Evernote’s Platform Struggles

As the company is learning, building a platform is much easier said than done.

Evernote is indispensable to untold numbers of people, and CEO Phil Libin knows it. As a result, the company is not lacking in ambition or funding (reportedly, $250 million raised so far). As former TechCrunch writer recently Jason Kincaid put it, Evernote literally “aims to be an extension of your brain.”

At least, that’s the theory.

The company has fumbled of late on a number of fronts. As a recent TechCrunch article explains, on 01/04/14 Libin:

responded to the scathing criticism of the company made in a blog post [by] Kincaid. A post which ended up making headlines recently. Libin says new versions of all the apps are planned, targeting note editing, navigation, search, sync and collaboration.

Stability: The Heart of Evernote’s Platform Struggles

Evernote is learning that building a platform is far from easy.

2014 may well prove to be a better year than 2013 for Libin et. al. Still, Evernote’s recent struggles only underscore the difficulty of creating a true platform–one that works on Android, iOS, Macs, PCs, Google Glass, etc.

Let me be blunt: Building a platform isn’t easy. Sure, the term is all the buzz these days, but operating on all different mobile and computing operating systems and devices is much easier said than done—never mind building a company based on platform thinking. For every Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google, there are many companies struggling to succeed in the platform business.

Simon Says: Faux “platforms” guarantee nothing.

Grand ambitions for platforms are all fine and dandy, but it’s best to get the product right first. Exhibit A: IBM with Watson. Does it need to be perfect? Of course not, but a “platform” sans a working, stable, and reliable core product behind it is unlikely to go anywhere.

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