The Law of the Instrument can be seen in every web discussion forum, on sites such as Forrst and on Twitter. Ask for a CMS, blog or framework recommendation and you’ll see people immediately leap in to declare their hammer the best, without any knowledge of the requirements at hand – sometimes even when the requirements really rule out that tool from the outset
Rachel Andrew | ‘If all you have is a hammer…’
You cannot recommend a solution until you’ve identified the problem. Yet the web is awash with people pushing their favourite one-size-fits-all answers to whatever question is posed, whether a particular CMS, a certain programming language, or the latest social media cure-all. They are focused on a solution: one which works for them, one in which they are competent. Their own personal comfort zone, recommended as much for their own benefit as anyone else’s. But Twitter is not a marketing strategy, nor WordPress the only answer to web publishing.
I’m much more interested in problems, burrowing down into what’s really holding a business or organisation back and seeking out those golden nuggets, the smart ideas which are the real solutions to people’s complex, real-world problems. When someone asks for a recommendation, your first answer should be a question: what are you trying to do, what is the problem you are having, tell me more…