Tools are for building

In two days Apple will release a new version of its Mac operating system, so last Saturday I watched the guided tour and read about all of the 300 new features of “Leopard.”

I thought my strong interest in the new operating system was justified since I’m going to take the opportunity to replace my 4½ year old Titanium Powerbook with a new Leopard-powered notebook. But then I got thinking, it’s just a tool. Using a Mac isn’t my goal per se. I might as well get exciting about all the tools at Home Depot — and I do — but if I don’t build anything with them, they’re useless.

Jon Udell refers to himself as a “toolsmith” — someone who loves the tools of his trade — and I think I have a bit of that in me. Being a toolsmith means knowing the ins and outs of one’s tools, with the potential to be very productive with them. But Merlin Mann warns against continual “fiddling” with tools and systems and methods at the expense of just Getting Things Done.

Use whatever tools work best for you, but use tools to build something.

6 replies on “Tools are for building”

  1. Reminds of a quote from Gordon Hinckley

    It is not enough just to be good. You must be good for something. You must contribute good to the world. The world must be a better place for your presence. And the good that is in you must be spread to others

    seems to me thats what the MORE GOOD foundation is all about

  2. Richard,
    It was interesting to read this post. I suppose I have some serious toolsmith in me but I have always appreciated that you seem to have vision about using tools. You seem to have a knack for putting application to ideas or tools. I have long felt this was a natural gift for you that allows you to take theory to practice. Maybe you aren’t as much of a toolsmith as you think.
  3. Yeah, i’m a little bit of a “toolsmith” or “tool/toy” collector myself. Its hard to distiguish between needs and wants, I have a few tools that sat unused for a year, but when i bought my house they now get a LOT of use and I was soooo glad i had them.

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