If you're a long-time Evernote user, you probably recall when the company's tagline was "remember everything." Today, as the software maker attempts to define itself as the one-stop shop for all of your productivity needs, Evernote's new tagline is "for your life's work."
At the fourth annual Evernote Conference Thursday in San Francisco, the company's founder and CEO Phil Libin demonstrated several products to show how the company aims to achieve that goal.
Evernote, which started out as an application that allowed people to write and organize notes and store them in the cloud, now offers a presentation tool, collaboration features, and even a marketplace that sells products like scanners and moleskines.
The company has more than $300 million in capital, and as of 2012, a valuation of over $1 billion.
Libin says he wants to get all of its more than 100 million users to completely convert from working in documents to taking notes, from making PowerPoints to using its presentation mode, and from messaging on gchat to IMing colleagues on Work Chat.
"We no longer need these archaic concepts of slides and files and docs and folders," Libin told CNBC before the conference. And he reiterated this idea several times during his two-hour presentation. Libin said that the original metaphors--like documents, folders and inboxes--once used to entice people to go digital are archaic and have outlived their usefulness. It's an ambitious goal, considering these "archaic" tools are still mainstays in most offices.
So what does the future of work productivity look like to Libin? It definitely doesn't involve a digital rendering of a 8.5" x 11" sheet of paper. Here's a more in-depth look at some of the tools Libin hopes will become a part of your every day workflow.
1. Presentation mode
Presentation mode is a previously existing Evernote feature. It allows users to take a note and convert it to a more presentable format to be used during meetings. Rather than forcing a user to cobble together slides in a logical format, the feature takes the work that's already been done in Evernote, and automatically adds breaks between the text.
The idea is not to throw away any of the context the user had been working on. It's also meant to be a time saver.
"The goal of these meetings should be to increase the amount of information in the room. To get people to make better decisions. Not just convince people of a dumbed-down version of your point of view," Libin said, in a jab at PowerPoint.
The presentation mode now allows users to add and resize images and tables right in the note. That way they're formatted properly for presentation time.
"I have always felt that it would be better for me if I read more Wall Street Journal content, I would be better at my job. But the time that I actually have to sit and read is pretty limited," Libin said.
In answer to this problem, Libin unveiled Context, a feature that integrates Evernote with WSJ. When a user is typing a note, Evernote searches WSJ for relevant and recent articles. That way users can hop over and read the article, and, in addition, with a click, they can add and cite any part of the text right in the note.
Libin said this feature will also integrate with other business outlets like Factiva, TechCrunch, Fast Company, and--full disclosure--Inc..
3. Work Chat
Libin also introduced a feature new to Evernote that's been done elsewhere. Work Chat in Evernote allows users to collaborate on the same note. Users can see who else is looking at a note and then they can open up a chat window to discuss it.
This year, Dropbox launched a similar feature called Project Harmony that allows two or more people to sync versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint docs and then discuss the project using a chat feature powered by Dropbox. The difference is that these conversations are happening in Microsoft programs, which, again, Libin wants to do away with.
Libin said that Evernote was inspired to add this feature because, for large companies, it imitates the collaboration habits of a small startup.
"This feeling of knowing what everyone is working on ambiently leads to extreme productivity, [the] hyper productivity of companies of that size. Because you can have lots of conversations at exactly the time when it's most effective and constructive to have the conversation."
So, in a nutshell, this is Libin's vision for the the ultimate productivity suite. "When your content and your work and your communications are all going to be happening at the same time in the user experience inside of all the apps, you get something like this," he said.