I have a four year old son. And like most four year olds, he’s a creative genius. One day as I was watching him play with Lego, I finally understood the problem with Evernote.
You see, this is Evernote:
And these are your notes:
You need a place to put your notes right? Well Evernote is a great place to put your notes. They never get lost. They’re stored safely away. And when you want something in particular, Evernote can help you find it.
But imagine if this was the only way you could interact with your Lego collection. It would be a disaster. Because while collecting the pieces is important, what’s more important is what happens next.
As any four year old knows, when you spread all those pieces out in front of you, something magical happens. You stop seeing the pieces, and you start to see what they could become.
If there was ever anything special about the human mind, this is it. The ability to see things that don’t exist yet, by making connections between things that do.
“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.” — Steve Jobs
But this is where Evernote lets you down, because all of your notes are in silos accessed by tags and search terms. And that means all you ever have are the pieces. You can never see that this goes with that, that the note you made yesterday fits perfectly with that research you did last week. Evernote makes seeing those connections impossible.
And missing those connections is making you less creative.
Maybe this doesn’t matter to you. Maybe you use Evernote to store your tax receipts or shopping lists. But if you’re trying to use Evernote for any kind of creative work, I’ve got bad news. Evernote is holding you back.
You may never see this helicopter boat:
Or this four-winged dragon plane:
That means the world is going to miss out on some great ideas.
And that’s the real problem with Evernote.