These tools are not exciting Ryan 03 Oct 2005

50 comments Latest by readon

Pencil and paperclips

50 comments so far (Jump to latest)

Dan Boland 03 Oct 05

Maybe not exciting, but a paper clip is certainly versatile.

b0b 03 Oct 05

The have something in common with this blog.

brad 03 Oct 05

There used to be (and maybe still is) a store in SoHo called “Think Big,” which sold among other things enormous 3-foot long paper clips and 6-foot tall pencils. On the wall they had a frame with some normal life-size paper clips and pencils, which was entitled “The Think Big Collection of Miniatures.”

Mike Lougee 03 Oct 05

Well, they’ve been the topics of at least two excellent, full-length books (The Evolution of Useful Things: How Everyday Artifacts-From Forks and Pins to Paper Clips and Zippers-Came to be as They Are; and The Pencil: A History of Design and Circumstance, both by Henry Petroski).

Petroski, an engineer, writes about the simplicity and minimalism of many useful things. Perhaps there’s an equivalent book(s) waiting to be written about useful software?

Art Wells 03 Oct 05

Yes. Yes, they are. But I know what you mean.

Dave Simon 03 Oct 05

Paperclips are must-have accessories. How else would you restart a Bondi Blue iMac or eject a 3.5” floppy from a Mac Classic if it is stuck?

Joseph O'Connell 03 Oct 05

But they do one thing, and do it well. Point taken.

Enraged Nobody 03 Oct 05

You’re wrong!
Everything you say is totally and utterly wrong.
I only read this blog because of your total and utter wrongness.
Otherwise i’d have to get a job and produce something for humanity.

Ryan 03 Oct 05

Actually, you can do some pretty cool things with paperclips.

brad 03 Oct 05

They may not be very exciting now, but when they were first invented I wager they were as hot as Post-It notes were when they hit the market.

The tools we find exciting now are likely to look as ho-hum as these in 20 years, maybe even in 10.

And of course, when you think about all the things you can do with just these two tools, now that’s exciting.

Adam 03 Oct 05

Erm, If your trying to imply that your products feature in the same league of usefulness as a pencil….your very wrong!

Good as they are, your not even close.

Tony 03 Oct 05

Tell that to MacGuyver!

Mark 03 Oct 05

Marketing is your bag, baby.

Rick Roberts 03 Oct 05

Adam, your is a possessive pronoun. You’re is a contraction. Best to keep mouth closed and let the world think you’re an idiot than to open mouth and remove all doubt.

Chris McEvoy 03 Oct 05

But they are ubuquitious.

One day Google will be as boring.

Web 3.1 perhaps?

Chris McEvoy 03 Oct 05

My best comment in ages and I have to mess up the bl**dy spelling.

Rimantas 03 Oct 05

Web 3.11 for Workgroups.

Sorry, could not resist.

SCott Thomas 03 Oct 05

What? You must not be using them correctly!

Chris McMahon 03 Oct 05

Might I suggest this:

Anonymous Coward 03 Oct 05

No img tags huh? the link and image was to these spiral paper clips

Jon Hicks 03 Oct 05

Pencils - boring?! How dare you lump the exciting pencil in with dull as dishwater paper clips! ;o)

Bob 03 Oct 05

It’s not the wand, but the magic you make with it, baby!

RyanH 03 Oct 05

pencils? paperclips? you’ll poke your eye out, kid…

sh 03 Oct 05

Amen to that, Bob.

DaveMo 03 Oct 05

Not exciting compared to what?

Are they more exciting than white glue? Or less exciting than a toothpick? I suppose it depends on how bored you are at the time or perhaps how desperately you need a pencil and some paperclips.

Imagine a bureaucrat lost in the desert - seeing a pencil and some paperclips might be pretty exciting, actually. (Or at least until he remembers he has no paper! Oh cruel fates!!)

Don Schenck 03 Oct 05

I’m not exciting either … but I’m still around! :-)

:)ensen 03 Oct 05

You forgot the elastic band.

dys 03 Oct 05

…until you eat them!

blogschrift 03 Oct 05

A german author, Arno Schmidt, said that everyone should honor and admire the strength and resistibility of such a small thing like a paperclip.

I agree with him. So don’t mock paperclips!

Lo Vui Keng 03 Oct 05

They’re simple, plain, and unequivocally the most loved and useful tools ever invented!

Tom 03 Oct 05

Ah, I think I understand.

otagi 03 Oct 05

Just wait until a young company combines these two items into something exciting and new.

Then you’ll realize the office world is at some kind of turning point. We’ll see the future of bureaucracy shaped with richer user experiences and easy to use cooperative tools, encouraging everybody to add value to your revolutionary data-driven projects.

That concept only needs a catchy name now. A brainstorming session at the next OfficeSupplies conference would certainly help.

Peter Mentzer 03 Oct 05

But, if you’re a stock broker or a venture capitalist, they’re as exciting as a sword or an m-16. Musashi said, “There is a time and a place for the use of weapons.” He also notes - in his 9 points for [men] (well we’ll make that people nowadays) who want to learn his strategy that one should, “become acquainted with every art”, “distinguish between gain and loss in worldy matters,” and “know the ways of all professions.” So, the pen and the sword, if you catch my drift.

Rob Wilmshurst 04 Oct 05

Paperclips, yes, they are boring. But useful…
You can use them as an aerial for your TV when watching the ashes at work ;)
They’re also about the only useful thing for using those tiny restart buttons on various hardware.

Chris 04 Oct 05

Maybe not that interesting, but all you have to do is stick a picture of them on here and within a day you’ve got 35 comments about them.

Gordon 04 Oct 05


I was gonna say that Chris.

Well actually I was gonna say “Useless? YOU try stabbing someone in the neck with a Ta-Da list!” but figured it wasn’t in the best of taste..

elv 04 Oct 05

Tools don’t need to be exciting.

bored 04 Oct 05

Pencils, paperclips; give me a break.

Is 37 actually attempting to compare these simple, but productive items to the offerings of 37? Give me a break.

Where have all the good posts gone?

Daniel Honig 04 Oct 05

They may not be exciting but they work! Technology is what you name things that don’t work!…..No one will call a pencil or paperclip technology, but they get the job done. On the same point, I find we are happiest when we limit the amount of “technology” that pervades our lives. Pencils and paperclips do not increase our frustration while things we call technology do. My 0.02 cents adjusted to 27 cents for inflation and high gas prices.

Jens Meiert 04 Oct 05

The paperclip really is one of the simplest but best designed tools at all!

Joshua Rudd 04 Oct 05

Not exciting, but indispensable. Kind of like my underwear.

Dustin 04 Oct 05

Um, this can’t be a real post. Writers block? Here’s a topic to go with that nice image: Is Paperless Possible? Nah, that’s too cliche. On second thought, maybe the image is enough. :)

Jough Dempsey 04 Oct 05

What do you mean? Paperclips are hell of exciting. They can recognize when it looks like you’re writing a letter, and offer helpful pop-up tips while changing into all sorts of amusing shapes!

Arif 04 Oct 05

Either’s that a very small pencil, or those are some haaaauge paper clips.

mbg 04 Oct 05

They may not be exciting, but they feel better in your hand than a mouse and keyboard, and their interface is more intuitive than that of any software on the planet.

Robert Gremillion 05 Oct 05

Ryan must have just read Seth Godin’s book, Free Prize Inside. Seth talks about the history of the paperclip in the prologue.

misuba 06 Oct 05

Maybe you could try a decorative eraser? Like a SpongeBob one, with the dangly arms?

readon 06 Oct 05

i put pencils up my ass and get very excited.