Taking Note – A Podcast By Evernote Episode 2. A Conversation with Guy Kawasaki.

This Is What I Learned

After a very informative and enjoyable episode #1 of Evernote’s Taking Note podcast I was looking forward to the next instalment.  As a recap, this is what I learned from episode #1.

Episode #2 started with Evernote company updates from the CEO, Chris O’Neil as well as from their Vice President of Operations and their Design Manager followed by featured guest, Guy Kawasaki.  I was aware of Guy Kawasaki but to be honest I did not really know that much about him so this podcast was a great opportunity to find out more.

This is what I learned about the Evernote company updates.

Turning an Elephant.

Evernote CEO, Chris O’Neil recently announced that Evernote was cash flow positive as a company.  This is a massive milestone for the company as it allows Evernote to control their own destiny and to invest in Evernote further.  As Chris see’s it, they “are not done yet” in making Evernote as great as it can be.

Their vision is that they want to bring Evernote to as many people around the world as possible without having to raise additional funding.   The Turning an Elephant post on the Evernote blog explains this further.

Chris has been guiding Evernote for 3 years now.  In that time he sees that the most progress has been made in the following three areas:
  1. The Evernote product itself.  The search and sync function is new which make the product smoother, faster, more reliable and simply better.
  2. The Evernote team who share the passion for the mission ahead.
  3. The Evernote community which is full of amazing people from all corners of the world.  That’s us! Thank you, Chris!

Chris feels that Evernote is only just getting started. Their vision is to make Evernote play well with the other tools people use in their lives.

Chris says that he listens to user feedback from a lot of different channels and that he is in fact the No. 1 filer of bugs in the company. Yeah, wow!

Migration to the Google Cloud platform.

Ben McCormack, Vice President of Operations explains the recent migration of the Evernote data infrastructure to a more modern cloud platform.

 Source: Evernote Reaches The Cloud blog post

Source: Evernote Reaches The Cloud blog post

What does this mean and why it matters? This blog post where Evernote reaches the cloud probably explains it best however this is my summary:

  • 3 petabytes of data was migrated to the google cloud platform.  This was not only Evernote data but our data, the Evernote users own data as well.  This is the equivalent of 10 copies of EVERY book ever written in the history of man.  That is a massive amount of data!
  • All of the user date was previously managed in-house which meant that Evernote was running and managing a data centre rather than focusing more on their users needs.
  • The Google cloud platform was chosen as the core of Evernote data was in an unstructured form which is something that Google excelled at.
  • There was no real impact on the user when the migration took place.  The page load times are now better, the security is now better, and Evernote are better prepared in the case of a natural disaster if they are required to access and restore the data.
  • This migration took a total of 70 days with little impact to the user.
  • A 5 part tech update can be viewed here: https://blog.evernote.com/tech/
  • This tech blog update was written for 3 main reasons.
    1. They weren’t moving Evernote data but user data so the need for transparency was paramount.
    2. Performing a migration of this size in 70 days is a massive task so sharing best practcies to the tech community was important.
    3. The Evernote operations and engineering team had a showcase to show people what they achieved.
@evernote transfered 5 billions notes 5 billion attachments 3 petabytes of data in 70 days. What I learned from #podcast Click To Tweet

Evernote iOS 8.0

The recent iOS 8.0 update was a large update.
Kara Hodecker, Design Manager explains the design theory and evolution of Evernnote 8.0 iOS.

  • The home screen with all the icons and buttons from the previous version became a barrier between the user and their notes.
  • To access your notes or perform any action you always had to go back to the home screen. This was a little cumbersome.
  • Now, all the tasks can be accessed from your notes as opposed to going back to the home screen.
  • The key principles of the redesign were to simplify, streamline and modernise.
  • The overall goal of the update was to increase user user efficiency with quicker access to their saved notes and a faster way to create new notes.
  • Kara’s favourite change is that the Tag feature was added to the note list. Tags are now brought to the top level of the interface.
  • This update is for iOS only and looks and performs differently to other platforms.
  • Evernote has created different Evernote experiences across all other platforms based on the unique offerings from each platform.
  • The next task is performance improvements and actively gathering feedback about the new version to see how it is being used and what is liked and disliked. For me, I love the new updated version.

This is what I learned about Guy Kawasaki.

Guy Kawasaki
Of course I had heard of Guy Kawasaki, but I really did not know that much about him.

 Source: https://guykawasaki.com/resources/

Source: https://guykawasaki.com/resources/

What I did learn was that Guy was part of the 1980’s evolution of Apple’s Macintosh computer, he is an adviser to, among others, Motorola and Evernote, founding partner of Garage Technology Ventures, author of 13 books, brand ambassador of Mercedes Benz USA and is chief evangelist to Canva.
  • Guy has a lot of things going on at all times with his advisory and evangelist roles.  Besides his “grinding it out“, he says that Evernote is a great way to help manage everything he does.
  • Canva, who he is chief evangelist for, is an online graphics design company from Australian.  As a frequent user of Canva I was completely surprised it originated from my home country.
  • When asked about how Guy put some structure around all of his activities he quips; ” you assume I put structure into it“.  Hmmm…how does he do it!  This recent Twitter post may explain this.
  • Evernote is part of his flow.  Guy uses the email function as his main survival tool.  While he uses Gmail, he feels that his most important emails are better found when in Evernote.  Guy said he feels the search function in Evernote is better.
  • In order to stand out in anything online you have to have graphics. This is particularly important in social media.  Maybe this is why he is an evangelist to Canva.
  • Guy’s philosophy about social media is that you must “earn the right to promote by provide great value and content.
  • Guy says the advice he would give a younger version of himself would be “Don’t Quit Apple Twice.”
  • In anything he does, he is all in or not at all.
  • To see what Guy is really doing he says to follow him on Facebook.  This is where he exists.  For the “brochure” version of Guy you can see him at his website Guy Kawasaki.
  • “Guy has the golden touch.”  It is not that everything Guy touches turns to gold, but more than everything that is gold Guy touches.
  • “Earn the right to promote by providing great value and content.”


What I Learned: Taking Note – A Podcast By Evernote Episode 1

Taking Note a podcast by Evernote is described by the iTunes Podcast store as being presented by the leader in note taking and productivity.  Taking Note dives into the realms of personal and professional achievement, entrepreneurship and creative thinking.  They will interview experts and trailblazers, uncovering great ideas and best practices to help organise your work and declutter your life.

Disclaimer: The featured image on this post is credited to Evernote.

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