Linda Kozlowski

Evernote has taken a dramatic shift in 2015, restructuring under new CEO Chris O’Neill and cutting 13% of their staff along with several global offices. But according to Evernote’s COO, Linda Kozlowski, the changes have been a necessary reassessment.

“It’s created a lot of change but also an opportunity to step back and rethink,” said Ms Kozlowski on stage at TechCrunch Beijing this Tuesday. “It’s easy to get spread very thin when you’re a growing company.”

While it’s been a tough year for Evernote, they’ve seen success through changes to their paid model, particularly in China. As of April Evernote rolled out a mid-tier pricing range, as well as restructuring the regional prices of their trademark premium product. They’ve since seen quadrupled the number of paid consumers in China, according to Ms Kozlowski.

“Our research showed that many people needed something that was more than our free product but not quite to our premium product,” she said. Evernote currently has approximately 15 million users in China, and is seeking partners in the market to support their growth.

Evernote launched a China version of their product, called Yinxiang Biji in China in 2012, something many foreign companies have sought to do including Linkedin, which launched a localized app earlier this year 

“There tends to be an issue with companies from Silicon Valley coming over and saying ‘oh we can do it exactly the way we’ve done it in the U.S.’, which is completely not true,” said Ms Kozlowski on stage. “You need to think about what is right for China instead of trying to impose what’s right in the U.S. on China.”

She also warned against “shiny object syndrome”, whereby companies are tempted to expand into several verticals too quickly. Evernote recently shut down several of their secondary services including Evernote Food and Evernote Hello.

This past week we had the pleasure of welcoming Linda Kozlowski, the COO of Evernote to join us onstage at TechCrunch Beijing, cohosted by Technode, to answer some questions about Evernote’s new direction in 2015 and growth in the Chinese market. The Full Video can be found here.