John McGeachie: Bringing the right technology into the work environment can make the difference

What a difference five years makes — especially in the technology landscape.

Five years ago, the original Apple iPhone had only been out for a year and the app marketplace, which would grow to nearly 1 million apps, had just launched.

Android first became available on smartphones nearly five years ago and adoption has grown at a torrid pace ever since.

Not to be left behind, Microsoft got into the mix with what many feel is a very compelling mobile offering in terms of user experience and connectivity to important company data.

The result? We have never before seen the scale at which the creative energies of millions of software developers are exposed to a huge population of people so perfectly positioned to reward them for it.

Entering the mobile era

Until the advent of mobile, you — the knowledge worker making use of various technologies to enrich your life, your understanding of the world and your marketplace, leveraging that to build and grow a business — were split into two people.

You were forced to make device choices by anticipating what tools you’d need on any given day. The world was a mass of dedicated platforms, rigidly configured to operate “efficiently” in a single problem area or domain.

Finding the best tools

That’s not the world we live in today. We no longer want to be forced to live in a single dimension at any given time. I no more want to be confined to a narrow set of tools to do my job than I want to be chained to a desk to work all day.

Your teams are in the best position to decide what the best tool is for what they’re trying to accomplish right now. You would be surprised by how making that decision is not only productive and efficient for people, but also fun and empowering.

And it means that if I pick my tools and, by extension, my work environment, there are no excuses for failure. I have freedom to control distracting factors and focus on one thing: the quality and relevance of my work output.

This is the philosophy behind the design of Evernote — focus on a great user experience and magic follows. It starts with mobile because people make these decisions for themselves when they’re away from the work environment.

And then it is brought into work, because we have reached a point where the technology environment at work should always be as rich as what people use on their own time.

John McGeachie is VP at Evernote Business. John has more than 20 years of experience building and managing technology teams in various fields, including security, consumer and enterprise software firms. Prior to Evernote, he was CTO and VP of engineering for security software company CoreStreet. He majored in computer science and has a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College.

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