Being organised is an ongoing battle for many people. If you are organised, then well done, you have kind of succeeded. If you aren’t and find yourself sitting on a bus writing to do list after to do list using a biro you need to lick the end of to work (because you’ve forgotten to buy biros, again) then there are two things you will know to be true; 1) Every New Year you promise that this will be the one you become organised believing it to be a halcyon state of affairs and 2) You’ve tried several tools and technologies promising to organise your life for you.
Chances are at some point you may have stumbled along Evernote. It isn’t for everyone. It can’t wholesale change your life and it can be a little finicky (technical term). Yet it’s one of the most ubiquitous and popular life-organising sites.
What does it have to do with the cloud? Well, the cloud has pretty much transformed to-do lists. Every new site that develops offers glimmer of hope to those of us desperately in need of a PA and promises that it will make being organised if not second nature then at least easier. At the heart of this is the principle that your work and to-do lists will be usable on different devices from computer to tablet and smartphone. The connectedness of the app mirrors the way we increasingly work, from device to device. It is intuitive, working quietly away in the background allowing you to pick up a to-do list, or an essay, or a mind-map, to store pictures and link them to projects and do so how and when it suits us, the user, rather than the app.
Evernote is far from the only app or platform using this concept to offer a service to people. Think of Netflix for example or Google. It works because of the cloud. The cloud enables users to save all their information on a single drive which can be accessed via different devices.
Yet what this set-up has enabled the makers of Evernote to do is to try new things. Building on its original premise, to help make people more organised, it is expanding and branching out. Six months ago they launched an online store offering tangible props and tools to bolster organization. The first wave of products were designed for the desktop. The next are handheld so think pencil holders, a catch all tray and a tablet stand. Made in plastic and wood they have a utilitarian feel, a simple and modernist design. They’re functional yet sleek and stylish.
Who knows if this is going to work? Who knows if the fans of Evernote who’ve built it into a multi million $ company are going to want branded products on their physical desktop as well as their virtual one. Yet Evernote gets how the cloud works, their app has illustrated that clearly. And they’ve taken the principle of the cloud very simply and allowed it to work as part of their business model. So the app they have developed online works. There’s a principle at the heart of that that people buy into. The online shop is an extension of that. Because the cloud enables them to work in a streamlined way they are able to use the rest of the time for innovation, of thinking about different ways they can try out their brand and use it to make new things. The online store is also cloud based so they don’t need an extensive bricks and mortar outlay. It’s cost-effective and its flexible.
This is what working in the cloud means. It’s about using it to solve a need and to make working easier. But it’s also to try new things and to experiment and see if they work. And heh, if some of us become more organised along the way then that’s just a bonus.