Tools Matter

There's a bit of a meme going around about how tools don't matter, which, in my humble opinion, is completely and totally wrong. Or rather, it's incomplete. It should be called "tools dont matter when youre getting started."

The idea behind this "tools don't matter" philosophy is that you shouldn't use not having the right tools as an excuse for not doing something. The argument being - you want to be a photographer? - pick up whatever camera you have and start taking pictures. This, I agree with completely and think it's great advice.

There's a certain point however when tools are in fact critically important. Ask a designer to use a windows machine instead of a Mac and tell them their tool of choice doesn't matter. See how hard they laugh at you.

Could a surgeon slice you open with a steak knife more effectively than I could use a ten blade? Of course. But that doesn't mean she should be performing surgery without the right tools for the job.

Tools, and the ability to make and use them, are in fact a central component in our evolution and are what allowed humans to ultimately rise to the top of the food chain. The ability to create tools is something that only few animals possess, and those that do make more comfortable lives for themselves.

We reach a point in our work where tools not only matter, but that using the right ones has an enormous impact on our productivity which in turn, as I just read in Delivering Happiness, has a real impact on our overall happiness.

If you're the CEO of a 100 person company, and you start using tools that make everyone 10% more productive - that's the same thing as hiring ten more people. Go ahead - tell the business owner that just saved $1 Million in salaries, 401(k) contributions, healthcare expenses and taxes that tools don't matter.

One of the reasons I love working for myself is that I can usually use whatever I please to get a particular job done. I truly feel bad for people when they tell me that they want to use a certain piece of software for their work but aren't able to do so. Because it's akin to telling a chef that they can't use their favorite knives, or a baseball player that they can't use the bat of their choice, or a guitar player that they can't use their favorite strings.

Tools Matter.

So yes, get started on whatever it is that you want to do with whatever you have available to you. At some point though, you will start getting better and you should treat yourself to some new tools.

Because the right tools will definitely help take you to the next level.