Tools: The New But Always Was There Theme

It’s time for change.

Writing has been a struggle for me this year. I haven’t felt like writing and even when I did write, the fun in it was hard to find.

How do I get that back? Well, for one, I think I set myself up for failure. The Fab Friday, the Maintain Monday, the Quarterly Reports were chores. Something to check off. Fun at times, but busywork at other times. I found for myself that obligated writing is usually not creative and ends up being unfulfilling. So for now those are gone (not that I did them much this year). And for two, I think I lacked a common, tangible theme that ties everything together. Actually, I think the theme has been there all along, I just never realized it. And that theme is Tools.

Tools

I love tools – especially the concept of tools. The idea that there are devices, methods, systems, et cetera that help people create and live better. Tools that take common energy and leverage it, transform it – creating something much grander, more precise, and more beautiful.

My professional experience as a mechanical engineer includes the designing and manufacturing of different types of machines – Carbon fiber prepreg converting machines and aluminum casting machines. That is where I got the taste for building tools. In my off time, I constructed a scratch built 2′ x 2′ cnc router and 275 gallon PID controlled oven. Building those brought such joy even though I don’t use them much at all. All this has led me to focus on designing and prototyping products as my day to day work.

And looking back, writing on this blog has been about discovering tools and providing tools to help myself and others create better. Just look at the homepage right hand column. There are links to written content that is meant to be used as tools.

Creating

I’ve said it before, but I believe that creating is such a critical, core component to human existence, right there next to love. Everybody needs to be creating something. And everybody needs to figure out what type of creating they are both good at and love to do. If you are lucky, you figure that out quickly, but in many cases it takes time. I knew I was passionate about building things, but I just recently honed in on the fact that I love building tools. I had to drill down. Currently, this is where I am at:

  • Creating
  • More specifically, I love to build things
  • More specifically, I love to build tools
  • More specifically, I love to build tools that allow others to create.

My recent project, Tackoma, hits on this. It’s an organizational tool. A tool that takes advantage of empty walls and creates usable, creative space where there wasn’t before. It was in this process of designing, prototyping, and marketing Tackoma that I realized this joy for building tools.

And professionally, this is where I want to be at: designing and building tools that allow others to create. Ideally, I would build a tool that allows the user to prototype or create their own devices. Or said another way, a tool that builds other tools. A 3D printer is a prime example of this. (In fact, did you know about the “self-replicating” 3D printers called the RepRap?).

What Does All This Mean?

The spirit of the blog will remain the same. As I had talked about roughly 2 years ago (wow!), there are 5 main reasons for this blog:

  • I wanted to create something new
  • I wanted to organize the ideas in my head in regards to starting a business
  • I wanted to start something public to keep me accountable
  • I wanted writing practice
  • I wanted to share what I’m learning (so that others could learn too)

But the theme will be tools. Questions like, ‘What tools have I discovered?‘, ‘What tools do I use to leverage my time, talent, and passion?‘ and ‘What tools am I working on now?‘ will be woven into the writing. Not necessarily overtly, but thematically.

Honestly though, not much will change because all this was in my writing before. I wrote this more for me. My mindset needed clarity and the hope is that this spurs me to write more. Maybe it will, maybe it won’t, but hopefully this realignment will create a better, more interesting writing environment. Oh, and a new website layout is cool.

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