Walking to the church parking lot last Sunday following a cooking demo I gave – not a sentence I can ever recall writing nor ever expected to write – a friend asked what was the topic for my next blog post. I told her I hadn’t yet been struck with any particular inspiration and she suggested maybe I should write about my job. Now, I’ve been sleeping with the same pillow for years, and I rather like my pillow, but while it’s important to me I don’t consider it particularly rich material for a blog post. I think of my job in the same way. I told her I’d sleep on it.
I’ve been in my current job, or at least have been in the same line of work, for about 12.5 years. Mostly what I do is analyze companies, situations, or events and take that knowledge and use it as a tool to (hopefully) benefit investors in my company. Some days are better than others but every single day involves talking on the phone or meeting with people in person, and, for me at least, that involves taking notes. Much notes. Stacks of notebooks kind of notes. And these notes are the kind taken by hand with a pen and paper. I make that last distinction purposefully.
I was in a meeting on Wednesday in Miami with management of a larger biotech company. Alongside me were two other analysts (folks who generally do what I do) from a snazzy firms in my industry. While discussing the likelihood that the company’s cancer drug will get FDA approval this year I madly scribbled notes in my notebook. And when I say notebook I’m talking about the kind that has paper and lines and a big wire screw-lik thing holding the pages together. My fellow analysts were madly – thous less so than me – tapping away at their iPads. I suppose I can sort of see the benefit in having notes in electronic form, (they can be shared and they are legible for instance), but for me the act of committing thoughts and words to paper is a necessary step in ensuring information reaches and remains somewhat lodged in my brain.
Perhaps part of my note taking fealty is a function of my complete lack of typing skills, (typing was offered at my high school and my golf coach was the typing teacher and we didn’t have a great golf team and word was he was a better golf coach than typing instructor, so…), but that’s only a small part of it. I believe that comprehension increases via old fashioned note taking as compared to iPadding and it will be a cold day in South Beach before I ever make a change.