This Forgotten Startup Productivity Tool Is Making a Comeback

Just because you can do something digitally doesn’t mean you should

Joe Procopio
3 min readJul 28, 2022


image by freepik

The ever-expanding mainstream adoption of digital and mobile devices has sparked an innovator’s evolution, bringing to bear a ton of software to help business leaders be great at — or at least appear great at — a lot of diverse skills.

We’ve got artificially intelligent SaaS applications to help us build and sell our products, track our revenue, and even find and hire our talent. But there’s one extremely powerful analog productivity booster that was made nearly expendable by the digital revolution, and then made nearly extinct by the shift to remote work.

So yeah, it’s easy to spend an entire day staring at a laptop screen filled with various software productivity tools. But when was the last time you stood in front of a whiteboard and got creative?

Creating Design and Flow

Whether I’m designing new products, re-engineering old processes, or planning out the next big company initiative, the ability to quickly draw, write, erase, and think out loud on a whiteboard is something I’ve never been able to reproduce digitally.

There’s something about the tactile feel of a pen on a surface that opens up maximum creativity. Even the act of just standing, with or without other contributors in the room, shifts my paradigms in a way that sitting in front of pixels just can’t.

I’ve even gone so far as to whiteboard out flow and design concepts, take a photo, then convert my drawing from the photo into some flavor of digital document to hand off to engineering.

Visualizing Complex Topics

Whiteboards are also an overlooked communication tool.

Once I started down that train of thought, I discovered that just bringing up the term “whiteboard” uncovered allies across a lot of different roles.

“I love a good whiteboard, Joe,” said my friend and startup attorney Jeff Wolfe, “Part of my job is to make complex topics easy to understand. If I’m talking with a startup about entity formation or IP protection, it really helps to use a whiteboard to…



Joe Procopio

I'm a multi-exit, multi-failure entrepreneur. NLG pioneer. Building & GROWERS. Write at and More at