It turns out that vinyl records aren’t dead. In fact, they seem to be making a vigorous comeback. Want to guess what else isn’t going away?

Paper. Paper consumption in the United States for the last twenty years has increased from 92 million tons to 208 million, a growth of 126%. (At the same time, The Washington Post recently reported that reading in the U.S, is at an all-time low, so thank you.)

Photo by Diana Akhmetianova on

My suggestion is that you embrace paper in at least one respect: Cards and letters. It’s retro (which makes it very fashionable) but it’s also effective. For gifts, meeting follow up, passing along interesting articles or business cards from restaurants you think someone might like.  

This is my system. I have cards and envelopes printed with my name and address. (It’s super classy.) They sit in a folder in my briefcase, complete with a book of stamps. If I see something of interest in a magazine, I’ll tear it out and stuff it into an envelope with a quick note. “Saw this. Thought it interesting relative to your XYZ initiative.” No product pitch, nothing remotely salesy.

Or right after a meeting, I’ll scratch out a quick “I’m at a layover here at O’Hare Airport and wanted to quickly thank you for your time today…etc., etc.”

Cards and letters. Nobody does these anymore. The disposable, ephemeral nature of email and texting makes this sort of gesture stand out that much more. The physical arrival of a handwritten note in the mail is a genuine rarity. And another touch.