Saturday, May 07, 2005
Twenty-Five Years of Post-it Notes
The Rake : "On April 6, 1980, though, the endless and complicated march of progress took a short break as a remarkable new technology arrived in stationery stores around the nation. It was so simple to use, even a CEO could master it. It was so perfectly designed, it didn’t require semi-annual upgrades. It was so versatile, it actually performed better than advertised. It was the Post-it Note.

Two and a half decades later, as the little yellow notes celebrate their silver anniversary, it’s easy to forget what a recent innovation they are. Thanks to their material simplicity, they seem more closely related to workplace antiquities like the stapler and the hole-punch than integrated chips. Instead, they’re an exemplary product of their time. Foreshadowing the web, they offered an easy way to link one piece of information to another in a precisely contextual way. Foreshadowing email, they made informal, asynchronous communication with your co-workers a major part of modern office life.

...the story of 3M engineer Art Fry’s invention is a grand chronicle of post-industrial American enterprise. It encompasses skeptical bosses, last-ditch marketing campaigns, and that old Hollywood crowd-pleaser, “inherently tacky elastomeric copolymer microspheres.” It deserves a more in-depth telling than it typically gets. ..."

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