If you looked at Alie Bui’s daily schedule, you’d think she has more hours in the day than the rest of us. Alie is both a center of calm and a bundle of energy. Outside of her formidable duties at Evernote, she’s a jeweler. A metalsmith. A craftswoman who dabbles in everything from resin casting to soap-making to creating natural fabric dyes. A bartender. A floral arranger. A baker. A fitness instructor. A nationally-qualified bodybuilder. And with her brothers, she supports her family. She’s also a marketing project manager at Evernote. And of course, at the heart of this whirlwind of activity is Evernote.
“I’m really a low-tech person,” Alie observes. “I have a phone and a laptop. I don’t have other electronics.” She shows her iPhone and flips through only two pages of apps. “Half of these I don’t even use,” she said, with a touch of consternation in her voice. “I use Facebook, Instagram, Yelp, Spotify, Evernote, and Slack. That’s it.”
It is perhaps the fact that she’s a tech minimalist, even in the Silicon Valley environment that thrives on it, that gives her the time she uses to pursue her many avocations and jobs.
“I have to think about how I allocate my time,” she says, putting away her phone and never taking it out again throughout the interview. “I don’t multi-task. I manage time by focusing only on what’s in front of me. When I go to they gym, I have my set routine, and I use a note I’ve drawn up with my exercises for each day. I go through the note, and I’m in and out of the gym.”
As a fitness instructor, Alie teaches barre, which is a ballet-based workout that’s gaining popularity across America. As she does with her own workout, Alie structures her classes in advance with Evernote, where she’s able to take note of the individuals in her class and their particular limitations, so that she can come up with variations immediately, and it looks effortless. “I have a template for the structure of my classes,” she explains. “In each class, there’s a cadence for how things are done. There are certain standards that ensure you don’t overwork any part of your body. So my template shows me the exercise and the benefit. The Benefit column gives me encouragement points, and the music and the goal are at the top so that when I go to class, I have everything ready for me at a glance.”
A sample of Alie’s workout routine in Evernote
From the barre to the bar
Passionate about fitness since she was a teenager, Alie observed that her grandmother’s physical activity is tied to her social life, which in turn is tied to her living quality. “Childhood obesity is on the rise,” says Alie, who recently placed among the top 5 female bodybuilders in multiple competitions. “It’s not really a secret that this generation is heavier than previous ones. But my grandma went to hula and tai chi and had a garden, and I attribute her long life to that. Health just makes people’s lives better.”
Fitness, however, doesn’t keep Alie away from bartending and baking. “Evernote is the perfect recipe storing unit,” she advises. Before coming to Evernote, Alie was a bartender who specialized in domestic spirits. “I worked at a bar where we could create drinks that would be on the seasonal menu,” she remembers. “We could make up our own ingredients, so I was coming in and making homemade grenadine or amaretto, and I’d keep the recipes in Evernote. I’d keep it on my phone so that if I’d be out and I saw an ingredient I thought I might need when I went to work, I could grab it quickly and be ready.” She also kept tasting notes in Evernote, so she could make instant recommendations and appear to have a photographic memory of hundreds of spirits.
A rock-solid methodology
Alie’s custom jewelry business is one of her newer endeavors. She’s teaching herself how to become a metalsmith, and learning about semi-precious stones as she travels to rock shops throughout the Southwest on weekends and holidays. One of the first things she learned: stones for jewelry are small, and can get lost easily. “I’ve lost a few items, so I got smarter about that,” Alie says. “It’s a good way to lose money really fast. Now,” she adds, “I keep my designs in Evernote, along with pictures of stones, so that way I don’t have to carry a pocket full of unfinished pieces. “If I want to find stones or a chain that matches a design, I have a visual representation with me all the time, so I can see if stones, settings, and chains will work well together.” Sourcing her pieces, Alie relies on Evernote’s geotagging feature, which tells her not only the content of the note but where she took it. “If I forgot where I bought a bead or a rock, but I’d taken a picture of it, I can call up the photo, and it will remind me exactly where I got it.”
Marketing her pieces online, Alie turns to Instagram. All of her photos typically get hundreds of ‘likes,’ and the strategy behind such engagement is tracking the time of day she posts pictures and keeping records of hashtags she frequently uses in Evernote. She’s discovered, through meticulous tracking, that more people interact with the photos of her jewelry between 9 PM and 11 PM. “Hashtags has been trial and error,” she says. “You can type words in and see how many times they’ve been used, and then I latch onto hashtags that are popular at the moment. The next time, I’ll also see how a particular hashtag performed in the past to decide whether I want to use it again.” To make tagging quicker, Alie keeps a list of her best-performing hashtags in Evernote and copies and pastes them into Instagram.
Evernote for romantics
Speaking of rocks, on the day Alie spoke to us, she was wearing a new one: an engagement ring. She had just said ‘yes,’ and was both excited and demure about the news. “We do sappy stuff in Evernote,” she confessed. “We have a shared notebook called ‘Adulting,’ and we both write down all the things we want to do in the future in it. We note down roadside attractions we want to visit, games we want to play. We surprise each other by dropping event tickets into the notebook for the other to find.” He also keeps a secret note that Alie can’t access that lists all the presents he wants to give her.
Alie and her friends also have fun with Evernote. Her favorite is a progressive story where they take turns writing 250 words at a time. “We aren’t allowed to talk about it, those are the rules,” Alie says with a smile. “We do our 250 words, then pass it on in Work Chat. The next person adds their 250 words to the story. It’s a fun way to interact.” Her impromptu story game is now at 20,000 words, and going strong.
The secret sauce
All of her daily paperwork—bills, documents, assignments, calendars, and tasks—goes straight into Evernote the moment she gets them. “People underestimate the search function,” Alie observes. “That’s because it becomes more amazing if you put a lot of stuff into Evernote in the first place. But once you’ve moved everything you need to remember into it, it’s invaluable.
“If I didn’t have Evernote, I don’t know where I’d put all my stuff. I’d be spacey and all over the place, and I’m not a ‘gadgety’ person,” Alie says. “My energy level and passion help, but as far as being successful in all the things I do, Evernote has a lot to do with that. If I’m on my computer, I’m probably in Evernote.”