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Your Start-Up Business: Make A Product You Love To Use

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Talking to Phil Libin about his third (and most famous) company, Evernote, on the surface seems like a lesson in how not to make something. "We're not social." "It's really hard to pitch the idea of Evernote in a pithy way." "We make things which we want first." But therein lies the genius of why Evernote has had rousing success since its inception in 2007.

Evernote, like Twitter and Foursquare is a business without precedent. The product, dubbed "Your Second Brain," came out of a merging of two teams who had made enterprise solutions in cryptography and e-commerce for large corporations. (This is not a story about two 25-year-olds in a basement who made good.)

Phil and his co-founders bootstrapped Evernote themselves for a year. No small feat. During that year, they focused on one goal: making a product they really, really wanted to use.

Karen: Can you walk us through the genesis of Evernote?
Phil:

Karen: When your number one goal is to make something strictly for your own purposes that no one understands yet, how do you pitch it to investors?

Phil:

Karen: Evernote is on every platform. (Desktop, mobile, browser clipper.) How crucial was that to your success?

Phil:

Karen: Once you're on every platform, there's a problem: How do you get people using it? What was your acquisition strategy?

Phil:

Karen: Is there anything in your journey you would change if you could go back?
Phil:

Karen: Something people are very curious about, which Evernote has made headlines for in the past, has been your company culture. Can you explain the philosophy, and how you put paid to it?
Phil:

Evernote is launching Evernote Business this year and has to date over 30-million users.