Do you pay for Evernote? I do! For multiple people. In fact, Evernote derives 70% of its revenue from mostly business people who subscribe to its service. Not the millions of free users. So it is exceedingly frustrating that a business product would have blind spots like this. These are my Top 5 Evernote frustrations:
1. No real-time collaborative editing
I want to edit notes with my colleagues. At the same time. This is something that Google Docs has had for a long time. Etherpad did it. It causes me to choose to do my note editing elsewhere.
2. The editor is a joke
The Evernote styling capabilities are neither here nor there. It chooses to heavily style a document (look at the markup) but yet doesn’t offer critical editor features. So you might start important documents in Evernote, but sooner or later, for a category of documents that you plan on publishing, you will move to some other tool, whether it be Google Docs, or Word
3. The sharing model is broken.
- I can either share a whole notebook with a coworker or a single note with the whole world.
- But I cannot share or link to just a note with a coworker.
- If I share a notebook with a coworker, either they can see it or edit it but if they edit it they can wholesale delete notes or the whole notebook
4. The note history is close to useless
- Because you cannot “diff” notes, it’s hard to tell what has changed between versions
- And even if you could, the snapshots of notes are taken too apart to be used safely
5. The export capabilities are infuriating
Let’s say you start your notes in Evernote but decide to make them full fledged documents for sharing or distribution. You can either use the .enex format that only Evernote consumes, or you can export it as HTML, for which there is no real Wysywig editor. Chances of keeping any rational formatting in Word or GDocs or an actual text editor — slim to none.
Then there is this.
Issues haven’t gone unnoticed by Phil Libin. But with quotes like these:
Our new philosophy is to find every spot in our products where we’ve been forced to make a trade-off between doing what’s simple and doing what’s powerful, then rethink it so that the simplest approach is also the most powerful. We know we’ve found a good design for something when that conflict disappears. It feels like magic when that happens, and we’ll have several bits of magic in the coming months.
You have to wonder if they are going to significantly handicap their product. See, Evernote is designing for the most part for the free user, and assuming that the paying user has the same requirements than the free user. But, as in any B2B product, it’s the specific requirement of the paying user that causes them to fork over the money.
Or maybe someone else will solve this problem.