post-its (r) changed my life

Well, no, not really. I have more of a life than that. April 2005, however, marked the twenty-fifth anniversary of the invention of what I will generically call the sticky note, and you can read all about its fascinating history here. I speak without irony, other than my ironic honoring of the registered trademark by declining to use it.

The sticky note is what I call an elegant invention. It is extremely simple; it seems obvious in retrospect; it is incredibly versatile. I use sticky notes the way I used to use index cards as a tool for systems thinking. Index cards had the most annoying habit of sliding around and destroying all evidence of my careful analysis with one overexcited gesture as I talk on the phone (something I am wont to do).

Not resting on their laurels, those clever folks at 3M have come up with a glue stick made of the same great stuff--sticky, but not too sticky--that resides on the back of the original notes. Consider, if you will, the implications of the fact that any piece of paper can now become a sticky note. Well. I hope I don't have to spell this out for anyone.

The sticky note is another piece of evidence to support my hypothesis that simpler technologies, when used to their fullest--nay, exploited ruthlessly--are more effective than the latest gadget sitting unopened in its box on the shelf. Of course, I could simply be experiencing confirmatory bias. Nevertheless, I daresay that few lawyers leave boxes of sticky notes unopened on their shelves.

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