Is Evernote on the way out?

The past couple of days have seen a few stories about Evernote’s performance. The company, not the app. It doesn’t make for pleasant reading…

Apparently, they’ve lost a worrying number of senior people and several key metrics can be, at best, described as ‘stagnant’. And I’m not sure whether or not to be worried…

I’ve recently divided my note-taking life into:

  • Evernote for everything business-related
  • Bear for all longer-form writing (e.g. blog posts, white-papers)
  • Apple notes for checklists and anything I need to share with @TheFrankFlyer

And so, just when I feel I’ve got a handle on electronic notes organisation, and a couple of nifty workflows, it looks like I might need to find an Evernote alternative. A successor, even.

I really, really hope Evernote is around for the long term, but there’s a definite sense of Nero fiddling while Rome burns right now. Exhibit A: their recent (hardly noticeable, yet noisily announced) update to the Evernote logo.

Hmmm…

I have to ask: is that really the activity that should be taking up your time? There’s so much to be done with the app to make it comparable and reliable across platforms. So much to be done to make it a success in the corporate world.

But a new logo? It seems a little desperate.

Please, Evernote, get it together. I really rely on you and your app on a daily basis and don’t want to have to export my many thousands and thousands of notes and then try to make it all work in another, probably less useful, app.

Please?

  1. Gaurav Kulkarni September 6, 2018 at 06:18

    I gave up on Evernote years ago. I now use Keep for short notes and OneNote for long writeups. But I do see a decline in online media about Evernote. Once upon a time every single productivity blogger swore by it. Has that opinion changed now? Do they still have many users? I hope so.

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    1. Hi Gaurav – I definitely see a lot less positive news about a Evernote. And while they seem to have a large user base, I’m not sure it’s growing fast enough to win them all the external investment they’re looking for.

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  2. This is very timely. Since 2008, Evernote was the absolute centre of my information store. Everything went into Evernote, the app was more or less fine, but the ability to quickly input, then retrieve everything, plus OCR searching of scanned documents made it a winner. I was a paid subscriber for years before they made those rather drastic account changes around mid-2016.
    But voices of discontent began around that time, and Evernote never made a single reference to them, nor any meaningful updates to the system. Fearing an “avalanche effect” of leaving users, I began to look around for an alternative.

    At work, I’ve used Microsoft OneNote as my backup brain, and it’s great; I trust it with everything, and it never lets me down. Yet somehow, I just can’t take it home with me. Like yourself, I next hopped on to Bear, and really enjoyed using that app, which is gorgeous. I did look at other “everything-and-the-kitchen-sink” systems, with DEVONthink being a strong contender, but it didn’t stick, because at the same time I started looking around for an Evernote alternative, I realised I had a fundamental thought about the whole business of note-taking, and creating and filing documents. I realised that what’s most important for me is the future-proofing of any note and document system. And being an IT guy, my take on this is that you’re safest when your system of choice is a close to your core OS as possible.

    Now I’m 100% in the Apple ecosystem, and I’m happy there. I’m not moving, and I don’t think Apple are going to fade away either. Back in 2016, I chuckled at the idea of Apple Notes being an Evernote replacement (the idea used to make me think “aww, bless!”) Yet Apple Notes is as close to the core as you can get without dropping down to plain old text. Recent updates in iOS and macOS have really made Apple Notes a much more capable system for taking notes, saving content, attaching other files.

    Therefore, I’ve decided that Apple Notes shall be my note-taking and stuff-clipper of choice. Additionally, Pages, Numbers and even Keynote will be the content creator apps of choice for beefier documents. Storage of my docs, plus the all-important scans of any inbound paper or files from others, is iCloud, which I’ve been using as my online file store for years now, and it’s fine too. My new system is therefore l triumvirate of Apple Notes, iWork and iCloud Drive, warts and all. Not as powerful as Evernote, not as convenient, (and boy do I miss OCR searching), but it works and it’s close to the core OS and therefore as future-proof as I think any digital system can be. Security was another factor in my decision. I trust Apple more than Evernote or Google or anyone else in my desire for privacy.

    So on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, I exported all 8756 notes from Evernote, and imported them to Apple Notes. I saved the .enex files as backup, then I deleted *all* of my notebooks from Evernote, then uninstalled the app from all devices. This feels final!

    I’m sure I’ll check out any new note-taking apps that come along – I really like them! But I’ve stopped looking for an Evernote replacement for now. I *really* miss OCR of documents (which neither Apple Notes nor iCloud does) but I’m going bet that this feature and more will arrive at some point in future. Importing and syncing >8,000 notes into Apple Notes did not go 100% smoothly, but I was able to sort it out in the end, and everything seems to be holding up OK on iOS and macOS. Folder management in Apple Notes is really buggy, and thus far is only really a feature on macOS, but I’m looking to the future and I think things can only improve.

    That’s it – hope you don’t mind the too-long comment! Think about what would happen if Evernote pulls the plug (or sells everything to someone else, yikes), then think about what it would mean for you if it happened again in three years, or ten years or twenty years. Your notes, documents and files are only ever going to increase in number and importance, so you want the best mix of future-proofing with digital convenience. Good luck in your search!

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    1. You win comment of the year (so far) on my blog!! 😉 I’m really tempted to consider Apple Notes as an alternative. But my docs live in Dropbox, which I trust. Though the syncing of notes via iCloud seems to work just fine. I might test it in parallel with EN for a while, just in case I decide to move back. But your experience – and IT expertise – has swayed my mind a little on this… Thank you!

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  3. Technology, for all the benefits, doesn’t meet all of my needs. Several colleagues experienced extreme frustration and disappointment with Evernote when it launched so I avoided that pitfall completely. I continue to use a memory-drive to back-up and store all my important data. Naked hugs!

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