Evernote CEO Phil Libin has a lot to celebrate in Beijing this week. First things first: Evernote China, or Yinxiang Biji, turned one year old. That’s one year from Evernote China’s launch from last year’s GMIC (Libin tweeted Happy Birthday greetings to the China team on May 5).
And, the more headline worthy announcement: Evernote Business (Yinxiang Biji Business), as exclusively announced Tuesday afternoon from the GMIC main stage.
Libin’s keynote focused on the need for fresh innovation and sustaining a startup mentality across a global marketplace.
“Why is Evernote in China?”
Libin kicked it off simply, “Why is Evernote in China?”
With the obvious motivations of capturing the market share of a country with the world’s largest population aside, he positioned China as a “crucible” for innovation while exploring his question and announcing Evernote Business.
“China will be the crucible of innovation in the next decade,” Libin said, “We’re in Beijing, because Beijing is one of the top centers of innovation.”
“Evernote’s goal is to make the whole world a little bit smarter….It’s a really ambitious mission,” he said.
He furthered that ambition, “Our goal is always to make a 100-year-old startup….we don’t just want to be a 100-year-old company.”
“[We want to be] still innovative, still making quick decisions, still making quick products.”
When a startup like Evernote has so many invested groups–employees, customers, investors–alignment is key to reaching and maintaining that startup feeling. “Eliminate all the conflicts of interest.”
His desires reflected the experience Evernote strives to provide its users, a simple and direct business model, which he said “eliminates customer and partner conflict.”
When the whole world is your marketplace, how do you align your interests globally?
“Being global doesn’t mean what it used to mean,” Libin said, citing that historically global was defined by where you sold your products. He emphasized that Evernote now wants to make their products everywhere.
“We’re in Beijing, because Beijing is one of the top centers of innovation,” he said, also highlighting other cities like Moscow, Silicon Valley, Zurich and others for being global centers of innovation.
He challenged the long-held western stereotype of Chinese copycats. Chinese companies don’t just copy, he said, they copy and improve. Very few of companies started with their own idea, they copied and improved, emphasizing by naming giants Google, Apple, Microsoft.
He pinpointed the trouble with copy-cating to the hardship of local restriction of a product to China. He noted this will change and is changing, because businesses see they need to succeed beyond China’s borders.
He chastised the media for positioning business solely in agressive sports terms (Zero sum = If I win, you lose), piting them against each other, instead of collaboritively supporting one another.
“We refuse to play the zero sum game.”
“Some of the most dramatic transformation will be in business software.”
Libin traced the engine of growth in China, tracking its tilt from manufacturing to knowledge, saying success will depend on “how elegantly their employees process information.”
The segway into the big Evernote Business launch: “Some of the most dramatic transformation will be in business software.”
Evernote Business in China will stem from these principles: 1) Trust your employees, 2) Businesses deserve great design, 3) no tricks.
We’re going to sell Evernote China the same way we do everywhere else, he said, faintly referencing hardships other western businesses have faced when they don’t stick to the values and standards of their home country base, feeling they can let them fall lax in China.
“Evernote is in China so that the crucible of innovation can help us build Evernote for the world.”
Missing out on attending GMIC Beijing? Register now a Free Expo Pass for GMIC SV (full price: $100). Moscone Center, San Francisco. October 21-23, 2013.