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Missing the Digital Point
By: Mike Bush
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Yesterday, the Harvard Business Review published a piece that was, well, shocking.
 
It seems as though one of their contributors, who happened to also write a book called Working Smarter with Evernote, took it upon herself to explain to folks that the days of paper and pencil are over, and how folks pitching her for business that bring these archaic tools into the author’s presence will surely not be awarded business from said author.
 
The whole premise of the piece is that the paper and pencil are dead, and that if you’re not using digital notes taking software (or, as you’d imagine based on the title of her book, Evernote), you’re not in her league.
 
Here’s the thing though.
 
Yes, being able to store things in the cloud makes it easier to work from anywhere, using whatever device you’re most comfortable with. And it makes it so that links to books (her example, not mine) can more easily be shared.
 
But, if the point is being able to work in the way you’re most comfortable, how can someone possibly decide that one manner of note taking is better than the others? There’s obviously no way they know what’s most comfortable, and more important, effective, for you.
 
The comments on the piece are predictably against the author, with most folks calling her out (indirectly) for a conflict of interest based on her book and then making some of the points I mentioned above.
 
What’s most shocking to me, though, is that this feels like a piece written for a less...dignified?...publication. The HBR doesn’t seem to go in the direction of publishing link-bait to drive page views or get the crowd riled up (there are plenty of well-known other publications for that).
 
The question to me, really, is whether or not this is a one-time thing or if this will become the norm. Has HBR just simply published something that its readers didn’t like much as the result of an editor being a little lax with the publication’s standards, or is this the first step toward the HBR becoming a little less sophisticated and trying to drive up page views?
 
I shudder to think of what the consequences might be of the latter option. Next thing you know, sites like the New York Times will be considering advertorial, native advertising.


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About the Author
Mike Bush is a PR and Marketing freelancer with more than a dozen years of experience in the field. Find him on and connect Twitter @mikebush or at www.mikebush.nyc. 
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