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A Theory of Outliner Software Market Development

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Posted by Vincek
Oct 12, 2011 at 01:35 AM


Alexander,  Your post really piqued my thinking… thanks.  I read your other posts on the forum about how Evernote tags can be used to provide hierarchical structure.  I was not aware that Evernote had the ability for multiple levels of nesting; I had been presuming that the nesting feature allowed for only 2 levels.

For example, I tried creating and nesting 4 levels of tags—animal, dog, corgi, welsh.  If I understand your suggestion, I can tag an note with CORGI and then view it through the tag structure on the bottom of the left column of Evernote.  Yes?  I can scroll up/down through the different levels of tags and see the various notes with a specific tag.

This takes me a lot further than I realized I could go with Evernote in the organizing phase.  This gives me some sense of hierarchy, but not the whole forest.

While I can see the theoretical potential of using Evernote for initial organizing, I am still not sure how practical this will be for my purpose of writing a book.  I will have to play around with it, and I welcome your suggestions.  I would love to see examples if you or anyone else can provide.

While better integration between Evernote and outlining programs is desirable, I can not afford to sit around and wait for this to happen. Perhaps this will be available for my next book.

So your suggestions of Infoqube and Sense got me to take another look at other software options for organizing/writing that have been suggested on this forum.  I probably lean toward Scrivener for Windows at the moment, and I thank you for helping me lift my blinders.

Thomas, I understand your skepticism about Evernote. Of course I cannot disagree with the risks you mention…they are all real.  My best defense is to pick a platform that allows for data portability (i.e., I can pick up my data and take it to another platform), and Evernote seems to grasp the importance of this feature for customer loyalty.

Consider the end-game market for data capture platforms (or whatever you want to call Evernote).  There are a lot of indirect network effects in this market—good apps attract more users, more users attracts more developers, and so on.  Thus the market likely only will support a few competing platforms/apps (probably similar to smartphone market where Apple OS and Android have clear lead in both # of users and # of apps).

Yes, outliner software is not a huge market. In the long run, probably makes more sense to think of outliner software programs as apps that will plug into data capture platforms, rather than stand alone programs as they are today. With 400K paying customers, Evernote has a huge lead.  With $50 million in investment, they have potential to extend the lead. Could they lose this lead? sure…anything is possible.  There is risk in picking any software app or platform, and part of my thinking certainly is to minimize that risk… but there is unavoidable risk in ANY selection.

Thanks again for all who have posted on this forum.  Studying your posts has helped me learn a lot and clarify my thinking about my next steps.