USB drives are en vogue


A long time ago, when I started out in this business of writing about technology, I remember getting big packages from technology companies with a lot of paper – press releases, customer testimonials and power points, printed and nicely collated. A few years into the Internet revolution, most of the stuff started to show up as email attachments. The file sizes increased and clogged the email clients. Next came everything burned onto a nice CD and now there is something new happening – most companies are passing out USB drives crammed with all the information that is needed for a big press launch.

The size of these USB flash drives varies from 32 to 64 megabytes and I am assuming its only going to increase. Its fairly cheap to hand these out – I am assuming less than $10 for a 64 megabyte drive. I now have a collection of two dozen of these drives – varying in shapes and sizes – from companies big (Texas Instruments) and small (Six Apart.) I hated carrying around the big folders and dead trees in my bag, but these drives are actually easy to carry and easy to catalog. So anyone who came up with this idea – hat tip to ya!


Karen Triard

They have more memory than a CD and hold more capacity than a floppy disc – so yes they very useful and handy at times.

Stacey Trish

I think they rock like madness dude!!!
You totally gotz ta get one man!
OK. They have a high speed memory and enough negative space to file a photo!

Om Malik

yes they are usable though since these are 16-32 megs little good they do but sometimes just good to carry a few documents here and there – yes they are usable


Just out of curiosity, once the advertising or company/product information is no longer useful, are the USB drives reusable?

Lloyd Alter

In Canada, we are going through the “sponsorship scandal” where advertising companies are being pilloried for excessive markups and billings on government promotional business. If for every disbursement an ad company gets 10 to 20% then it is in thier interest to peddle a $10 USB hub rather than a $1 CD. I wrote this in

Wow. To get your attention, marketers are now giving out product literature on USB drives, even though they hold a fraction of what a CD does and cost an order of magnitude more. Broadband Guru Om Malik thinks they are great and has dozens. Treehugger cannot be bought so cheap- if you want your product on our site, please deliver the files in a shiny new iPod.

Dave McClure

apologies if i’m clueless on this, but does anyone know if there are wireless thumb drive units around at a reasonable price?

i like the convenience of a USB drive, but unless you have the new monitors with the USB plugs on the side that you can just click in & out, it’s kind of a pain for most of the PCs i use (i have to reach under the desk).

a wireless-enhanced unit that i could just leave in the back would be cool, if i could just be somewhere nearby and the remote drive was available.

(i’ll buy anyone who shows me the light on this a beer ;)

– dmc

Om Malik

Good points Daryll, but I think we could see a lot of innovation around the whole USB drive space. I am amazed at how little has been done to enhance the whole experience. Look at what Apple done with Shuffle

Daryll Strauss

I assume the companies are doing it for the impact. Getting your attention is worth the extra money. The nice thing is that you can flip the write protect switch and keep use them for something else.

I’ve got to wonder how much value there is to the company over handing out a CD. They can store a lot more. You have more area to put branding. They’re small and light and easy for people to carry. Most importantly, if you’re giving out a lot of them they cost less than $1 a piece.

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