Where Africa and Technology Collide!

Sometimes Low-Tech Works Better

I use a Moleskine notebook to keep track of things during the day.

My Moleskin

I try to keep it on me at all times. It’s useful for taking notes at a conference when I can’t use my computer (or the battery is dead), when I’m sourcing stories for AfriGadget, when I’ve got a “brilliant idea” while out and about, or when I need to take notes from a phone call.

It’s not like you couldn’t use any old notebook to do the same thing – I just happened to buy into the Moleskine story. Sometimes the answer isn’t gadgets or the web, it’s what our grandparent’s grew up using.

Technology’s great benefit is simplifying complex tasks. We need to guard against complicating simplex tasks.

Moleskin hacks:


  1. same with old cars. these new benzes and range rovers with electronicaly controlled engines that are impossible (and expensive) to repair. It’s much better to hold on to an older mercedes (just as prestigous) that a mechanic can fix and which is more durable on Kenya’s bad roads

  2. It’s not the same writing on a notebook and writing in a moleskin. With that little scratch book in your hand you have just it and a pen. With a notebook you have everything…

    My texts written in a moleskin are not the same that I write on my blog – it’s a different feeling. A good feeling, of course 🙂

  3. Oh man. I just picked up Moleskins a few months ago and love them. They were always at my side when on a recent Sudan trip and with me at all meetings for note taking.

    I’m the king of random thoughts (ADD) and a notepad of some sort is a necessity.

  4. Moleskin? Ati bwana, now that’s a luxury.

    I prefer my 10 bob Kartasi notebook 🙂

  5. I love moleskins, in particular the graph paper ones. But the truth of the matter is my most used note taking system consists of stacks of scratch paper quartered. There is a chronological order to it, but can also be sorted.

    Not relevant to the post but Micro-Payment Systems and Their Application to Mobile Networks: An Assessment of Mobile-Enabled Financial Services in the Philippines Might be a document you’d be interested in.

  6. Isn’t it actually called Moleskine?

  7. Yes Joe, you are correct. I just looked on one of mine and there is an ‘e’ at the end.

  8. Thanks Joe, I’ve just fixed all of my mis-spellings.

    @ John – great story, thanks for the link!

  9. A year ago I spent £1000 on a super portable PC to improve my productivity. A month ago I bought a £10 moleskine. Guess which improved productivity more!
    Yep – the moleskine. Probably because the paper feels so nice!

  10. What is this “paper” you speak of?

  11. How often do you back it up?

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