Evernote – 2014

If you have to sync with Windows or Android, it’s still a great product. Highly recommended.


The second Wednesday after I started at Mozilla, while I was still in the Bay Area for orientation and training, I got this note:

I came across your profile today and was very impressed with your background and projects!  I’m not sure if you’re familiar with Evernote, but our goal is to help the world remember everything, communicate effectively, and get things done. We’re now nearing 100 million users worldwide!
We currently have a Mac OS opportunity available and your background looks like a great match! To tell you a bit more, our core team will always stay small (we say no larger than you’d invite to your house for dinner), but at Evernote, a lot of our initiatives are cross-platform so we often have other engineers cycle on and off as needed for various bits of functionality. We currently have a lot of these initiatives going so there are probably another 8-10 engineers in our codebase right now located around the US, Germany, and Switzerland. Our Design and QA also sit right next to us. We’re like a big family.
With regards to our projects, we are in the midst of a complete redesign of our existing Evernote Mac application. It will include sweeping architectural changes that will allow us to take advantage of more recent OS X technologies as well as share more code with our other Evernote clients. Our goal is to produce a much more light-weight client that feels quick, responsive and modern.
If this sounds interesting to you, please let me know a good time to chat further!

Argh! Where were they 3 weeks earlier? Or better yet, two months earlier?

I responded that I had just started a new job, and that I wasn’t interested in moving to the Bay Area anyway, and they responded:

Thanks for getting back to me! We are open to remote work for this role if the skill set is suiting for what we are looking for. I don’t want to waste your time so please let me know if you are wanting to learn more and I will definitely set up some time for you. However, congrats on your new role with Mozilla!
Looking forward to hearing back!

Now I was in a quandary.

I took the job at Mozilla for three reasons.

  1. I needed to work, and it was the only offer I had. It was a QA job, and I had been hoping to be rid of QA forever, but what can you do?
  2. One of my best friends recommended me, one of my favorite managers was the VP, and another acquaintance was a former coworker of mine, all from Cygnus.
  3. It was work on open-source, which I had missed since leaving Cygnus/Red Hat.

So, I knew nobody at Evernote. It was certainly not open source.

But, I loved the product and used it. It would have meant staying as a software developer, rather than being in QA. And, I could have worked remotely.

I should have interviewed. I was already in CA; they and I could have got the interview process to work. And then, if I got an offer, considered it on its merits. If I accepted an offer, it would have meant telling 3 friends that their recommendations and interviewing were a big waste of time.

So I said no.


  • I loved Evernote, but their pricing started being pretty high. And then Apple introduced Notes with iCloud syncing. Since I did not have to sync my notes with Android or Windows anyway, I ditched Evernote at that point. It’s a shame when Apple Sherlocks you.
  • You have to take care of yourself. Disappointing my friends was the primary reason I did not interview. I will never know if that position would have worked out, but I knew it was in development which is what I wanted. I should have taken care of myself; true friends would have understood.



Google Again – 2014

On my third day on the job at Mozilla, I got an email from Google (see Google – 2014 and War of Attrition – 2014 for my previous encounter with them in 2014):

I came across your background from a previous application and I’d like to know if you’re open to exploring roles at Google again. If you are, I’d be happy to set up a time to speak with you about roles in the Software Engineering department. Let me know a good day and time for us to chat privately, best contact number and I’ll set something up at your convenience.

Also, if you could forward me a copy of your resume. Thanks and I look forward to hearing from you!

I replied:

David, thanks for contacting me. I just interviewed at Google in February, and was not extended an offer. I just started a job at Mozilla this week. Not only that, but Mozilla is allowing me to work at home in Austin. I am not likely to want to move to the Bay Area.

That being said, I am open to talking to you. I am available at 9:00 tomorrow if you want to call me. I am in town this week training at Mozilla.

I don’t think you would convince me to move at this point.

He did call, and we talked. Turns out, Google had two separate files on me, so he did not know that I had talked to them in the previous few weeks. He promised to consolidate those files. He was still willing to start the process if I wanted to interview again. I still really wanted to get back in to software development instead of QA, but there were several strikes against it:

  • I would have to move to California again, instead of working at home.
  • One of my best friends started me on this job. One of the best managers I had worked with was now my grandboss. I had another friend in the same department. I would have screwed all of them somewhat if I had left after only a few weeks/months.
  • I just did not feel right about interviewing for another job the first week on a new job.

So I said, No Thank You.

That being said, I already saw problems at Mozilla.

  • There had been a CEO controversy that sprang up between the time I accepted the job and the time I had shown up. My first day was the first day of the new, second-choice CEO.
  • The Desktop browser division, of which I was now a part, was not being funded anymore; we were on maintenance mode. All of the energy and money was going towards Firefox OS, a new mobile phone OS designed to go onto phones in developing countries. Walt Mossberg has an excellent history of this process.
  • There was no energy in the people in the office. Everybody was depressed. There was a feeling of despair in the air.

So, on the 3rd day, I knew something wasn’t great about Mozilla. Which is a shame, since I was so excited to be in open source again.