What is a metatool?
Over the past hundred years many major shifts have happened – primary among them the transition to the information/digital age with the attendant increase in mobility of capital, humanity, and information. Along with this has come a dramatic proliferation of tools.
A hundred years ago, in 1920, the tools an average person had access to could be considered in an afternoon, perused in a hardware shop or a few catalogs. Today there exist tools unimaginable back then – cell phones that can translate languages instantly while carrying thousands of books worth of information, websites that allow people to hire others for hundreds of different tasks (from transcription to design to app development), and 3D printers (delivered next-day from Amazon) that can create any components you like. If you’d rather not buy your own 3D printer, there are services that will print parts for you, in a wide range of materials.
Finally, there exist wholly new types of information, services, and experiences to unlock human potential itself. People like Tim Ferris and Tony Robbins have devoted themselves to sharing transformative information, techniques, and mindsets. Platforms like Udemy, Coursea, and Khan Academy democratize learning, empowering millions. Psychotherapy has advanced dramatically and is easier to access than ever before, with new services to help people find therapists. Ancient and novel arcane knowledge is in the open, and creativity–fostering tools are more widely available than ever (including the Oblique Strategies card decks – both physical and digital.) I could list dozens of other examples (and will on this site, categorized.) For example, crowdfunding is an extraordinary tool, so is cloud computing, blockchain, etc. etc.
This website is devoted to the idea that with this proliferation comes a new challenge – collecting, categorizing, and making accessible the wide range of tools. We’re all born knowing of none of these tools, and it’s easy to go through life not grasping the full power of the tools that are available (especially as they evolve rapidly.) I intend for this site to eventually include social submission and categorization, but for now it’s the work of one idiosyncratic person and any submissions that readers share. I will give a special focus to “meta-tools” that foster awareness of and fluency with other tools – one example and inspiration is the website Cool Tools, another is the book Tools of Titans by Tim Ferris. Tim’s book is filled with the techniques and strategies that help the world’s top performers succeed. I consider that book a meta-tool (a tool that unlocks/points to other tools), and I hope this website will become a dynamic resource for finding tools and meta-tools.
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