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Productivity & Work

Moleskine opens up a coffee shop in Milan


Moleskine opened up its first official store in Milan, Italy. I’m looking forward to the day it comes stateside. Ever since Barnes and Noble downsized and closed a bunch of stores, Starbucks and Peet’s have been the only consistent go-to coffee houses for getting work done. 

While coffee shops were the original social networks, Tom Standage points out, coffee shops today represent a ‘third place,’ between work and home. They provide just the right frequency of sound to inspire creativity and focus without having to the extremes– the bar for socializing or the library to work in silence. 

America needs more cafes. And not the trendy ones that prohibit wifi and computer outlets. People want think and get shit done, even if it’s a mindless activity like checking email. 

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Shoulda coulda woulda

MTV could’ve been Youtube.

Moleskine could’ve been Evernote or Paper FiftyThree.

iMessages could’ve have been Snapchat if Apple had just built a social network around it.

But it turns out that taking an existing business model online is easier said than done. Only a few people like Ev Williams have mastered the art of digitizing human needs.

When you’re so focused on incrementalism in the present, you become blind to innovation for the future.

Opportunities are there awaiting initiative. The longer you wait the less likely you’re to do it. That goes for companies and for individuals. Replace the arrogance of coulda with done.

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The hybrid method of productivity

“I take lots of notes in paper mole skin notebooks; every week or so I go back with a different color pen and circle the key sentences; I then transfer these ideas to Evernote files on my computer; and finally, I blog/tweet/publish/email out the crispest, most important ideas or quotes.”

— Ben Casnocha, the hybrid method of productivity
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New Moleskine Logo
New Moleskine Logo
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New “Space” pens from Field Notes:  These pens are the real deal, precision-made, durable, and capable of writing in zero gravity, upside down, underwater, and at temperatures from −30 to 250°F (−35 to 120°C).
New “Space” pens from Field Notes:  These pens are the real deal, precision-made, durable, and capable of writing in zero gravity, upside down, underwater, and at temperatures from −30 to 250°F (−35 to 120°C).
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Productivity & Work Writing

Learning on multiple formats

Learning today is chaotic. There’s always a new app for note-taking, Smart pens, and the inspirational Moleskine.

To me, both digital and paper worlds are all one stream of productivity. I typically use pen and paper to brainstorm and mind map. I love the freedom of just quickly dumping thoughts on paper and then finding a web of connections between them.

Once I establish an understanding of the big picture I start to synthesize those ideas onto my computer where they get styled and formalized so that others can comprehend them.

I also love the feeling of feeling of crumpling up that piece of paper, assuming it’s loose leaf, and tossing it. Knowing that it’s permanently digitized is gratifying.


There are moments of course when time is running short and I’ll just snap a picture of my notes and import that image into Evernote. It always helps to see how visually I came to a solution anyway.

The best notebook is the one you have with you. As a rule of thumb, you should use whatever tool is closest: pen, paper, iPhone, PC.

As previously noted, I generally like to create a hands-on mess and then progress to clean it up in final digital format.

The 21st-century working process requires flexibility and skill in different formats which if you’re open to it make you more a versatile learner and doer.

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