From Socks To Laptop Sleeves To Scanners and Backpacks Discover the New Evernote Market
A year ago, Phil Libin stood on stage at Evernote’s annual conference and announced a cease-fire with paper. As the CEO of a company whose primary product is note-taking software, Libin had fought a years-long battle against physical goods for customers. But the time had come for a truce, he said, before introducing the Evernote Smart Notebook by Moleskine. At the time, the notebook looked like a novelty — a one-off partnership designed primarily for its entertainment value. In truth, though, the notebook represented the start of a new era for the company. One of Silicon Valley’s fastest-growing software companies is going unexpectedly analog.
Today, at its third annual conference in San Francisco, Evernote is unveiling a marketplace for high-end physical goods carrying the company’s brand. There’s the Evernote ScanSnap, a high-end scanner that integrates deeply with its note-taking software. There’s a fine-tipped stylus for writing on tablets and smartphones with added precision. There’s a partnership with 3M to brand its iconic Post-Its with Evernote’s logo and encourage people to digitize them using new features in the company’s software. Then there are lifestyle goods, selected for their “smartness,” including a triangle-shaped messenger bag that sits flat when you set it on the ground; a wallet as slim as a money clip, built from a single piece of fine-grained leather; and a laptop sleeve that fits perfectly even though it has no zipper.
All told, Evernote Market reflects the company’s enthusiasm for products that make you smarter. But it also represents an important evolution of the company’s business model. Evernote has long been the poster child for “fermium” software, in which a small fraction of its customers pay for added features while the rest use it without paying. Lately, the company has embraced a more old-fashioned business model: selling goods for money. Evernote sold hundreds of thousands of the Moleskine Smart Notebooks, giving the company hope that its customers will buy other physical goods. Libin sees Evernote as the ultimate brand for the knowledge worker, and says there’s no reason that has to begin and end with software.