CLP Beacon - Business Issues and Solutions

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The Pen IS Mightier than the Computer- Sort Of!

Many people who know me realize that I collect pens- fountain pens. Some of my collection is shown on the left.  Last year I went to the LA Pen Show for the first time and it was packed around the mezzanine of a Marriott Hotel.   Today, I received an article from an investment group and the writer, Patrick Wilson, Senior Economic Analyst for Maudlin Economics (@PatrickW) wrote an interesting piece which resonated with me.  I wanted to share that.

As an angel investor with TechCoastAngels ( we listen to pitches to see which companies are investable for our investor group.  After each presentation we take notes and provide comments- both what we like and concerns.  I recall one time when a colleague was to take notes but he did not have a pen and paper and he had to find his computer.   (Of course, I offered him a pad and pen but he politely declined.)   When I read this article and thought back to my days in school and even the way I do stock and market analysis for investments, marketing, or just learning, it made me realize a few things.
First, as Patrick points out the newest technology isn’t always the best tool for the job nor as helpful as you think it might be. Recall the acronym KISS.   Pens are KISS at the right time and place.

Patrick wrote
For instance, recently I saw a Quartz article on cursive handwriting. Many schools that stopped teaching it now realize that was a mistake. Research shows that writing by hand actually helps your brain work better.
The reasons for taking handwriting seriously are worth considering even if you’re not a kid or a parent worried about education. Anyone can benefit from penmanship’s cognitive benefits, whether you’re taking notes at a meeting or just trying to figure out what you think.
Brain scans during the two activities also show that forming words by hand as opposed to on a keyboard leads to increased brain activity. Scientific studies of children and adults show that wielding a pen when taking notes, rather than typing, is associated with improved long-term information retention, better thought organization, and increased ability to generate ideas.
That matches my own experience. I used to see people at conferences taking notes on their computers and feel a little embarrassed to bring out my paper notepad. But having tried both, I found that handwriting is faster, and I retain the information better.
For all our whiz-bang technology, it turns out that a pen and notepad work better than the latest “notebook” computers and you never have to recharge them. (They’re also hackproof, at least for me. No one else can read my writing even if they steal my notepad.)
I liked the article on several levels.  First, find the right tool for the problem.  If a company is looking to do a marketing campaign, they might not need an Oracle system for a direct mail program but rather Get Response or even an Outlook plug in depending on their list size.   If a company has a large project to manage, should they use Microsoft Project or something like Odoo?  The answer is it all depends on circumstance, complexity, skills of the people using the tools and the like.
If you have questions on tools to be used in business, I would be glad to chat.  Or if you just want to talk about fountain pens we can do that as well.  BTW from left to right, the fountain pens are: Delta Dolce Vita Large, Visconti Cosmo, Pelican 800, ST DuPont Orpheo Palladium, and Waterman LeMans 100.   Contact me at or 949 4394503. 

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