Evernote CEO Phil Libin, we look at the usage patterns of its users. One interesting data point is that 80% of Evernote users say they use the product both at home and at work.How do people use web apps in this new, device-saturated era of the Web? In Part 3 of our interview with
Evernote is a smart phone app that epitomizes the current era of web apps. It is used over a variety of devices, it syncs easily between those devices, it augments your daily life in ways not possible before the mobile web, it can be used equally at work or home. For a more in-depth look at these and other web app usage trends, read on...
In Part 1 of our interview with Evernote CEO Phil Libin, we explored the history of Evernote. In Part 2, we looked at the future of Evernote, including its somewhat alarming plans to be your secondary brain via a brain implant. In this post, we're looking squarely at the present and how Evernote is used now.
RM: Is there a particular demographic that you've found has used Evernote more than others?
PL: It's pretty broad-based by design. So the idea with Evernote is that most people have two halves in their lives. There's the social half, which is everything you do with your friends, co-workers and family - and keeping up with them. The social half is really well represented by new technologies: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and all that stuff. But then, most people have this other half: their private half, their informational half. It's much more about keeping track of their own stuff. There really needed to be a signature company in that half. So that's where we see Evernote.
We target people that have important information centric components in their lives, which basically means it skews a little bit older. The median age for an Evernote user is about 37. We skew towards higher education, college graduates. We skew higher income, more professional people. But we've got all sorts of people using it and some of the fastest new growth [rates] are coming from students. We're starting to get real popularity in high schools. In the past, it's been people who have many things on their mind. People who have been doing things in their lives for a few years and have a lot of stuff they keep track of. So, it's been older than the typical MySpace user.
I think it's actually similar to what Twitter sees [in terms of demographics]. There's a perception that it's kids who drive the growth of the Internet, but that's certainly not true for a lot of the main services.
Mixing Work & Personal in Web Apps
RM: What are some of the main usage patterns for Evernote. You just mentioned students. I would guess they're using it for note taking in their classes and things like that. Have there been other usage patterns that have stood out?
PL: Well, they're really broad usage patterns. We interview a lot of people who use it and the usage is really all over the place. For example, I use it for everything - I pretty much live in it. It's got all of my personal information, when I travel to Japan I take pictures of everything I eat, [etc]. But it also has all of my business cards (when I get a business card, I just take a picture of it and upload it to Evernote. It also has all of my web clips, work documents - it all goes into Evernote. So it's all of my professional life and all my personal life together.
About 80% of our users say that they use Evernote both at home and at work. So, I think that's the real sweet spot for us. It crosses several generations, but there's a type of person - a modern knowledge worker, or someone who's on their way to becoming a modern knowledge worker, that has a really permeable membrane between work stuff and personal stuff. That distinction is eroding for a lot of folks. That seems to be the type of person who is becoming enthusiastic about Evernote.
RM: Yes, I've found this in my own use of Evernote - that it crosses both my work and personal life. I've got lists of things for my personal life and lists for my work life, so it's an interesting product in that respect.
PL: Yes and that's very common. That's very much what we find in our surveys. And a lot of companies are recognizing that to keep their knowledge workers happy and productive, they want to put as few artificial restrictions as possible about how they can be productive. So if someone likes using a certain set of tools for their personal life and that makes them happy and productive, a lot of companies want you to be able to use the same stuff at work. Evernote has found a really good spot in that kind of environment.
Your Own Private Google?
RM: Do you think of Evernote as like a private Google? Enabling you to search on your past, the things that you've done in the past or things that you've found in the past...
PL: A little bit. It's definitely your personal information, your personal memory. Everything that's in Evernote is highly relevant to you, because you were the person who put it in there. So, in some sense it is your personal search and it works really well when you combine it with public search.
With our Chrome extension, we just launched a feature that you can turn on in there called simultaneous search. So if you have the Chrome extension, whenever you search Google it will simultaneously search your Evernote account and it'll combine the results. Both of them [Google and Evernote] become much more meaningful because it puts context around whatever it is you're searching for.
You definitely hit on something. Obviously Google is very big, but I think a search engine for your actual life and memories is a very good way to look at it.
RM: Thanks Phil! We'd love to hear what RWW readers think of how modern web apps cross the boundaries between work and personal life. Let us know your thoughts in the comments.