Custom Tools

I get a big kick out of watching the show How It’s Made. I enjoy learning about the physical engineering concepts used in creating many of the things we take for granted in our lives. Contact lenses. Aluminum foil. Pencils.

The other thing I get enthralled in is the mind-boggling use of specialized equipment for creating these objects. I don’t know if I ever really thought about how a big bakery made bread, but I’m sure I thought that I’d see something that resembled an oven in the process somewhere. And maybe a guy with a spatula on a pole, like at the pizza parlor. A real bakery looks nothing like that. It’s all custom-built equipment that is designed for nothing but mixing, balling, raising, cooking, cooling, cutting, and bagging bread. Very few human hands are involved, and somebody has clearly been thinking about ways to make it faster and cheaper for quite a long time.

So, why is it that we approach our development and IT tasks as if each one is a heirloom chest of drawers that needs to be chiseled out from the hewn oak with our bare, expert hands?