Notes on the PandoMonthly with Phil Libin, CEO of Evernote

Lately, I’ve been using my lunch breaks as a chance to catch up on interviews of entrepreneurs and VCs. It is the perfect opportunity to learn while eating. Since interviews can get pretty long, I thought it might be useful to blog on my favorite points from these interviews. I started last week with Albert Wenger’s interview.

A few days ago, I greatly enjoyed the PandoMonthly with Phil Libin, the CEO of Evernote. Here are a few of the highlights from my recollection of the interview.

  1. On decision making: There are many ways to make decisions, and it is important to know why you are doing what you are doing. Phil is aware of his strengths and his interests, and uses them the best he can to optimize for impact.
  2. Don’t sell: Phil has sold projects/companies already, and he has known others that have also. Aside from the money, it often turns out to be a bad decision. Evernote came from the desire to create something that lasts. The way to do that is to create a company with a mission that is sufficiently epic to be your life’s work.
  3. Secret to happiness: Phil’s secret to happiness is minimizing the time you spend with those you don’t choose to be with. Related to this is a tip he got from Steve Ballmer: you only get to really know 100 people in your life, so be mindful of who you are spending your time with.
  4. Don’t listen to conventional wisdom: Conventional wisdom spreads because it encompasses an idea that is fun to repeat. This has nothing to do with being right. That is why conventional wisdom often turns out to be wrong.
  5. On power and simplicity in design: If you are ever designing something, and find yourself making a tradeoff between power and simplicity, you are doing it wrong. The great designs are both simple and powerful. There is no tradeoff between them.
  6. iOS7’s biggest innovation: fingerprint detection. Phil makes a great case for how Apple is continuing to innovate and how the fingerprint detection could be the answer to identity on the Internet. No more passwords, CAPTCHAs, or other hokey security. Apple has our fingerprints and they could be the key to identity in the future.

Of course, these are just a small number of my favorite insights from the interview. If you have the time, I would highly suggest the listening through the interview.

(Photo credit: Yelena Sophia/PandoDaily)

P.S. This is post number #59 in a 100 day blogging challenge. See you tomorrow!

Follow me on Twitter @alexshye.

Or, check out my current project Soulmix.

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