I recently did a major clean-out of old files, clippings and media mentions. One article dropped on the floor on the way to the trash bin, and I picked it up for a last look. It was dated December 29, 1999 and was titled, “Will New Electronic Planners Overtake the Paper Calendar We all Know and Love?”
“Yes, as the millennium draws to a close,” the article gravely intoned, “the calendar world seems headed for a great divide: On the one side stand the doodlers, the note-takers, the defenders of the paper-based system–wall calendars, desk calendars, pocket calendars/organizers–anything to write on or add sticky notes to. On the other are those who aren’t afraid of a little PDA, a Personal Digital Assistant (PalmPilots and the like), and what’s known as “Internet-based calendaring”–the countless calendars/planners offered in Microsoft Outlook, or on Web sites such as Yahoo, Netscape and Visto. Given the usual fate of old-fashioned industries whose markets are invaded by hipper technology, one might expect pen-and-paper calendars to be swiftly blown away by the products of the information age..”
What is funny is that the “leaders in the world of PDAs” the article mentions–Palm Computing, Handspring, Hewlett Packard and Casio–have disappeared or barely rate a mention today as providing calendar products. Handspring, the originator of PalmPilots, went defunct in 2003. Palm, Inc. was acquired by Hewlett-Packard in 2010, which retired the Palm brand.
12 years later – the two paper calendar companies noted in the article – Filofax and At-A-Glance – are still quite in evidence; as are all the planner/organizer makers from that period: Franklin Covey, Day Runner, Letts of London, Charing Cross, Per Annum, Exacompta, Quo Vadis, Blueline, etc.
Could we have predicted this?
Is it is simple as the statement by one store manager, “people still like to see their own handwriting.” Or is it, as a vice president of The At-A-Glance Group posits, “most people find it easier to retain things if they write it down.”