The Gift


I gave a presentation on podcasting recently.  The host was a small private college.  As a thank you gift, the PR director gave me a lovely spiral bound book with the college name and seal embossed in gold on the cover. Inside was a  pen. 

The pages were blank .  Given the beauty of the book, I took it that it was to be used as a diary.

I thought about that gift a lot.  Because I spent many years writing daily notes in tons of notebooks, it really hurt to throw the book away.   I don’t mean any disrespect to the PR director. I suspect thousands of PR, alumni and development folks are giving out things like these.

And I bet no one uses them.  Certainly few people under the age of, say, 50, are making notes with a pen in a spiral bound notebook.   Even grandparents have migrated to computers to exchange emails and photos with their children and grandchildren.

The notebook drove home the realization that the days of holding a pen in your hand and physically creating words on paper are pretty much over.  That’s not an insight that’s going to rattle anyone’s brain but holding something so regal, expensive and useless made me realize again how much our  culture and way of doing business has changed.

If you give out gifts like this, you should rethink how you’re spending your money.

I kept the pen for my post-it notes.

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5 responses to “The Gift

  1. Believe it or not, Dennis, but I still use notebooks for to-do lists, brainstorming solo sessions and to outline my articles.

    Next time you get this kind of gifts, feel free to send it my way 😉

  2. My kids love playing on the computer, but they also enjoy sitting down at the kitchen table with crayons and paper. I love my computer, but I also love writing down thoughts on scrap paper. I find designing roughs on paper to be a better starting point than firing up Photoshop or Illustrator. I wouldn’t write off paper just yet. 🙂

  3. You both make good points. Makes me think I’ve become to gadgetized.
    Thanks.

  4. While I use them for meetings, I also use one to write a kind of diary for my youngest daughter. I started the day she was born and have made notes to her for 4 years now. I hope to give it to her as she heads off for college. A blog or jump drive doesn’t offer the same personalization and meaning as a note or comment written by hand. My $.02.

    Happy Holidays!

  5. That is such a great gift. I wish I had thought of it when our kids were small. You also won’t have to worry about having the equipment to plug a jump drive into, if they still exist 11 years from now when she goes to college. Thanks for sharing.

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