June 24th marked the ninth year since Evernote emerged from private testing to a public open beta. Over that time, more than 200 million people have used Evernote to create over five billion notes all around the world. Much of my time is spent thinking about Evernote’s future, however on this occasion, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on Evernote’s past, its origins and more specifically about the man whose vision and foresight led him to found our company, Stepan Pachikov.
Let me explain who Stepan Pachikov is and how his notions changed the world. Every day, there is a very good chance that you’re touched by something Stepan invented.
- Ever sign your name with a stylus directly on a computer or handheld device? The ability for computers to read handwriting—that was Stepan’s invention.
- If you’re in the United States, and you’ve received a nice handwritten letter through the US Postal Service—Stepan came up with the technology used to automatically read and direct handwritten mail to the right place.
- He was also one of the pioneers of VRML, or Virtual Reality Modeling Language, so you can thank Stepan every time you play an immersive video game, too.
In 2002, Stepan first thought of creating Evernote because he was a smart guy with a terrible memory. He dreamed of a way to make a copy of your entire brain, capturing information and thoughts at the speed at which we think. He has taught me never to lose sight of the idea that “a person’s reach should exceed their grasp." He is always one or two (or several hundred) steps in front of everybody else. Stepan is a visionary in the truest sense of the word. I love listening to him talk about his personal passions and ideas on where Evernote should go in the next 5-10 years.
I want to thank Stepan. I want to thank him for insisting on product excellence. He always says, “the best product experience wins." And he’s right. I want to thank him for his curiosity, which I find inspiring. I thank him for always making me think, and for his confidence and belief in me. And I want to thank him for the immense amount of customer passion that he’s created in the world. For building this community of people who rally around the banner of Evernote.
As the late Robin Williams once said, all of us are “only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it." I’d like to thank Stepan for never losing his childlike wonder and imagination even in the face of adversity and for not being afraid to turn outrageous ideas into real, useful products — people like Stepan Pachikov are the ones who have the power to change the world. He certainly has.
To learn more about Stepan’s life and how Evernote was born, check out our latest Medium post, or join the conversation using #ThankYouStepan.