Evernote CEO: Consumerization of IT isn't about 'consumerization' at all

Summary:While making projections about the future of enterprise software, Evernote's CEO admits he hasn't seen a Powerpoint or a Word document in years.

SAN FRANCISCO---Much like Box, Evernote is often touted for democratizing productivity software and presenting a valid challenge to legacy vendors.

Perhaps then it was appropriate that Evernote CEO Phil Libin sat down for a fireside chat opposite former Microsoft executive Steven Sinofsky at the close of Box Dev Day on Wednesday.

Libin commenced by admitting humbly he thought it was weird that Sinofsky, now a senior advisor at Box since last summer as well as Executive in Residence at Harvard Business School, was interviewing him, praising his years of work on Microsoft Windows.

(However, Libin did quip to Sinofsky at one point that he hasn't "seen a PowerPoint file in years," arguing that it is the wrong model for making pitches with the exception of keynote presentations. Libin then said there is no reason for anyone to send a Microsoft Word document anymore, describing it as a way that "lawyers yell at each other.")

Evernote's road to the mass market started in the consumer world. Yet as Evernote for Business ramps up , the notetaking app is creeping into the enterprise market too .

Time appears to be on Evernote's side, wedging its way into the market at perhaps exactly the right moment . Libin outlined how business products in general have diverged sharply between people using them and the people paying for them—translating to employees and IT departments, respectively. 

"That was the whole B2B movement. That's being demolished in front of our eyes," Libin remarked.

"That was the whole B2B movement. That's being demolished in front of our eyes," Libin remarked.

He suggested that "the scarcest resource for companies" these days are employees, and CIOs and other IT decision makers would be idiots if they didn't listen to their employees' wishes. 

"Consumerization of IT doesn't have anything to do with consumerization," Libin argued, continuing on that it is more about making employees happier, which should benefit the bottom line in the long run too. 

Libin explained that when Evernote was in the process of launching as far back as 2007, the foundation of his software company started upon the same principal as many other startups: to fulfill a void—maybe even one that many consumers and business users alike didn't know existed.

"The main concept was just to make something for ourselves. We didn't have a grand vision," Libin revealed.

Sinofsky asked Libin about Evernote's present objectives , and Libin replied that consistency, in particular, isn't the goal. He explained that each team within Evernote has its own ideas, with developers and engineers all over the Redwood City, Calif.-basd company often poaching those ideas from each other. 

Libin admits that some features and products suffer from that methodology, but he posited he would rather see Evernote "be excellent, and have consistency catch up," and then the quality overall should level out.

Topics: Social Enterprise, Cloud, Enterprise Software, Mobility, Developer


Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider, FastCompany.com, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for MainStreet.com, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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