"[Give people] a Post-it® note and they immediately know what to do with it and see its value."
The Post-it® is a small reminder note, stuck temporarily to documents, computers, and other prominent spots. Launched commercially in 1980 by Arthur Fry (b, 1931) and Spencer Silver (b. 1941), employees of 3M in the United States, the notes are available in a wide range of shapes and colors, although the original yellow, three- inch (7.5 cm) square note is still the most popular.
In 1968 Silver developed a "low-tack" reusable adhesive made of tiny, indestructible acrylic spheres. Sticking to a given surface at a tangent rather than flat against it, the adhesive was sufficiently strong enough to hold papers together, but weak enough to separate them without tearing. Silver envisaged its application as a spray, or as a surface for notice hoards. He spent five unsuccessful years promoting his more...