Relatively recently I hosted a meeting of the advisors to one of my portfolio companies. It was an impressive group of tech veterans. Each of them had been involved in the building of multi-million dollar high tech companies. Yet, what struck me about this summit was how many of these computer gurus carried with him a good, old fashioned notebook. Two varieties seemed to dominate the gathering -- the classic, leather-bound Moleskin and the pocket-sized graph paper Rhodia. I was surprised to see so much scribbling and so little typing. Since that meeting, I have kept my eyes out for this notebook phenomenon and have been amazed by how many startup CEOs, Venture Capitalists, attorneys, etc. have forsaken the digital world for the analog.
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? I think the answer is data overload. The digital world is a land of plenty. Plenty of emails. Plenty of social networks. Plenty of corporate wikis and portals and knowledge management systems. The typical executive these days needs to deal with hundreds, if not thousands, of data points across dozens of services each day. While we all necessarily find ways to consume this huge amount of information, segregating the truly important stuff remains a big challenge. And this is where the notebook comes in.
Notebooks have certain enviable characteristics. They are instant on -- even faster than a laptop with a solid state drive. They have virtually unlimited storage -- just boot a new notebook when the pages are filled. And they perform better than tape for archival storage. Direct sunlight is no problem for a bright white piece of paper. And power management is rarely a problem (although your pen may run out of ink). Notebooks don't require any connectivity. They aren't susceptible to viruses. And they are highly portable. 
Given all the analog goodness of notebooks, it is no surprise that there has been a resurgence of paper. Don't get me wrong. I'm not a Luddite by any means. I'm a firm believer in a laptop in every room and a smart phone in every pocket. But, when it comes to keeping track of priority information, it would appear that notebooks are becoming the tool of choice for technology's elite. Perhaps I should hedge my bet and buy some stock in Apple and in Mead.
 I realize Notebooks aren't perfect. They perform about as well as laptops when exposed to the elements. They are a terrible collaboration tool. And I have yet to see an effective way to backup your notebooks.