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Please, Throw Away Used Whiteboard Markers

How to be a leader in the whiteboard space.


Sometimes you go to the whiteboard and pick up a marker and start to draw or write, only to find that the marker leaves a faint line instead of a bold line. What happens next is a true indicator of a person’s character.

Answer honestly: Do you put the faint, used-up marker back on the ledge? Or in the special marker cup on the conference room table?

Or do you accept your responsibility, and throw that marker away?

That’s what Matt Quintanilla, who leads our product design group, always says.

“Throw away used markers.”

He’s right. And yet, day after day, year after year, people go to the whiteboard, use a faint marker, and then just leave that marker for the next person. After all, they think, it still has a little ink left. Maybe someone likes faint marker lines. Maybe someone will come along at night and refill it. Or it might naturally grow new ink. Really, who can say?

Matt Quintanilla can say—I can say—all of us can say together:

“Throw away used markers.”

It’s not wasteful. There’s nothing you can do for that marker. That marker is done. It’s a sign of respect for your peers.

“Throw away used markers.”

Legible whiteboards start with you.

“Throw away used markers.”

Thank you.

Story published on Feb 20, 2019.