Evernote, OneNote and Behavioural Economics

Copyright Evernote

Copyright Evernote

My journey with Evernote started around October 2010. It was the only note taking app that uses cloud storage. During those years, Apple Note was only offline, meaning that you couldn’t access your notes from your MacBook or iPad. Therefore, Evernote was a ground breaking tool. Also, the free features of Evernote were amazing. Although you knew that the paid version is better, the free features weren't that restrictive.

After a few years, O2 started to offer free Evernote Premium service to its customers. After that moment, my life with Evernote changed fundamentally. I had the chance to utilise every single feature of Evernote and I used it for literally everything. I can see my life on Evernote for the last nine years.

Evernote grew larger and larger. They even started to make backpacks and t-shirts! That move was a bit unnecessary; aggressive brand extension doesn't really work if you are not a brand like Ferrari! Ferrari still makes more money from Ferrari Store than it does by selling cars.

When O2 stopped their offer for Evernote, I decided to pay for it. I was using all the features, the cost wasn't that high, and still there were no proper substitutes at that moment. For a very long time, I used Evernote Premium and it became a part of my life beyond work life.

In the passing years, Microsoft released OneNote, Bear arrived from nowhere, and Apple Notes improved a lot. Unfortunately, Evernote didn't change much and suffered serious problems. Still, I kept using it. Until they changed their pricing and forced people to buy a service they would never benefit from or use!

Whilst making this radical change, the free version became very restrictive and couldn’t be used. People like me had to pay for the service, otherwise their life would be ruined. I couldn’t easily move my 15GB of notes to another platform. However, I wasn't happy to pay for services I would never use.

Anchoring is a particular form of priming effect whereby initial exposure to a number serves as a reference point and influences subsequent judgments about value. The process usually occurs without our awareness (Tversky & Kahneman, 1974)

At that moment, my behavioural economics mind kicked in! My anchoring point for pricing is basically free, Apple Notes and OneNote. OneNote is already part of my Office365 subscription, so why I should pay extra for Evernote's features that are not beneficial to me. My mind is not able to identify any goals or benefits to using Evernote.

Loss aversion is an important concept associated with prospect theory and is encapsulated in the expression “losses loom larger than gains” (Kahneman & Tversky, 1979).

As a result of this, loss aversion kicked in so badly! According to Kahneman, we are 3.5x times more likely to feel the pain of loss than the gains. My mind was focused only on the loss, focus effect. I didn't see the other benefits of using Evernote. Also, Evernote's outdated features made things far worse.

OneNote was getting better and better. However, Evernote was a nostalgic platform where I tried to sustain everything. Unfortunately, one day, I decided to move to OneNote when I nearly ran out of my monthly data allowance on Evernote.

I decided to start to use OneNote from scratch and learn how I can use it. I started to like it. It is a Microsoft app and still has Microsoft's taste of design. However, it was working really well and it was free.

An app that is free and satisfies your goals is dangerous, because it will make it harder to move to a paid scheme. The pain of loss will be much higher than 3.5x times when I move to Evernote again. Even moving to Bear for £1.99 will be too much. I know this sounds really crazy but using a free app and being satisfied with it is not good for the competitors.

At the moment, my brain is establishing a habit of using OneNote and it has started to replace Evernote as a nostalgic piece. After a few more weeks, I will get more and more familiar with OneNote, despite having used Evernote for 9 years.

The nostalgia effect of using Evernote is dented by the wrong pricing and stagnated features. I can't say I will be 100% loyal to OneNote. I will see when I will back to Evernote again.