| Name: Rebecca Sowards-Emmerd
Profession: creator of backpacking website, Calipidder and
Product Design Senior Engineer at SAP
Location: San Jose, California
Rebecca Sowards-Emmerd is the creator of Calipidder, a website that offers trip reports, photographs, and gear advice for exploring California’s parks and remote backcountry on foot. By day, she is a Director of Product Design at SAP. Here’s how she balances whiteboards and spreadsheets with remote, backcountry trip planning and gear testing.
I Use Evernote, Everywhere:
Evernote Partner Apps I Use:
- SAP StreamWork for driving decisions based on collective brainstorms.
I use Evernote for…
One of the reasons I love Evernote is the fact that I can access it from any device I happen to be using (as you can tell, I’m a technology geek). I use Evernote for my website, work, life and everything in between. Here is how I can stay productive at work and plan a trek to a remote backpacking destination with one tool.
Calipidder: planning a backpacking trip, testing outdoor gear with Evernote
I started Calipidder when I moved to California in the summer of 2000. At the time, I wasn’t an “outdoors” person, but I started exploring places and taking pictures, and wanted to share them with my family back in Michigan. I have a technical background, so I built a website where I started sharing trip reports and the site started to grow.
I use Evernote in the trip planning process:
- Developing the route. This summer, I am doing a climb of a peak that is considered to be in the most remote area of the Sierras (Lakes Basin and climb Observation and Shakspear). There are a lot of ways to get there and most of them aren’t found in the traditional guidebooks. To plan a trip like this, you have to find people who’ve been there, who will share with you their experience and pictures of the trails and how long the trek will take.
- Conducting timely research, even when I don’t have much time. Whether I’m at home or at the office, every time I have a few minutes, I start researching my upcoming trip and dump everything (including trip reports I come across or people who I might want to contact later) into Evernote. I can synthesize the information later and build out the trip.
- Never forgetting what works and what doesn’t. I do beta testing of gear to help companies figure out what works and what doesn’t. I keep my notes about the gear I test in Evernote, because this information is often useful for my own trip-planning purposes. For example, if I’m testing a pair of waterproof boots, I’ll note something like, “I just hiked 10 miles in a rainstorm in these boots and my feet stayed completely dry!” Evernote lets me easily keep track of products that I test, note which ones are relevant for which trips, and keep a record of feedback that I want to share.
Beyond backpacking: My setup for creating balance at work
- Keeping it all in sync. Sometimes I’ll go into a work meeting with one machine (either my Mac or Windows PC), sometimes it will be an iPad and sometimes just my BlackBerry. I’m on a laptop only about 20% of the time. No matter where I am, I can access work content and stuff related to my backpacking website, and quickly edit and sync it to all of my other computers and devices.
- Creating an optimal workspace. I live in my browser (Chrome) so I always have a few tabs open: Gmail, Evernote and Producteev. At work, I use Evernote as my primary note-taking tool, but I also take web clips and drag and drop documents that I may want to access from another computer.
- Bridging the gap between seeing things and remembering them later. I send all of my email newsletters to my Evernote account (I sign up for them using my Evernote email, so they go straight to my Evernote account and not my inbox). That way, I can catch up on my reading whenever I have a spare minute (on the bus, on the couch, etc.)
- Staying on top of my expenses. Whenever I order something online, I drop the order confirmation into my Financial notebook in Evernote so that I can easily keep track of my expenses.
- Capturing whiteboard photos. My team will often have a three hour discussion during which we’ll capture ideas on a whiteboard. When our time is up in the room, we have to erase it all, so I take pictures of our brainstorms—I have a huge notebook of whiteboard photos. On one particular occasion, no one had done anything with a design session we had months earlier, but I had it saved in my Evernote account so we were able to revive the conversation. If I had it an email I would have never found it again. [How to add an image in Evernote]
- Tying in my company’s tools with Evernote. I’ll often use StreamWork, our internal collaboration program, to share stuff from my Evernote account with my team.
Notebook Stacks and how to use them
I love Notebook Stacks because they allow me to sort out my blog, work, trip planning, and personal stuff like shopping lists that I can pull up on my mobile device at a store. [how to use Notebook Stacks]
My favorite feature
One thing that I notice and love about Evernote is that the different platforms really help you take advantage of what you are doing. For example, the mobile apps let me easily take pictures, quick notes and search for something, while the desktop app gives me a nice big view of, say, my expense report. It’s really intuitive and lets me focus on what I actually want to capture and not how I should capture it.