Why Evernote Picked Google Cloud Over Amazon

Mitch Wagner
4/24/2017
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Amazon has such an overwhelming market lead that when an enterprise picks anybody else as a cloud platform, it's reasonable to ask why.

Amazon Web Services Inc. (AWS) was the top choice for infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) for more than half of enterprise respondents to a 451 Research survey -- 55.8% of respondents, to be precise, with 35% of respondents naming Microsoft as their most important provider. (See AWS Tops in Public Cloud, but Azure Is Catching Up.)

But when Evernote decided to move from its own data centers to the cloud, it picked Google Cloud Platform. Why?

I asked Evernote that question at our recent webinar: "Evernote's Journey to the Cloud." The answer can be summed up in five words: Artificial intelligence and machine learning.

"Machine learning and artificial intelligence is the future for Evernote, and that it's Google's absolute sweet spot," Ben McCormack, Evernote vice president of operations, said on the webinar. "The things that are important to Evernote are the things that are important and interesting to our cloud provider." (See Evernote Wrapping Up Google Cloud Migration, Looking Ahead to Machine Learning.)

Evernote moved its 200 million users to the cloud at a rapid pace -- 70 days from a "standing start," McCormack said. The service made the move so quickly because it wanted to get the project done and not have it be a roadblock that slowed providing additional services and features to its users. "What we couldn't do is put the business on hold for more than 12 months while we architected the move," McCormack said. (See Evernote Gives Itself High Fives, Completes Migration to Google Cloud.)

Evernote was initially dubious about going with Google, because of the search giant's relative newness to the enterprise market. Diane Greene, who heads up the Google Cloud Platform and is behind Google's enterprise push, only joined the company about 18 months ago.


Can Google make the grade as an enterprise cloud provider? Find out on our special report: Google's Big Enterprise Cloud Bet.


However, Evernote found Google to be a hands-on partner. Google didn't just rely for support on self-service and an anonymous trouble-ticking process. Google support staff were available for personal consultations, McCormack said.

"If you give them an engineering problem the company boundaries disappear," McCormack said. "They're not the usual service provider trying to protect themselves. We have amazing engagement at an engineering level.

"We had the engineers bringing us donuts on the big migration day," McCormack said in a conversation prior to the webinar.

For more on Evernote's cloud migration, including problems it encountered and what it did about them, view the recording of our free webinar: "Evernote's Journey to the Cloud." You'll need to register, but it's a one-time process, and after that you get access to all of Enterprise Cloud News's premium assets, including other webinars (our second, "How IoT & Cloud Will Eat the World," is coming May 9), special reports, the message boards, and more.

— Mitch Wagner Follow me on Twitter Visit my LinkedIn profile Visit my blog Friend me on Facebook Editor, Enterprise Cloud News


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Michelle
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Michelle,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/12/2017 | 1:34:23 PM
Re: Google and Evernote culture
Yeah, I believe it's very very difficult to get an interview at Google. I'm sure it's just as difficult to get hired...
mhhfive
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mhhfive,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/3/2017 | 4:17:27 PM
Re: Google and Evernote culture
Ha! Michelle, that's a pretty smart angle, too. But I'm not sure how many people get past the Google interview process these days..?
Michelle
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Michelle,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/2/2017 | 2:20:51 PM
Re: Google and Evernote culture
@mhh I'm sure employees are happy with the partnership -- it's an opportunity to work with Google and gain valuable contacts for a future career move. Networking!!
mhhfive
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mhhfive,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/1/2017 | 7:00:20 PM
Re: Google and Evernote culture
Certainly the physical proximity of Google and Evernote isn't the whole story, but I'm sure it was a component. Google engineers brought over donuts for launch day.. that's a nice touch that makes partnerships like these last and feel more sustainable. 
Michelle
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Michelle,
User Rank: Light Sabre
4/30/2017 | 10:26:09 PM
Re: Google and Evernote culture
@mhhfive I didn't realize the companies were located so close together. I suppose that could be incentive to work together. Profits are probably a bigger driver than human contact. Humans like profit...

:)
Ariella
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Ariella,
User Rank: Light Sabre
4/26/2017 | 8:47:12 AM
Re: Google and Evernote culture
@mhhf1ve It all falls under what he identifies as unity; one of the qualities that help people identify with and feel some connectin to others is having something in common. I tried to find something online that summarizes his approach and found this: http://www.neurosciencemarketing.com/blog/articles/cialdini-7th-unity.htm:

Unity: It's All About Us

So what is this principle? Cialdini calls it "Unity." By that, he is referring to a shared identity that both the influencer and influencee are part of. The more we perceive people are part of "us," the more likely we are to be influenced by them. This fits with the entire theme of Pre-Suasion, which is to create a favorable state of mind just before the actual persuasion effort occurs. Reminding someone of a shared identity makes you more persuasive.

mhhfive
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mhhfive,
User Rank: Light Sabre
4/26/2017 | 12:19:46 AM
Re: Google and Evernote culture
Heh. Not quite Godwin's law. I haven't seen that particular Nazi reference used before in this context. Sean spicer could learn a bit from actually thoughtful references to WWII...
Ariella
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Ariella,
User Rank: Light Sabre
4/25/2017 | 7:28:24 PM
Re: Google and Evernote culture
@mhhf1ve there's that, and there's the sense that you have something in common, which is what makes people more inclined to like each other. Really, that's one of the things that Robert Cialdini focuses on in his latest book Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade. Toward the end he covers some episodes to account for why a particular person may have been spared under the Nazi regime. In one case, he says, the officer deliberately skipped over one man who should have been the one decimated (when they literally took that kill one person in ten to terrorize people approach) because he recognized him from his neighborhood.

 

mhhfive
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mhhfive,
User Rank: Light Sabre
4/25/2017 | 6:25:02 PM
Re: Google and Evernote culture
I think the geographical proximity of Evernote and Google's HQs must have had at least some influence in this decision, too. Sure, Google engineers volunteering to solve some problems and to work on AI projects is a great incentive, too, but both companies being located in the Bay Area doesn't hurt, either. 

Humans still like to meet face-to-face in real life.... 
Ariella
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Ariella,
User Rank: Light Sabre
4/25/2017 | 5:49:30 PM
Re: Google and Evernote culture
@mhhf1ve sometimes the official reason for selecting one provider over another is not what really pushed the decision, so we may never know what really went on or if it was just a matter of a pre-existing relationship between some key people at both companies.
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