Sometimes the best ideas are the ones we think are silly.

Real Estate Agent with DeLex Realty

In 1968, a Minnesota based company was trying to invent a new type of adhesive and did, although they initially believed it to be somewhat worthless. The inventor, a chemist by the name of Spencer Silver had invented a glue which was strong enough to hold light weight items together but weak enough to allow them to be separated without damage.

Mr. Arthur Fry, another company employee sang in his church choir, he began using the adhesive to hold his place. Later he would glue several pieces of scrap paper together for his secretary, as a way she could keep important hand-written notes posted in areas easy to get to. The secretary liked the pads so much she showed them to others in the secretarial pool, soon the pads were throughout the offices at the Minnesota Mining and Mineral company headquarters.

Eventually, the pads made their way to the secretary of the CEO of 3M and she made sure her boss knew of the value of the invention, which was only being used by 3M employees. Seeing the value of the item, the CEO, began the process of marketing the new invention to consumers and 3M companies introduced to Post It Note.  

Clearly, some of the best inventions are those we never thought were good ideas. Read more about post it notes and other clever, life changing ideas on my personal blog page at


Posted by

James (Jim) Lord


Comments (19)

Allie Angeloni
Long Realty - Oro Valley, AZ

Ok - LOVE and use Post-It Notes!  What a great invention and what an interesting and informative post Jim Lord!  AND, "Welcome to Active Rain", as this is a wonderful community to be a part of. 

Sep 16, 2018 12:34 PM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Jim, that is so true, but you never know, and now everyone has these!

Sep 16, 2018 12:42 PM
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Jim- I don't know what I would do without Post-it notes!!!!! Interesting story and a reminder to have faith in our ideas. 

Sep 16, 2018 05:24 PM
Jim Lord

Yes, post it notes saved more than one day. Thank you!

Sep 24, 2018 07:30 PM
William Feela
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

Many inventions are cast aside for periods of time until the right appplication pops up

Sep 16, 2018 06:08 PM
Jim Lord

Coke is another one that has an interesting story!

Sep 24, 2018 07:31 PM
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224


                                    Thank you, Jim. 

Sep 22, 2018 05:47 PM
Jim Lord

Thank you Kathy!

Sep 24, 2018 07:29 PM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Jim - now there's a secretary who hopefully was given a bonus or a promotion.

Sep 23, 2018 04:18 AM
Jim Lord

I would hope so, I have no idea what happened to her!

Sep 24, 2018 07:21 PM
Al & Peggy Cunningham, Brokers
RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage - Brampton, ON
Our Family Wants To Help Your Family!

Love the post it notes especially the larger, lined ones! What would we do if 3M didn't share....!


Sep 23, 2018 04:44 AM
Jim Lord

Lucky for us 3M liked the profit! 

Sep 24, 2018 07:22 PM
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning Jim. What a good read and so interesting. Never underestimate an idea. :)

Sep 23, 2018 05:03 AM
Jim Lord

I just wish I had more of them (or at least one that was post it note good)

Sep 24, 2018 07:28 PM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

There is nothing like American ingenuity!

Sep 23, 2018 09:06 AM
Jim Lord

or mistakes!

Sep 24, 2018 07:22 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Such a great story and a wonderful invention. Maybe a silly idea but look where it's gone!

Sep 23, 2018 09:10 AM
Jim Lord

It is crazy how many ideas were mistakes. My uncle was a 3M chemist and he has tons of stories like this!

Sep 24, 2018 07:22 PM
John Henry, Florida Architect
John Henry Masterworks Design International, Inc. - Orlando, FL
Residential Architect, Luxury Custom Home Design

It really is amazing how things get invented.  Great story, thanks much.  Gives us all hope to invent something worthwhile and get rich and famous!! ha

Sep 23, 2018 09:32 AM
Jim Lord

Funny enough, when you work for 3M obviously the idea becomes property of 3M, however, you get promoted to an "idea guy" (I forget the original name they give them) and your job becomes basically thinking of new products (or nothing) as a reward. 

Sep 24, 2018 07:21 PM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

This is a wonderful story.

It reminds me of the saga of the "Chicken Soup for the Soul" books. All the publishers thought feel-good stories were a terrible idea - no one would buy them. I'll bet all of them who turned the first book down wishes they'd said yes.

Sep 23, 2018 09:51 AM
Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®
Lewisburg, WV
Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate

A very interesting story.  Who doesn't love the post-it-notes. 

Sep 23, 2018 03:16 PM
Jim Lord

I use a ton of them!

Sep 24, 2018 07:26 PM
Pat Starnes-Front Gate Realty
Front Gate Real Estate - Brandon, MS
601-991-2900 Office; 601-278-4513 Cell

I had a couple of great ideas for inventions, one as recently as 6 months ago, until browsing a local department store, I saw my "invention" on the shelf.  

Oh well. Better luck next time!

Sep 23, 2018 03:34 PM
Jim Lord

That is funny, a buddy and I one day talked for two hours about how they should make an old school handset for a mobile phone. We hung up, a minute later I got a text with the handset. 

Sep 24, 2018 07:26 PM
Kevin J. May
Florida Supreme Realty - Hobe Sound, FL
Serving the Treasure & Paradise Coasts of Florida

Original Post It Notes are da bomb! The competiton can't hold a candle to 'em. Here via Kathy Streib 

Sep 23, 2018 06:53 PM
Jim Lord

I agree!

Sep 24, 2018 07:25 PM
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

You never know what crazy idea can be the next craze!

Sep 23, 2018 07:00 PM
Jim Lord

Beanie Babbies.... Garbage Pale Kids..... 

Sep 24, 2018 07:29 PM
Sharon Tara

We had them both!

Sep 25, 2018 05:37 AM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker, eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

I'm looking at a pad of bright pink lined post-it notes that are sitting on my desk. I have different colors in my drawers. This was an invention that was quite a success.

I love crazy ideas. Often there is a lot of value in them.

Sep 24, 2018 10:47 AM
Jim Lord

You can never tell, look at the petrock! 

Sep 24, 2018 07:25 PM
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

I wondered who created the Post it Note, other than Romy & Michelle at their High School Reunion!  What a concept and probably quite a fortune.  Thanks for sharing!

Sep 24, 2018 06:12 PM
Jim Lord

Really, really bad, bad, bad movie!!! 


Sep 24, 2018 07:19 PM

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