Perspective, Pontification and Propoganda about Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital, brought to you by David Hornik of August Capital.

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https://me.yahoo.com/a/jH9FmwYzx4HbIe2ph2L99wpGtYwM#8fc3e

David,

I think the other angle is that pen and paper are how people communicate with themselves, write myself a note, or how they communicate a story in a small group, here let me draw this out for you and it is very quick to do that.

The computer or smart device is how we communicate to the many or save for the intention of finding later (Google can't search my pile of notebooks to get that cool thought I had last month.

What I have noticed with note writers, myself included, is that I make written notes during a meeting but them summarize and expand the ideas and distribute them electronically if I want those ideas to have an impact on others.

Thanks,

Ed Loessi
http://twitter.com/edloessi

chrisyeh

David, one important feature you're leaving out:

Notepads are basically input devices, and lack networked reader functionality.

One of the reasons I take a pad into meetings rather than a laptop is that I want to show that I am truly listening. If I take a laptop or use a smartphone, the temptation to allow myself to be interrupted by the latest email or tweet is just too great.

There's a reason why entrepreneurs are so notoriously incensed by VCs who Blackberry during board meetings.

https://me.yahoo.com/a/36auCuMnrsisR2cIbHpAfpqT411e#61481

I find it amazing that laptop technology hasnt advanced enough to actually make it a "notebook". Lots of people refer to their laptops as notebooks but are they really. In fact, they are not even laptops anymore - who ever sits with it in their lap?

Personally, I do not use paper at all - for the same reasons you mentioned - indexing, search etc.

Somewhere in between, there are hybrids too ... http://bit.ly/Emko9

randal

I've found myself using a Moleskine for most of my working meetings as well. It also allows for much more personal interaction than having everyone sitting behind a laptop screen.

Because of the information overload you describe, I pretty much plan on never referring back to the notes other than when in the actual meeting. One of my favorite notebooks (http://fieldnotesbrand.com/) has a great quote tagline: "I'm not writing it down to remember it later, I'm writing it down to remember it now."

I find that I'm able to keep a much higher overall momentum going if I know that after any meeting I'm going to come out with at most one or two takeaways to share with others or remember for myself, and more importantly any specific actions that need to be tracked for myself or others. For this I keep a stack of index cards in the back pocket of my Moleskine ala that Merlin Mann Hipster PDA: http://www.43folders.com/2004/09/03/introducing-the-hipster-pda

OK, GTD geeking done for the day. :P

Saul Lieberman

You might be interested in Seth Godin's post "The modern talking pad" http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2009/08/the-modern-talking-pad.html

BettrAt

In our studies of informal learning as part of the MacArthur Digital learning initiative, we noticed way more analog notebook usage than we could have imagined. Being in a Design school, you sort of assume that you're part of a unique class of analog note takers.

What's so fascinating about analog notes is that most people don't go back and look at them later on.

I guess that's why I've gotten into the habit of taking paper notes, then going back and putting them into my BettrAt after I'm done that evening.

The value of the networked or shared notebook is that most work is group oriented (at least in the startup/venture field).

https://me.yahoo.com/a/1x7sq1UHsMws2JgNUsFJKubVQFgcH7ZavxulPT.SrGnn3Q--#60e83

You have more flexibility and precision when taking notes with a pen and a sheet of paper. You can draw graphs quickly and you can quickly take note of a complex diagram. Here "complex" means circles and rectangles and arrows.

The closest replacement to the notepad would be a tablet pc.

https://me.yahoo.com/a/dVgV0f13t4ImIBLcxExjvgYCeic4.5Pz#4e28a

Good post. I agree with a previous comment. I am a VC and would love to use a Laptop to take notes, but I think that it creates too much of a distraction in meetings where the key role is to listen. I take much better/quicker notes on my laptop than by pen/paper, but I find it rude to use a laptop. As an example, when I do reference calls over the phone, I would never take notes with pen/paper - I always type them on my computer (better notes and easier filing, etc.). I suspect others are the same. Pen/paper is still the right cultural norm for face-to-face meetings.

As an aside, I have found that VCs who use Laptops during board meetings are never as engaged as they should be (i.e. they are checking email, not taking notes).

stephenbooth-uk.livejournal.com

Personally I use pencil (0.5mm mechanical) and paper for a variety of reasons mostly because it's faster and it's more suited to my note taking style. I tend to take notes as a mix of linear notes, mini-mind maps and sketches (even then my linear notes tend to have arrows joining parts up and margin notes to expand on points), not something any IT solution I've found can handle.

Later I do usually type up and edit my notes for distribution. I suspect that if I did somehow takes notes directly to some IT solution and distribute them unedited they would be too unstructured and chaotic to be usable. By taking on paper then typing up later I can remove unnecessary parts and expand on those that are likely to be of interest to the people receiving them.

I use pencil rather than pen for speed and legibility. I find that with an 0.5mm mechanical pencil I can take notes faster and more neatly than with a pen.

I have had friends who have tried to take notes using their laptop or handheld. Never a good result.

blog.jparkhill.com

>Why is it that this all-star crowd of tech moguls had pushed aside the very digital domain about which they were so madly taking notes with pen and paper?

Maybe they just can't type that well (or maybe that is just me).

Seriously, I find pen and paper must easier to manage, and since I am out of the office a lot my notepad usually has lots of pages flipped over the top of the pad. Eventually these notes turn into documents and then I can clear the "cache" by recycling the old pages. I scan the stuff I really want to preserve (and then promptly forget about it).

The Livescribe pen seems neat, but I don't want to buy special paper. A tablet PC seems cool, but I don't want to buy a special computer. Pen and paper just work well- and most hand-written notes are ephemeral anyway.

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One of the reasons I take a pad into meetings rather than a laptop is that I want to show that I am truly listening. If I take a laptop or use a smartphone, the temptation to allow myself to be interrupted by the latest email or tweet is just too great.

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Personally, I do not use paper at all - for the same reasons you mentioned - indexing, search etc.

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