Incipient demand is demand that you have, that you don’t know you have. This post is going to talk about a GTD-organizing market that could exist for Evernote, but which does not today: Evernote on my NAS but not on the internet.

Step 1: A Platform:

In the beginning was DARPA net which then morphed into the internet. Since 1992/93 the internet has been splitting and refactoring itself into both software and hardware platforms. For example, email was a software platform for the use and monetization of the internet, then FTP, then a big leap to Skype, Twitter, Facebook … etc. You can tell when a software platform is about to go mainstream: (1) first the platform publishes an API (application programming interface) that allows developers to use the platform in new ways, and (2) the new apps using the API precipitate a stampede to the platform. And example of a hardware platform for the internet might be Cisco routers, or even, the iPad.

Incipient Applications:

SMS messaging on phones is not something that users asked for in advance. SMS was dreamed up because the capacity to do messaging was not being used.  Invented in 1984 SMS did not enter phones until 1993 and in 1995 the average phone user sent .4 text per month. Fast forward from 1995 to Twitter, and we see new use models (Example: #Hashtags) evolve on the scene. And these new use models do crazy unforseen things like allowing mass organizing during the Arab Spring.

New platforms enable the development of new applications and hardware that either bring new value down to planet Earth, or creatively destruct the old order. Yesterday I talked about Synology’s network attached storage devices, and in the past month I’ve talked a lot about Evernote. I think Synology and Evernote would create a new market for personal document security if they got together and developed EverNAS.


Evernote manages my documents for me, but the one thing I hate most about it, is that Evernote (that is, my information stored in Evernote) is accessible from the internet. I would prefer that Evernote not to grow larger and larger into a bigger and more ego-satisfying target for hackers. I wish that Evernote could sync across my computers, without having a data store in the middle of all my computers.

For example, I wish that I could install Evernote on my Synology NAS, and then sync from my computers to my own NAS (which is not on the internet). Synology NASes allow a huge range of add-on software packages … LINK. So there is no reason that Evernote would have a problem porting its application to NAS hardware.

How Would This Work?

I log in to my NAS administrative screen, go to  click “install EverNAS.” See the following (faked) picture to see how easy it is to install software on Synology NAS products:


and then after the software downloads to the NAS I go through a configurator that gives me the choice to move my data off the servers in the Evernote data centers, and on to my local, physically secured, physically identifiable, NAS.

I keep paying my $45 a year to Evernote so that I get to use their software, and at the same time, I save Evernote money by bringing my own NAS and storage. Evernote’s profit goes up. Synology’s profit goes up … because once Evernote is running on a local network it can be secured more tightly (though nothing will keep the “Yay yay NSA” out of my stuff).

In this scenario, Evernote opens a new market with “embedded Evernote” software, Synology can open up new market segments with defacto standard document management that it lacks now.

The only problem is that this niche, because it is an incipient demand, has no itch. Like Twitter in 1990, nobody is asking for it. EverNAS, and more generally, embedded Evernote is a paradigm that is possible. I hope that Evernote will enable enable API and hardware development support (much as Netflix developed boxes to deliver their service to TVs) for embedded markets so I can have this.

bill meade

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