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ifanRank 是我们针对本年度新酷产品和移动互联网界的榜单,以 ifanr 独特的视角来进行评价。这些依托于客观事实的主观的评价,基于我们对用户体验和产品、服务的深刻认识。和我们一起回顾,品味它们的片段与细节,相信一定会在更深入的洞察中产生更强烈的共鸣,这也正是这些“范儿”才能具备的魔力。

在这个行将逝去的 2012,我们目睹了科技公司权力的更替交接,杰克·多西在 Twitter 式微,拉里·佩奇从幕后走向前台;我们眼见了风雨飘摇下雅虎的力挽狂澜,巾帼领袖梅耶尔临危受命;我们喟叹“后乔布斯时代”苹果的弊病与危机,“iOS 之父”福瑞斯特离职;我们也见证了巨头转向时的波澜与震荡,辛诺夫斯基黯然作别微软……然而,在浮浮沉沉的科技浪潮中,永不熄灭的是技术力量背后闪烁的智慧火花,是商业背后执着的梦想与野心。

我们全景关注了这个令人目不暇接的 2012,一个精彩的 Beats of Bits,这也让我们在评选今年 ifanRank 的时候颇费周折。一个可以在风云激荡的科技大潮中异军突起的人,一个标杆性的足以为年度划上终止符的人,绝不仅仅是在业界翻云覆雨的影响力,更是一种博大胸襟下的远见与卓识,一种技术理念的渗透与变革。

我们在评选最佳人物时,秉承这样的原则:

成就/影响

抱负/远见

理念/思考

最终,ifanr 选择了 Evernote 现任 CEO——菲尔 · 利宾(Phil Libin)为 2012 ifanRank 年度人物。

知名科技企业家早年经历总是惊人的相似,菲尔 · 利宾也有个肄业的故事。1993 年,22 岁的利宾因一门课程没有通过而未能获得波士顿大学的学位。后来,利宾从大学退学,加入了马萨诸塞州一家名为 ATG 的公司。利宾直言自己是“家族二百年来第一个没有学位、不会玩乐器、不善国际象棋的人。”

利宾真正擅长的是敲代码,早在高中时利宾就显示出在计算机领域的非凡天赋,并在 16 岁时赚到一大笔钱。离开 ATG 后利宾和几个伙伴一同创立了 Engine 5,这家主导开发电子商务软件的公司在 2000 年卖了 2600 万美元。之后,利宾创立了 CoreStreet,为政府以及经济机构开发安全系统,然而由于难以忍受政府采购的官僚主义,2006 年利宾离开了公司,三年后这个公司卖了 2000 万美元。

两次的创业经历,让利宾意识到自己想要的并不仅仅是赚钱。

“10 亿美元并不酷,真正酷的是影响 10 亿人。”

一直以来,利宾都在思索信息过载时代人类的记忆问题,他设想以一种电子方式将人们琐碎的记忆外包出去,同时,人们能够随心所欲地从文字甚至图片中抽取出有价值的信息——这便是 Evernote 的初衷。

起初,利宾计划建立一家名为 Ribbon 的新公司,但经过调研他发现硅谷已经存在一家很小的公司——Evernote,产品正是从照片提取文本以便于用户搜索,该团队由“字体识别技术支付”专家 Stepan Pachikov 带领。后来利宾出面建议两家公司合并,而非互相竞争。利宾成为了合并公司的 CEO,而公司保留了 Evernote 的名字。

尽管利宾并非 Evernote 的创始人,但他却引领了公司走过最艰难的几年。过于理想化地专注产品而一度忽略资本,这家公司距离“树倒猢狲散”曾只有几个小时。

那是一个凌晨,这家创业公司的账目已经归零,曾经踌躇满志的利宾在绝望地等待投资人的电话。他清楚,如果再没有资金入账,“明天我醒来时就要遣散公司的所有人。”

一封邮件的提示音瞬间让利宾燃起了希望,这封邮件来自一位粉丝。类似粉丝邮件他早已司空见惯,以致于差点错过了邮件的最后一行——“如果需要资金,请告诉我。”

两周后,公司收到了这位瑞典用户汇来的 50 万美金。而今天,Evernote 已坐拥 4800 万用户。这个月初,公司刚刚获得 8500 万美元融资。今年 5 月,Evernote 进军中国市场,正如它的中文名字“印象笔记”没有采用谐音生硬翻译,公司采取了诸多本地化措施,将服务器架设在大陆,在北京设立办公室,与支付宝合作……本月月初,“印象笔记”用户突破 260 万。

尽管在中国尚未掀起潮流,但在欧美等国家,Evernote 已经衍生出一种文化现象,在日本,光论述它的书籍就已经超过 30 余本。

Evernote 的成功,一定程度上源于它真正实现了“外包”大脑的初衷。在移动互联网时代,人们随时随地进行信息管理的需求和可能性被进一步提升。尽管承载于桌面平台的笔记应用不计其数,但没有几个顺利扎根于移动平台——iOS 系统自带的备忘录,充其量只是一个安插了云服务的文本文档。

当人们在浮躁的信息时代中顾此失彼,当创业者悉数扎堆于社交应用,Evernote 正在人们最基本的需求层面上,在看似难以获取收入的市场中,重构人与技术的关系。从这个角度看,利宾的探索无疑是颠覆性的。

“菲尔是一个有执著梦想去改变 10 亿人记忆习惯的人,并且他总能找到现实中可以实现功能的途径。”Evernote 创始人 Stepan Pachikov 这样评价他。

Inc. 杂志曾以“Say hello to your new brain”为题,将 Evernote 评为 2011 年度公司,而评选的理由是——

Evernote 是如何逆行业潮流而动,让用户为免费的东西付费,重新发明我们的记忆方式?

让用户为免费的东西付费,Evernote 自创立之初就拥有一套清晰的盈利模式。作为一家专注于产品的企业, 用户付费是公司的主要营收来源。“免费增值”是互联网惯用的商业模式之一,但与众多公司的手法有所不同,利宾拒绝拉大免费版和付费版的差距,免费版的功能相当完整。这使得许多投资者非常疑惑——用户为什么要为一个功能齐全的产品付费?

菲尔·利宾用“长期贪婪”(long-term greedy)诠释了他的商业逻辑。这个从“免费增值”衍生出商业模式理论认为,只有让用户长期停留在产品上才更为重要,因为“在客户长期的使用时间中我们都有机会从他身上赚钱。”

当 Evernote 囊括了你的生活琐事、心路历程以及思维火花,甚至你和女友分手的日期它都了然于心,“你会吝惜到不给你的大脑供给吗?”

利宾的梦想是把 Evernote 经营成一家“百年老店”,有人说这是一套巧妙的说辞,让人们敢于将生命中的点点滴滴托付于此。然而,信任与担当绝不是天平的两端,Evernote 承载的越多,价值和责任也越显厚重。我们试想着,可能无需百年,人们便不再需要 Twitter,Facebook 或许也不复存在,但历经一个世纪的“记忆”却不会因时间的流转而褪色,反倒在回忆和感喟中愈久弥新。

利宾从不将 Evernote 定义为一款笔记应用,他对 Evernote 有着更加美妙的定义。他不止一次在公开场合将 Evernote 比喻成用户的“第二大脑”、“个人生产力工具”,而这已然成为 Evernote 最强大的品牌力。

在管理公司上,利宾也有着一套独树一帜的经营理念和企业文化。在 Evernote 公司里,人们找不到独立办公室,也没有人拥有更好的椅子。“我们努力让这个组织帮助每个人搞定自己的工作,因此我的工作就是让排除一切风险以及一切干扰到员工注意力的东西,因而员工的注意力能够集中在工作进度上。”

受一个在三叉戟核潜艇部队工作的朋友启发,利宾允许 Evernote 里的每个人自愿申请到其他岗位工作的机会。此外,员工还可以申请参加公司的任何会议。

利宾反对员工通过电邮沟通,力主根除公司任何形式的电邮文化。他认为,沟通是宁愿走到真人面前说。当利宾外出时,他会遥控一个机器人 Anybots 四处溜达,代表自己与员工交流。

Evernote 没有正式的休假规定,然而利宾却向员工提供了“无限制休假”。当然,前提是员工完成了工作并做好了交接。利宾生怕员工不去度假,甚至为真正度假一周的员工提供 1000 美元的基金。

利宾有个更大的愿景,将产品打造成为“全人类记忆中枢平台”。从 Evernote Food(食记)、Evernote Hello(人脉)到 Evernote Trunck (百宝箱)打造平台化的开始,Evernote 正在号召外界力量完成这个一己之力难以实现的计划。这个梦想离利宾已经越来越近。

这就是 ifanRank 2012 年度人物——菲尔·利宾,专注于细节,执着于长远,他正在从最底层的需求,改变互联网时代人们的记忆方式。


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