Evernote CEO: Actually, nobody wants BYOD

Phil Libin talks BYOD at today's Evernote Conference. Credit: Matt Rosoff

Evernote CEO Phil Libin has a memo to all the IT departments worried about the bring-your-own-device trend: Employees don't want BYOD either.

"They don't want to bring their own devices to work," said Libin in his keynote today at Evernote's annual conference in San Francisco. "Your employees want Macbooks. They want the newest iPhones, the newest Samsung phones. They don't want to bring their own devices, they just want a great experience. They're willing to go to so much trouble to have non-crappy experiences that they're willing to drag their devices to work."

The point? That's how Evernote thinks about itself. It was designed for humans -- consumers, if you will -- and as Evernote pushes into workplaces with its Evernote Business product, the focus remains relentlessly on the user. He drew a sharp contrast against traditional enterprise companies, who pitch primarily to IT departments.

"It's really, really tough to make a great product if you have to serve two masters," he said. "What we try to do is make your experience at work if you're using Evernote just as good at your experience at home. Or slightly better."

Libin gave three concrete examples of recent additions that help make Evernote "smarter" for work. 

  • Send To Meeting. This gives users the option to take a picture or a note and, with one button, share it with everybody who's in a meeting with them right now. Evernote figures out who's in the meeting by looking at the user's calendar and other information. Libin said "it's not rocket science."
  • PDF markup and annotation. This feature used to be in Skitch, a company with an app that Evernote acquired in 2011, and is now in all Evernote clients. Unlike the "horrible" markup feature in Microsoft Word, which Libin calls "passive-aggressive", it's got simple annotations like arrows and stamps like hearts and checkmarks. When Evernote implemented it in the company, Libin says, it reduced the time working on collaborative projects tremendously. "It eliminated all the passive-aggressiveness out of business communication. You point and say what you like and what you don't like." 
  • Presentation mode. Libin called this feature, which is Mac-only for now, "My favorite Evernote feature this week." It allows users to move through a presentation simply by pressing the space bar, and the mouse acts like a laser pointer. You can also select a bunch of notes to create a multi-note review for the whole group, then turn those notes into a table of content. The company knew it was onto something because "as soon as it hit super-early alpha, everyone in the company started using it, all the time, without being told," Libin said.

Evernote said that 8,000 companies have started using Evernote Business since it launched last spring, and the company today announced version 2.0 with enhancements such as connectivity to LDAP and Active Directory for user management and a bunch of interface enhancements.

The company also announced Evernote for Salesforce, a version of the product that integrates with Salesforce.

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