Phil Libin starts with a confession. "Right before going onstage, I always panic quietly," says the slightly rumpled 41-year-old CEO of Evernote. "And I consider running away." He is giving the opening keynote at his company's third annual user conference in San Francisco. But much of the audience isn't looking up. Many of the thousand or so attendees are multi-tasking, hunched over phones, tablets, laptops, even dead-tree notebooks. Libin isn't fazed. They're just practicing what he's about to preach.
Evernote, for the uninitiated, is a nine-year-old service that allows users to upload notes text, images and audio recordings and organize them in online notebooks. The app's search function can quickly and accurately recognize words within pictures, making it simple to turn to Evernote to find something you may have jotted down during a meeting the way people turn to Google to find Web pages.
In other words, Evernote, the fast-growing service which now counts 75 million registered users, is an attempt to address the peculiarly modern problem of self-data deluge.