Useless Tools


I was assembling a bookshelf today (yes, I still read physical books), and I was dumbfounded and frustrated with the tiny wrench thingy that came with it to put in the screws.

Why in the world do companies continue to engineer, design, manufacture, and ship these useless tools?!

Perhaps the idea is that these furniture companies want to create the illusion of providing a convenient tool. Not only are they losing money in making these tools, they are also damaging their brand. After all, why would I trust the engineering of the furniture they make if they can’t even design a good wrench-screwdriver-thing-a-ma-bob?

It reminded me of a client wanted his web designer to build admin tools to make updates to his site. The web designer did not, however, make a user friendly interface. The web designer, of course, had no problem using the admin tools. My client, on the other hand, got lost in all the webanese jargon, and ended up constantly calling his web designer for tech support, which she charged my client for an additional fee.

Now, one could say this web designer was being very business savvy. I would argue, however, that she actually lost money and time in building a useless tool for her client. The biggest loss for her, however, was to her personal brand. I doubt my client will ever pass along a referral for web design. She should have just built a good admin tool.

Next time you design something, don’t be a tool. Make something useful.

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