Hiten Shah’s deep-dive into the history of Evernote is a very interesting read from a product management perspective. Of particular interest is the immense damage they inflicted on themselves due to a lack of focus on their core mission:
It’s hard to understate the damage that the branded products sold through the Evernote Market inflicted on the Evernote brand. It made absolutely no sense. Users didn’t want Evernote-branded tablet styluses or Evernote Moleskine notebooks or Evernote backpacks. They wanted an organizational and productivity product that worked.
The fact that the 2013 version of Evernote was widely considered the buggiest, most unstable version the company had released at that point added insult to injury. Rather than fixing the software problems that users actually cared about, Evernote started selling branded backpacks instead.
This is such a good example of the importance of knowing the core value of your product, and deepening that reach instead of trying to broaden into unrelated areas where you don’t have a core competency.