Last week, I got to visit Evernote‘s headquarters in Redwood City, California. Evernote brought all of its ambassadors out for a kind of training/meetup and it was a unique experience. As I mentioned last week, it was a whirlwind trip for me. I got on a plane to San Francisco at noon on Thursday, and I was back home before 7am on Saturday. But those 36 hours were packed. I got to meet new people, see an old friend, and be one of the recipients of Evernote’s incredible hospitality.
The Evernote Ambassador program1 is one in which enthusiastic users of Evernote help to spread the word about Evernote and how we use it in our particular areas of expertise. There are 20 ambassadors. It turns out that I was a member of the original 8 (I hadn’t realized this until last week). Ambassadors are not paid, we are volunteers. We try to provide real world use cases of how we use Evernote so that others can learn from people who are using it to do real things. Sometimes, these things aren’t even things that the folks at Evernote thought of–and they seem to really like that. They learn as much from us as we learn from them.
So we were treated very well while we were there. Twelve of the ambassadors made the trip. We all met up on Thursday evening at a gastropub called Martin’s West for cocktails and dinners. This gave the ambassadors to meet each other in-person. It also gave us the opportunity to meet with the Evernote employees with whom we’ve worked so much. It was a wonderful dinner, and I had a chance to talk with many of my fellow ambassadors. Dinner wrapped up around 9pm, at which point I met my good friend, Norm, at the restaurant bar, where we had an opportunity to do some catching up.
Friday morning, the ambassadors were picked up at the hotel by a bus and driven over to Evernote’s headquarters. It was a little surreal to be there. It was also my first time inside the offices of an Internet startup company and it was pretty cool to see firsthand. From the moment you walk in and see the chalk artwork, you can tell it is a different kind of place.
We were served breakfast and each of us was presented with a box of goodies that rather took my breath away:
It included things like an Evernote Ambassador’s t-shirt–something only we ambassadors have, as well as all kinds of yummy comestibles, gift certificates for various Evernote Trunk products, to say nothing of the new LiveScribe pen. It was incredibly generous, and I think we were all trying to figure out how we’d get it back in our luggage.
But we were there to learn more about Evernote, their products and the direction of the Evernote Ambassador program. And the Evernote staff had a packed day of briefings, tours and interviews for us. We got to see the facility and get a feel for the atmosphere there, which was unlike any place I’ve visited before. I didn’t take many pictures, I’m afraid, but you should go check out Evernote’s Organization Ambassador Brandie Kajino’s blog post about the visit, which contains many photos and gives a better idea for what it felt like to be there.
Each ambassador was interviewed about why we wanted to be ambassadors and were asked other questions about our areas of expertise. I was pretty exhausted when it came time to do mine, but the excitement of the day carried my through it and hopefully, it came out alright. We also got to meet Phil Libin, and chat with him for a while as well.
We also got to meet several product managers and talk with them, and they were eager to listen to us and our ideas. It was an exciting experience all around.
The day ended with Evernote’s Friday “beer o’clock,” a big gathering of all of the employees for beer and–this time–smores–in their main cafeteria area. It was there that I said goodbye to everyone and headed for the airport. I had an 11pm flight home and was back in my house at 7am on Saturday, utterly spent.
It was a wonderful experience and the best parts for me were getting to meet the ambassadors and those members of Evernote’s staff that I’ve worked with over the last year.