Anyone who has spent any time around me knows that I use Evernote in almost every aspect of my life. From the job that pays the bills to the freelance photography to cooking, being paperless, organizing, learning, and being more efficient. Everything that can go into Evernote does. Last week, all of the Evernote Ambassadors converged on the mothership for a one-day training session/tour. http://www.flickr.com/photos/pdxsurreal/8175817832/in/photostream
I imagine my friends were probably sick of hearing me talk about this trip. I was really looking forward to meeting the Evernote folks, and the other ambassadors. I'm generally not surrounded by people who enjoy geeking out over software, so to spend an entire day with people who wouldn't get sick of talking about Evernote, tech, etc. had to be awesome, right?
Everyone who was there early enough on Thursday night got together for drinks and dinner at Martin's West. Shepherd's Pie and Guinness? Yes please. Really, though, the entire menu looked delicious.
Friday morning, we headed over to Evernote HQ. After a quick group photo in front of the (awesome) chalkboard sketch, we filtered into a meeting room.
There were boxes.
After an early and perfectly geeky Christmas, (see the end of this post for links to the goodies,) we sat back and listened to the Evernote folks talk about what was, is, and will be. I love these kinds of presentations--they often got derailed by questions from the ambassadors, and veered off in all kinds of directions. It was definitely more speaking with and less speaking to. Phil Libin stopped by to chat for a bit, and a few ambassadors got some tech support from product managers themselves. How cool is that? Have a question about a piece of software? Get help from one of the people responsible for developing it.
We took turns doing video interviews and touring the Evernote offices. I was incredibly impressed. Walls covered with IdeaPaint, meeting rooms named after video games, standing desks, treadmill desks, an area with couches for small casual meetings, and a webcam and display that act as a "window" to the Austin offices.
Everything about Evernote centers around making it easier and more enjoyable to work. From catered lunches to a tech vending machine, the company streamlines the process, so employees can focus on what they do best.
At 4:30 on Fridays, it's Beer O'Clock. Employees gather in the cafeteria to have a beer and socialize. The day we were there, a S'mores bar was set up, as well. How awesome is that?
The ambassadors group split up after Beer O'Clock, some had to get to the airport, others went off in small groups for dinner. My group hit In-N-Out. It's just something that has to be done any time you're in California.
Spending time with the other ambassadors really put things in perspective. I'm so used to being around people who politely listen to me ramble about tech--it was actually humbling to be surrounded by brilliant people who love it as much as I do. They're an awesome group, and if you're at all interested in learning more about Evernote, it would be worth following their blogs/Twitter feeds/etc. All of the ambassadors can be found here: http://evernote.com/community/
Listening to the Evernote folks talk about their product was an enlightening experience, as well. You can read all the "employee testimonials" you want, but there's nothing like being face to face with those employees and actually seeing the passion they have for the product and company.
Phil says that they're building Evernote to be a 100-year company, and I believe it.
I wish the visit had lasted longer. Two or three days with the other ambassadors would've been awesome. There was talk about getting us all together again on a semi-regular basis, and I'm really looking forward to that.
For those of you wondering about the goodies... Here you go:
Some of the other ambassadors have written about the trip, check 'em out:
Who did that giant chalk drawing? Dana Tanamachi did.
What do you use Evernote for? And have you checked out the Evernote Holiday page?