What can be said about tools? They separate us from most of the animal kingdom.

Although I did see a video of a crow fashioning a hook out of a piece of wire so that it could pull a piece of meat out of a cylinder.
Tools set us apart from our competition if we can secure a competitive advantage. Often this does not involve new tools but using the ones we have effectively.

Sometimes you have to build a tool before you begin to develop your subject system.

Make or buy applies here as well. I remember when my employer was having a new building built on a new industrial park. There was to be a lake built for the employees to enjoy. While watching the big earth movers dig the hole I just asked myself how many people would it take with shovels to do that job?

You can tell what I think about tools just by looking at the logo at the top of the page. Spidel Tech Solutions. Small Spidel leverages tools (spelled technology) to produce big solutions. When I was a kid I would spend way more time trying to find an easier way to do a chore than the actual chore would take.

Here is another. I once heard that if you take a loaded semi to the foot of a mountain and put a gallon of gasoline into it, it can pull the load up the mountain as far in a few minutes, as it would take 59,000 men an hour to do. Tools, you gotta luv'em. Some tools are required just to play the development game.

A Tool Example

My first development experience was building a telecommunications device with an embedded controller. I had no development tools except a production hardware unit and a prom programmer. No assembly language, no compiler, no development system, no nothing. I probably cost the company $50,000 developing my own development system as the product was developed. By the time the product shipped I had a pretty souped up development system complete with analog gauges to tell how hard the CPU was working. We could have bought one for half the price but you couldn't convince management that these things were necessary. The product earned about 30 million dollars in revenue so you would think the tool investment would have been worth it.


Can you spend too much on tools? Yes you can. Can not having the right tools be an excuse for ineffectiveness? Yes it can. So there is this tension between tool investment and commitment to success. Even changing tools has a price. There is a learning curve for the tool user.

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