Co-founder of Moleskine discusses her productivity habits on Lifehacker

Maria Segrebondi of Moleskine

I love it when worlds collide. I am a big fan of Lifehacker’s “This is How I Work” series, and I love Moleskine notebooks. So when the co-founder of Moleskine (and currently the “VP of Brand Equity and Communications”), Maria Sebregondi, spoke at length about how she stays organized, what tools she uses, and how she bridges the analog/digital gap in her workday, I was fascinated.

Although this doesn’t really have any mentions of pencils (it’s clear Sebregondi is a pen fan, but I won’t hold that against her), Moleskines and pencils go very well together, so this might be relevant to your interests as well.

When she was asked about gadgets she couldn’t live without, I especially loved her answer. She speaks of an “analog cloud”:

I like to think of my bag as an analog cloud. It follows me wherever I go and carries my most important objects—identity markers that anchor me to the real world, while my phone connects me to the digital cloud through the computer files, emails, and megabytes it stores. [Link]

While I don’t necessarily carry around as much stuff as she does (the contents of her bag are impressive — and makes my shoulder ache just looking at it), I understand what she’s saying. Though I use my iPhone and laptop all the time, with instant access to my files, it’s fulfilling to just bring a pencil and a notebook somewhere with me (though with me it’s often a Field Notes book rather than a Moleskine cahier). She’s right — it anchors me to the here and now. I know exactly where that data lies, and I know that, save for a fire or rainstorm, it suffers zero percent downtime.


Man Finds 15 Years of Ailments Due to Pencil Stuck in Head

A friend sent me this article from the Latinos Post, about a man who found he had a 4-inch pencil stub stuck in the back of man’s throat.

[S]urgeons at Aachen University Hospital, the largest hospital in Europe, successfully removed the pencil from the head of the young man, who reportedly recovered successfully from the procedure and left the hospital in only a few days, despite lingering blurry vision. The man cannot remember when or how the writing implement ended up in his head, although he recalls taking a serious fall when he was young and then having a significant nosebleed.

Typically, I would say that a nice, freshly sharpened wooden pencil will cure what ails you, but I think this is definitely an exception to that rule.

The Pencil Ruler: a Kickstarter project founded by an 11 year-old

I love Kickstarter. So many amazing ideas and innovations have come to fruition because of the social funding tool, from an iPod Nano watch to a de-centralized social media tool. I’ve talked about a pen-related venture on here before, but I am lucky enough to be featuring a pencil project today!

I got an email earlier today from Nate at Brand New Box, a web development firm in San Diego. They are helping to create the Rule Pencil, dreamed up by an 11-year old kid.

Nate said,

Last week my business partner, Matt, helped an 11-year-old friend of ours launch a Kickstarter project for a Ruler Pencil.  The response has been amazing, to say the least.

5 days in and the project is 500%+ funded. Folks like the idea, and they love Nathan.  As you can imagine, our little buddy is flipping out.

Their Kickstarter project is innovative, and it’s a relatively simple idea — put a ruler on a pencil. I know, I know, it’s been done before, but perhaps not with this level of simplicity, and with such… well, heart. I know that I could have used a ruler pencil many times when I was eleven. Nathan, this kid, had the gumption to make it happen.

The Kickstarter video:

As of today, the project was very close to getting a $2,000 total in pledges. It only needed $350 to cover a minimum order.

The original point of the email to me was to brainstorm some ideas for a quality pencil. These guys are art-minded, and appreciate a good pencil. I suggested talking with CalCedar about their private label pencil program, but don’t know enough of the details to tell if that’ll work for their needs or not.

I suggested a triangular pencil which would accomodate three different units of measurement: imperial (inches), metric (centimeters), and point (picas). After all, I imagine this will appeal to a lots of graphic designers who sketch their designs longhand, and might be replacing (or complementing) their trusty pica rulers.

Anyone have any further ideas? Leave them in the comments below.

And to all you pencilnalia enthusiasts out there: Hop on by the Kickstarter page and pledge! Help make sure this eleven year old entrepreneur grows up loving wooden pencils — someday he might owe his fortune to his love for them. There are some great perks to the different pledge levels, according to the project page:

  • For $5, he’ll mail you a package of 5 Ruler Pencils.
  • For $20, he’ll mail you a special package of 10 Ruler Pencils, and list your name on the ‘Special Founders’ list mailed out with each package of Ruler Pencils .
  • For $50, he’ll mail you a special package of 20 pencils, put you on the founders list, plus send you a custom drawing (he’s pretty good).

I’ll be pledging as soon as I can — I want my name on that Founders list.

Ruler Pencils: a brilliant idea, invented by a kid. | Kickstarter Project Page

UPDATE: This kid’s got spunk. Check out his update video to his backers!

The Pen Type-A

While I love pencils, and use them as much as I can, sometimes you need a good, sturdy ink pen. And I’ve often run into the problem of a disposable pen that has a great ink cartridge and rollerball, but is encased in a crappy barrel.

That’s why I got excited when I surfed The Pen Addict the other day, a great blog I check every day that feels about pens the way I do about pencils.

Apparently there is a pen called the Pilot Hi-Tec-C, a gel pen I haven’t tried (but the Pen Addict really likes!) Unfortunately, the barrel is a bit cheap and plasticky.

There’s a small design firm in Brooklyn called CW&T who found a solution to this problem — they started a Kickstarter projectfor a product called the Pen Type-A, a stainless-steel replacement barrel for the Hi-Tec-C cartridge.

The Pen Type-A

This thing is really beautiful. It’s milled from a single block of stainless steel, and the minimalist barrel fits into a square sheath (that has a ruler on the side!) so well, it almost has a pneumatic sliding effect.

If you pay $50 towards the (fully funded!) Kickstarter project, you’ll get one of these pens, which is a deal, because it’ll retail for $99.

I’ll admit, I’m thinking about it. It’s supporting a small, creative venture, and this thing really is gorgeous.

Check out CW&T’s Kickstarter Project to watch a quick video about why they decided to make this thing. And if you’re on Twitter, go follow Che-Wei Wang, the CW of CW&T: @sayway.