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Maybe Its Time to Cut Evernote a Break

The Silicon Valley echo chamber is a fun thing to be part of when you live there. Café and meeting room conversations manifest quickly in ugly blog posts. Inevitably they lead to widely circulated posts on Medium and more. Then you’re screwed.


Problem is, the gossip engine is rarely right.


Watching Evernote’s handling of exec changes and product launches, they are due a bit of flack. But nothing like what they are copping. The product is brilliant. Not perfect, but brilliant.


Their problem is straightforward. Lousy marketing.


Evernote is a rich product – the web clipping button is a gem. Handwriting on the new iPad pro is fun. Scanning a business card using the mobile app works great. Sharing meeting notes across any device works well. It’s all any information collecting and creating junky could want and more.

Whenever I ask someone who has joined the parade slamming Evernote, they rarely know about any of these features.


One of the key metrics for any SAAS marketer is “product full potential”. This is how many customers are using how many of the features you regard to be crucial to the product’s intent. I count about nine in Evernote. Haters seem to be using about two. Fans are close to nine.


Instead of working to increase usage they seem intent on marketing to us in an app we’ve already paid for – driving upgrades to the business edition or spotlighting team collaboration (one of the features I’m guessing they count as crucial).


So, maybe its time to cut Evernote a break. Instead of crying their demise, lets encourage a product that many of us love to grow, get better, expose the slate of innovations they’ve made.

I’d like to think they’ll realize their full potential.


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It’s Huge

Two of the most popular questions I’ve been getting of late are: why aren’t you blogging as much; and, how do you like your iPad Pro. On the first – I’ve just been flat-out working with the amazing team at Xero. On the latter, it’s well, huge.

I’m very mixed on Apple products these days. Love Apple TV but just too hard to navigate little things like seasons of TV shows. Used to love my iPhone but updates have rendered search all but unusable, the battery life stinks and everything just seems slow. My Google Nexus gets more use, and pure Android is lovely to use.

So what of the iPad Pro? The size is stunning. The screen is amazing. The pen is remarkable (if you can get one) for sketching and note taking. The keyboard is, well, unavailable pretty much. It’s staggering that a company of Apple’s size and smarts couldn’t get its supply chain wrapped around the idea that most people would want a ridiculously priced keyboard and pen. We want everything you make!

The compares to notebook computers are silly in my mind. This is the ultimate creative tool and entertainment consumption device. iOS just isn’t there as a replacement to the desktop operating system. For email, word processing, surfing the web, reading, watching movies, and more – the iPad Pro eats everything else alive.  If you, like me, need to create spunky presentations, motor through big sets of numbers, write thousands of words and the like, then you’ll be hanging onto your MacBook or Dell XPS13. Priced in the mid-range of most Notebooks, the iPad Pro is pretty much a luxury device so long as it’s not a full replacement. 

The iPad Prod is the ultimate Apple indulgence. I say that not just regarding price but in that elements like the pen and keyboard don’t work with anything else.

I’ve been using my iPad Pro for a couple of weeks now. The battery life is great. It’s a little heavy for reading books. But, gorgeous for reading mags on Zinio, Texture and the like. Movies look stunning. And I’m loving taking notes in Evernote and sketching using Paper and Zen Brush.

Other than Apple’s supply chain woes, the only other annoyance is the six digit pin – why not stick with four. Just annoying.

So would I recommend you rush out any buy one? If you are a creator, for sure. If you are hoping for a Notebook replacement, not yet. If you are a nomad and consume heaps of your favorite movies and content on the move – absolutely. Unlike my iWatch, no regrets on this one.

But since when did logic apply to any Apple purchase? We’re expected to buy as soon as they launch right? Aren’t we?

  • Learned

How Best to Drive Work Life Integration

When I was speaking at CBA’s brilliant Women In Focus Conference this week I mentioned how important it is to shoot for Work Life Integration rather than Work Life Balance. Its such an important idea I’m going to write more about it.

Then I got this email from Kemi who heard me speak. She’s a coach, writer and all round beautiful person.

As a coach to women I support my clients to navigate this exact question, and have had success for them and my family by asking this one question, to the children.

So many parents suffer guilt worrying about the time that have away from their children, and stressing about the therapy bills they may have to pay in the future. Few people actually ask the children what they want. When I am going away for work I ask my children ‘What do you need from me before I go or after I get back?’ 

The answers are never, can you do every school pick-up, can you be at every meal, can you tuck me in every night.

Over the years the responses I have had have been “ Can we do craft onThursday afternoon?’ ‘Can we go on a mummy daughter date before you go.’ ‘Can I make my own patch in the garden.’

Asking our children what they actually want from us and then following through on their ask, releases parents from guilt and has the child know that they have been considered and what they want matters.

Such great advice! You can buy Kemi’s book here


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The New TV

Is YouTube the same as TV – do they even compete? Just as they compete for viewers and attention, they also compete for marketing spend and attention. YouTube is on fire. As much as it is about the medium, its also about sales execution. What the market and commentators miss so often is that YouTube – in fact all of Google – have a killer sales machine. It’s better than any other out there. As a result the medium could be 50-70% as good as TV.

Google’s Australian managing director Maile Carnegie put the heat on TV broadcasters on Friday, claiming Google’s video platform YouTube reached more 18-54 year olds in Australia than “any single individual TV channel” and “has more than twice the reach of subscription TV”.

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Good read on new marketing forces

Nice read from AdWeek

Looking forward, here’s what brands and agencies must have a grip on to get down to 1:1 business:

Scale: It may seem like an oxymoron that the Law of One needs scale, but without personalized content to reach individuals, your precision marketing doesn’t stick. Create processes that allow you to align multiple sets of personalized creative content with various trigger points so you can deliver the true impact of 1:1.

Big data: You’ll need data from the back end (like behavioral data from websites) and customer-facing channels (like social, forms and surveys) to reach new heights of personalization. Set your tech plans in motion now.

Cross-channel integration: From desktop to mobile to retail, every channel should be informed by what you know about every customer. They shouldn’t have to explain the same issue to you on email that they just voiced over the phone. Integrate channels for a happier and more loyal customer.

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The Apple Watch

My experience has been really mixed. I’ve avoided writing about it mainly because I think the experience is largely going to be personal – and its an experience worth trying. Then I stumbled across this interview with William Gibson:

What are your thoughts on Apple’s introduction of a product that, in a very specific way, is attempting to occupy the place once held by wristwatches? Is the Apple watch a watch at all?

I backed Pebble’s original Kickstarter, then wore Pebble exclusively for the better part of a year. Fascinating experience. It’s not “a watch”, as I assume the Apple, which I’ve yet to try, also isn’t. The fundamental difference between a watch and a smartwatch is that a watch’s central functionality is to tell time in isolation. That’s the essential core goal of the science of horology, really. A watch can perform its functions perfectly from within a Faraday cage. A smartwatch can’t: its function is to be a node in a distributed network. That was easy to see in the first Pebble: it had all the physical gravitas of the cheapest Bic pen, but, eventually, it had amazingly varied functionality, via connectivity. The Apple looks like jewelry. It’ll aspire to heirloom status but I doubt it will ever be that. Attempts to render smartphones as power jewelry fail. The Apple watch, I imagine, will be a dead platform in a few years, no more collectible than old iPhones. Because it’s nothing, really, without access to a system, and the system constantly outgrows it, evolves beyond it.

How have you found it?

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