Phil Libin, the CEO of Evernote, stated that “We need to be in China”. While on stage at TechCrunch Disrupt: Beijing, he explained that he wants Evernote here, not because he sees massive numbers of potentional customers, but because he sees massive amounts of creativity going on in China.
According to Phil, the goal of Evernote is to make something the more you use it the more you love it. Evernote aims to make everyone smarter by helping them store everything they might forget. In his mind there exists two sides of the world during an individuals spare time. On one side is the Zynga camp, the other is the Anti-Zynga camp. In a person’s spare time people either want to amuse themselves, the Zynga camp, or they want to be productive, the Anti-Zynga camp. Evernote wants to be the Anti-Zynga.
The amazing thing about Evernote is its retention rate. During the first few weeks of use, Evernote sees drop offs in uses, but if they can retain them for more than a month, the retention rate is nearly 100%.
Evernote is a “freemium” product, meaning that you can use it for free, but Evernote offers additional services that compliment its basic product that a customer must pay for if they want to access it. Evernote has over a 25% conversion from paid to free when dealing with customers that have been around for 3 years or more. This may sound low, but in the “freemium” zone, you’re generally happy with single digit conversion rates. To add to this stat is the fact that Evernote does not pressure it’s customers into switching to pay. Every conversion is because the customer actually converted on their own.
Phil admits that China is still an enigma to them, but they are putting a team on the ground and looking for a team leader. Since Evernote isn’t focused on capturing numbers and is more interested in helping foster creativity and learning, they think they can take hold in China and succeed.
To wrap up, Sarah Lacey asked if Phil had any advice for entrepreneurs given his own experiences. Phil said frankly, “Do what you love. Yeah, I’m not an original speaker.” Still solid words even if not original.