Skillset vs Toolset
3 min read

Skillset vs Toolset

I am on my final weight loss experiment starting March 15, 2021. I even gave it a sexy project name: P9669 😜 The name says it all, truly! I even made a poster for it.

P9669

Based on data gathered from the past 5 experiments (2015-2019), this project may last upto 18 months. This time I am testing hypothesis of my own BOWL method. A method based on cognitive science principles. I am also doing it as a #looseinpublic project for the fun of it. This must be the most boring project people see in the Instagram (@karthi2209). But this post is not about that. It is an observation I had during this preparation period that triggered an epiphany.

Every time I do a weight loss, I go through an elaborate preparation. In every weight loss I cook my meals. A crucial toolset of this period is my knife set which aides in cooking different types of food. From Honcho to Victrinox and everything in-between I have a collection. I even spent enough time to learn  how to use the knife set from my (restaurant) business partner. How to use a boing knife to a bread knife is a big part. It was a privilege to learn from a le cordon bleu chef. I cherish my knife set till date.

This time mom is supporting me with the entire meal preps for this weight loss experiment. Thanks to remote ways of working. I saw her struggling with her local knife and I told her she deserves better. In a day, I got her an expensive chef's knife. When she used it I could see the joy in her face.

One week passed by and I see her using the knife set better than me. No one taught her how to do it. I promise.

I asked her out of intrigue how did you know how to use it without anyone teaching you?

She looked straight into my eyes and said, "for a woodcutter, any axe works".
She continued, "an ace woodcutter knows how to work with the tools (good, bad and ugly). It is the skillset that makes the toolset powerful and not the other way around".

She pointed at me and said, you may have the best knife set in the world but you should know how to cook first 🙈

btw, i am a decent cook. Compared to a master chef like her i will fall flat. But on an ordinary scale, i still flair well. That comment felt like a slap on my face and it made me think.

This incident lingered for a week. Yesterday when we were discussing how to prepare for our upcoming cohort based course for Webflow, I insisted we have a foundation week first and then deep dive into toolset (https://wfi.nocolo.co). My team was puzzled. This will increase our cohort period by another 3 weeks without increase in revenue. Sounds like a stupid decision from the outset. All said and done, I wanted it to be that way. I had my own reasons for the decision.

The knife set was still circling in my mind when i took that decision. Before knowing the types of knives and how to use it, a chef should know how to cook, how to think about elements, how to play with alchemy and create the magic of a dish. Toolsets are important but they are useless when the skillset is not sharpened. Time to change the way we educate ourselves.

Even if you know how to use Figma but do not know how to design, you will fall flat.

Cooking before cookware.

Designing before design tools.

Web building before web builders.

Skillset before toolset always.

I am learning how to cook now and my pride for my knife-set has done down drastically. Now I am mindful of the alchemy that cooking creates.

🥂 to skillset first and toolset next!

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