An ode to Cut and Paste (or Larry Tesler Day)

Posted on 09/20/2011



You’ve used them thousands of times. CTRL+C and CTRL+V (And CTRL+X and CTRL-Z if you’re a L33t H4x0r).

They are ingrained into the Mac and the PC–and our daily lives. Think about the hullabaloo when our smart phones couldn’t cut and paste. There was an uproar of epic proportions.

You ever wonder where they came from? Probably not. But stop and think for a moment…what would your daily life be like without them? Seriously, consider that for a moment. How effortlessly it is done now and how much more manual it could be.


How would you like to be the guy who created that handy little tool? Now, that would be sweet. You could die happy knowing you helped so many people. I have often thought about how cool it would be able to watch people do your little addition to the OS of your choice, over and over again. It’s got to be extremely satisfying.


Early first usage of the cut-and-paste feature that you may be familiar with (because most of you wouldn’t know what a green screen is) was introduced by Apple, with their 1981 machine, Lisa.


And the Macintosh in 1984


They started by using the Command key + C and V and X


Then, Microsoft decided to employ it into windows, and it became Control + the same keys.  Yes, yes! You know all this!


Now, the question is, who is the developer who came up with the idea?  And how much earlier did he or she come up with it before even Apple got a hold of it? (Or did he or she bring it to Apple?)

The key person you can thank for your years of handy cutting and pasting is Larry Tesler who came up with the idea in 1974-1975 while working for IBM. 

Dear readers, I was just a child when Larry was kicking it old skool. I never knew. I was so ignorant of the monumental creation this man had given to the world. (You scoff, but you are a fool. This is a huge part of our lives now)

Oh, and —surprise!–Larry also worked on the Lisa computer.

Larry is now a Big Brain who others go to for strategic management help. He’s been in various executive positions throughout his career.   And here’s his personal page too.

Larry needs a heart felt THANKS from the internet. What he added may seem like a small thing, but try going a day without using it. It’s ingrained in our every day lives now, like cell phones, toilet paper, and bacon!




We need to have a Larry Tesler Day. Who’s with me? Let’s celebrate this man and his small (yet HUGE) contribution to the efficiency of us all.



Thanks, Larry!










Posted in: Technology