When you have a hammer…

Sarah O'Keefe / Opinion1 Comment

…everything looks like a nail.

We all suffer from this syndrome to a certain extent. Once you develop familiarity with a particular tool or technology, you see possibilities everywhere.

Sean McGrath
refers to this as the Just Use X Club. He is none too happy with the rising membership in Just Use X and proposes a counter-organization:

A second club needs to be formed called “When not to Just Use X” club. This group should devote itself to taking all values of X from the “just use X” club and listing off all the scenarios in which each X should not be used. They should also list off all of the things which will not automatically be true by virtue of the use of X. They should also list off all the areas where good old fashioned thought and design and hard work cannot be replaced by the simple gambit of using X.

This fall’s Intercom will launch my new column, tentatively titled The XML Strategist. The first installment is devoted to scenarios in which XML is not appropriate.

It would appear that Mr. McGrath and I are kindred spirits.

About the Author

Sarah O'Keefe


Content strategy consultant and founder of Scriptorium Publishing. Bilingual English-German, voracious reader, water sports, knitting, and college basketball (go Blue Devils!). Aversions to raw tomatoes, eggplant, and checked baggage.

One Comment on “When you have a hammer…”

  1. That is an excellent point and an idea from which people in all industries could benefit.
    I’ve seen companies choose tools based on their features, rather than how well they fulfill particular needs over and over again. A list like the one Mr. McGrath proposes could be a valuable resource–and counterpoint–for the typical evaluation process that focuses on what a tool “can” do, but rarely what it “can’t.”
    I look forward to your new column and you discussion of scenarios where XML is not the right answer.

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