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A Tool With No Job to Do is Wasting Your Money

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A Tool With No Job to Do is Wasting Your Money

We’re supposed to find the right tool for the job, but all too often we end up owning tools with no jobs to do.

Why do so many of us get this the wrong way round?

CHILDISH DELIGHT

As a parent, taking a child on a surprise visit to the toy shop is perhaps one of the most heart-warming activities, if not perhaps a little expensive.

It’s utterly delightful. Their eyes light up when they see the latest super-duper something or other. They’re suddenly full of ideas about the games they could play if only they had it.

Not that these were the games they were thinking about playing before you entered the shop, of course. But now they’ve seen the toy; these are the ONLY games they want to play.

And when they get if, like Woody in Toy Story when Buzz first arrives, the other toys will be relegated to second place.

GROWING UP

Perhaps this is a male thing, perhaps not, but we alleged grownups don’t seem to be much better. We hear about new “toys” all the time, like artificial intelligence, machine learning, 5G and the Internet of Things, and we immediately want to play with them.

But unlike children, we can’t simply relegate other “toys” to second place and forget about them. We have businesses to run, and many, many problems to solve. The playing of games is something of a luxury. 

Sadly though, our inherent attraction to shiny new objects means that all too often we risk buying something before we really understand what we’re going to use it for.

SHELFWARE

If you want a good example of this, have a look at the apps on your phone. How many do you use regularly? How many have you bought that are now nothing more than a waste of a few dollars?

When I looked through my iPhone purchases, the amount was staggering! I’m too embarrassed to tell you how much.

Now scale this behaviour to business and think about the many different software packages you’ve bought.

  • How many of those are you getting maximum value from?
  • How many features are you paying for that you don’t use?
  • And how many subscriptions go out monthly for stuff you no longer use?

And these won’t just be a few dollars each either. They’ll be so much more.

RIGHT JOB FOR A TOOL

Altruism isn’t high on the list of concerns of those who sell things for a living. They really just want your hard-earned coin to turn in to their hard-earned coin. And the modern world is set up to encourage you to spend.

But you can only spend it once.

And when you have, it’s much harder to admit your mistake and go out and buy the right tool. So, you end up trying to find a job for the tool you bought, with the result that all too often it’s not really a good fit. The shine wears off pretty quickly, and before you know it, it’s just another wasted resource, and the problem you thought you might solve still exists.

RIGHT TOOL FOR THE JOB

So, faced as we are today with a technology revolution that seems to offer panacea after panacea, I urge great caution with your purchasing. 

As I’m wont to say, if you’re looking at the technology, you’re missing the point.

Tools exist to help people be better at whatever it is that they do. So, when it comes to looking at the latest and greatest, make sure you’ve taken the time to understand the problem that you’re looking to solve and the people who’ll benefit from it.

And if you follow my five principles of technology use, you’ll have a far better chance of ensuring you have the right tool for the job.

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