened to Evernote, he admits, which is why the team has spent the last year and a half chugging away on the on-going process of competely redesigning its product to try to win back its once-fervent following.
“At the end of the day, you have to focus on who your users are and what brought them close to the products in the first place,” Small said.
Here’s the story of how he’s trying to rebuild the company’s reputation and product.
Evernote needed an upgrade
With the tagline “Remember everything,” Evernote became wildly popular early on, whether for students taking notes in class or employees writing down meeting agendas. Since launching in 2008, it has raised a total of $296 million from investors like Sequoia Capital, Salesforce Ventures, and Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian. At its peak, it was valued at $1.23 billion.
But as Business Insider previously reported, Evernote was slow to develop the revenue side of its business and struggled with converting free users to paid ones. It was selling fancy backpacks and water bottles through a “lifestyle” market, while also starting to receive negative feedback about glitches on its apps. In particular, the iOS version of Evernote had different sets of features than the Android version, and these different features often weren’t compatible with each other – making it hard for people to use the service across multiple devices.
Small copped up to these issues in a January 2019 blog post, shortly after joining the company, writing about how “each version of Evernote seems to work slightly differently and exhibits its own unique collection of bugs and undesirable behaviors.”
Small realized that while Evernote’s user base was still technically growing, the rate …read more
Source:: Business Insider