Product Designer or Tool Maker

Who are you? I love to make stuff. Some people call this a product designer. I’m I sub-specialist. I’m a tool maker.

Tool making is an ancient pursuit. As long as we’ve had opposable thumbs we’ve probably been making tools. I love making things that people can use. When I was making pottery I loved making utilitarian times that people could use every day. I made a lot more money making decorative pottery (a.k.a. Art), but I loved making tableware. There was no money in that back then (pre-eBay, pre-Etsy), so I started making digital products instead.

The first digital tools I made were for small business owners, editable websites where they controlled their content and product listings (powered by Filemaker Pro and WebStar on Mac web servers in colocation). This was back in the 1990s, before things like turn-key shopping carts, WordPress and Woocommerce.

But then I got a job making tools for a giant bank. I led product design for their commercial banking division and it was a blast. I learned so much and experienced making tools with other people that loved to make tools too.

More recently I made tools to help people build their own tiny houses – tiny house plans that were designed as step-by-step instructions instead of cryptic plans drafted by architects and engineers. These plans were tools to empower people to achieve their freedom.

I still make plans, and constantly draw design concepts of all sorts – but they are not products which is probably why I’m not a millionaire. I make tools, and I love it and I’m damn good at it – IMHO. Maybe someday I’ll strike it rich when I make the right tool – but that’s not my goal. I just want the next challenge. I just want the next problem to solve – the next puzzle to finish.

Leave a ReplyCancel reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Exit mobile version