I would agree that the tool matters less than the user, that a young boy in the Dominican Republic is better off having an unrelenting drive to play baseball and his bare hands than a nice leather glove but no love for the game.
Constraints create creativity.
But if corporate jobs are so valuable to companies, economies and families, why do their environments not elicit strong consideration of the best tools and wisest workflows? If these jobs are the natural progression for grade-school kids who become middle schoolers who go through high school who graduate college, why can we not say that this arena cares deeply about their hardware and software — the tools of today?
Isn’t it a little odd that “YouTubers” with a few subscribers refuse to do their work on anything but a Mac but thick, heavy, cheaply made Windows PCs are as much a part of the “workplace” as a break room?
I make a sliver of the income my mom does. But I use Things 3 as my task manager while she uses a paper to-do list.
I write about auto racing while my mom does fancy financial government stuff. But my email is managed in a well-made third-party app like Spark or Airmail while she’s only ever used dated Microsoft Outlook apps or the default email app from Samsung that comes on their phones.
I’m obviously not writing to offend my mom — it’s not in her hands anyway. But isn’t this backwards? Shouldn’t high-level employees at major companies be outfitted with carefully considered solutions?
This is an interesting divide today. It’s akin to kids having certain texting or social media habits (say, staying in or rushing out of an iMessage conversation to manage the other person knowing if you read their message or not) that they could simply never explain to their parents. There’s a subculture where the latest Apple devices are bought but, more importantly, the most elegant, useful software is debated. If you don’t believe me, here’s the beginning of the About page at The Sweet Setup, a website with a unique goal:
We enjoy spending an inordinate amount of time and energy to research, test, and find the very best apps.
Who wants just any weather app? Not us. We want the best! And so do you. That’s why our goal is to help you (and ourselves) find the best apps for your iPhone, iPad, and Mac.
Perusing The Sweet Setup for their opinion of the best weather or writing or email app for too long is obviously a distraction from doing the real work we all have to do. But this care for getting the most out of our well-designed hardware, despite being something I can’t currently explain, I consider important.
But you can’t care to have the best software on a Windows PC — or an Android device for that matter — because it just doesn’t exist there. So how can anyone with a Windows PC possibly know that Ulysses is better to write in than Microsoft Word? The change has to start with the hardware, or the platforms at least.
But the initial change required is a cultural one. The drive to play baseball can’t effectively be forced on the youngster in the Dominican Republic; he cultivates it himself. Caring for anything artificial like this is a hard step to make. But I believe the revered corporate world should be a place where these things matter. It doesn’t, and it sends a clear message.