The Tools You Want vs The Outcomes You Need
Today my trusty steed of 8 years died. I have however been expecting this day for about 7 years.
He had survived attempted drowning by countless spilled cups of coffee. Was subjected to sandblasting in a 43°C Namibian desert. Was set on fire by the only ‘authentic’ replacement charger I could find in China. And survived no fewer than 347 drops from laptop bags, boardroom tables and airplane overhead bins.
Every time he powered himself back up I would find myself gasping, ‘You strong SOB, way to persevere buddy!’
He received an honorary burial where ‘geniuses’ respectfully whispered that they hadn’t seen a model this old and bent out of shape in their entire tenure at the ‘bar’. My next challenge was finding a replacement.
For those of you who don’t know. Apple basically shit the bed the last few years on their Macbook line by shipping a substandard keyboard. Then they refused to admit it, loading customers with tons of frustration and repair costs. Lawsuits are ongoing.
It’s cowardly on Apple’s part, but an ongoing series of disappointing culture-defining moves by a company I once loved. While Steve Jobs is cursing at everyone at Apple HQ from his grave, I promised myself that I wouldn’t buy a new Macbook until they go back to the old ‘scissor key’ design.
And this brings me to the point of this post. When I analysed what I actually needed my laptop for I realised that I could fulfil 99.9% of my work on a very simple Chromebook that costs $200. Pretty much everything I do these days is browser/cloud-based. Online tools like Canva and GSuite have made hard drive depleting software programs obsolete.
[The Chromebook also offers me an opportunity to explore an interest of mine, sturdy low cost tech tools that could be implemented in 3rd world educational environments]
We spend too much time focusing on the features of products and services we buy instead of focusing on the outcomes we desire.
You don’t want a 43 slide Powerpoint presentation, you need to connect with the hearts and minds of your audience.
You don’t want a $5000 watch, you need to tell the time.
You don’t want to send your kids to a prestigious private school. You need to raise them to be kind, feel accepted, be intellectually curious, develop grit and feel unconditional love.
You don’t want the world’s most feature-rich project management software, you need to do the work and honour deadlines.
You don’t want 4000 anonymous followers on Instagram, you need to pick up the phone and call a friend who actually gives a shit about you.
Focus on the ‘tools’ that get you the outcome you need. Ignore the bling, superfluous and egotistical ‘features’ you think you want.