Who still invests in mastering their tools?

Khoi Vinh writes about his reluctance to invest the time required to master a powerful new software product.

“I no longer find the kind of satisfaction that I used to in laying the groundwork for better productivity, in acquiring complex tools and spending copious amounts of time learning them and setting them up in preparation for the productivity gains they promise to yield for me. I just want to get stuff done with simple, reliable tools and methods that are easily comprehended straight out of the box, and then go about my business.”

I’m finding this true for me, as well. In particular, I’m not investing time in learning the ever-more-powerful creative tools I used to use. (Adobe Illustrator and InDesign, Microsoft Visual Studio, etc.) So now I’m exercising my creativity through others — whiteboarding, handwaving, and brainstorming with the tool-masters who can turn ideas into output.

I like the organizational productivity benefits of this “whiteboard elves” model, but I miss being able to dive in and get things done.

Better user interface, like Khoi suggests, may help. But I regret the loss of mastery I used to feel.

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