I’ve been happily using Evernote for several months. Previously I was using Voodoo Pad and quite enjoyed it. I switched to Evernote in order to have an easily accessible iPhone app with all my notes and information that could be ported and synced. Things had been going really well. Then they came out with a paper notebook made by Moleskine. The pitch is that you can take written notes and then import then into your Evernote app by snapping a picture. Once you’ve snapped the image, the special paper allows the iPhone app to convert the written notes to text notes easily and quickly. The lines provide an easier way for the app to line up the text and make a more accurate conversion. This seemed like a great idea! They even included physical stickers that could then be associated with tags. Put a sticker on the page and the “work” or “idea” tag you’ve chosen would then automatically associate and attach to the note.
This sounded so great to me! In meetings I tend to prefer to hand write notes. I find it easier sometimes to draw a little diagram, underline something or copy what’s on whiteboard. Further, I find that it’s much more personal to handwrite notes. I’ve been in the tech industry for my entire career and I’ve found that typing notes in a meeting gives the appearance of not paying attention, even when you’re diligently focused. Even I sometimes tend to assume that everyone is just browsing their email instead of listening. Thus, paper notes that can be quickly and easily converted to searchable, readable text seems to solve the problem.
Except it doesn’t. The notebook arrived yesterday and I couldn’t get it to work no matter what I tried. I followed the directions exactly. I was able to snap an image, but not able to have the image recognized as a Smart Notebook page or have my text converted. Of c ourse I assumed it was my handwriting and had two friends try their penmanship. Even the most lovely blockscript didn’t do the trick. I updated the app and tried lots of different things. Of course the Evernote support forums are full of similar complaints. It doesn’t work.
What a disappointment.
Further disappointment came when I attempted to get support. You see, the notebook I ordered was $25 and included 3 months of Premium account status. Evernote is a classic “Freemium” model. They provide extra features, priority support and no ads for a small monthly fee. Of course the sticker on the front of the notebook proclaims how lovely your included 3 months free will be, but nowhere does it tell you exactly how to activate the premium status for your existing account.
Now things go a little off the rails, but this is how they reached the top spot for my most hated company today. I’ve been using a little app called “skitch” for years. It was a great lightweight app for quickly adding text, small icons and drawings on to images. It also took great quick screenshots and allowed you to upload your images in a variety of ways. Gawker wrote up a bit about it 6 months ago (NSFW link). A few weeks ago Evernote purchased Skitch. Things stopped working. And with the latest version, it essentially destroyed the app.
The Apple App Store reviews are full of vitriol. My favorite complaint is “If you loved Skitch, you will hate this”. “This” being Skitch under the Evernote acquisition. I have so many friends that used and loved Skitch that a few even emailed me warning me not to upgrade or I’d lose one of my most useful productivity tools.
Then the genius CEO of Evernote responds to the outrage and disappointment with flippancy and ridicule toward his users. At the very least they could have done some damage control, but instead said “deal with it, jerks,” to the longtime Skitch users who have now been forcibly converted to Evernote users and lost all of the content storage they’ve been using for years.
Thus, Evernote ranks as worst company for selling me a useless paper notebook, giving me substandard level of support eventhough I’ve paid for premium and especially for ruining a fantastic application that I’ve used for years. AT&T has been knocked to third most hated, while United Airlines hangs at second place.
On a lighter note, I really love the Blackbird Pie plugin for WordPress.
Image via sonofman in TheVerge.com comments