Buttering Your Toast with a Fork
Today, we’re going to talk a little bit about the right tool for the job. I know lately, I’ve been busy rushing and gushing about the latest releases and it’s important to get the good word out, but what I wanted to discuss with you this morning is not just the work of design, but of the approach to design.
So often, especially when we’re in a hurry, we’ll reach out for a quick fix. For example, this morning, I was preparing breakfast and decided to use the fork [1. Initially designated as the egg deliver system.] I pulled out of the drawer to butter the toast as the toast just popped out of the toaster at the same time as my fork withdrawal. Normally, I would set the fork down, pull out a butter knife, and things would continue as usual without any disharmony caused by me, the butter container, and the fork. Today, I was sleepy; it was Monday, and I wanted to get on with the breakfast, get on with the other million things I had to do, so I applied the butter on the fork and the fork on the toast and it worked. It didn’t work very well, and the time I continued to smash the butter about on the toast (and damaging the integrity of the toast in the meantime), I could’ve reached down, pulled out a knife, and done a better job with an initial outlay of just a few seconds more, but would have saved time in the long run.
This is the obstacle everyone needs to be aware of–taking a perceived short cut can often lead to a longer (or comparable) developmental cycle that may well be inferior to the tried and true method. Secondly, you need to make sure you have the right tool for the job, and if you don’t, get it (or make it). Sometimes, using something for other than its intended purpose can be a good thing (especially, if you retool it), but quite often can be bad and have undesirable results. Remember the next time you approach your design to make sure you have the butter knife and not the fork. You don’t want to gouge all that hard work, do you?
Until next time, I bid you, dear reader, adieu!