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Limitations Have Exposed Me to Creative Solutions (With Microsoft Tools)

"Always be curious, and take closer looks at things you think you know." Image of Curious George from: http://socialtextjournal.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/thecurios.jpg

I get a lot of laughs when people see how I use Microsoft Office program in non-traditional ways such as PowerPoint for photo-editing and Excel for messaging (vs. Word).

Over the last several years, I’ve appreciated how to utilize my resources as best I can. When running full-time in a boot-strapped startup, spending money is for necessities. However, the market doesn’t care if you don’t have the money for things like Photoshop -- they want results. So I’ve learned to make-do with what tools at my disposal. It’s forced me to be creative and incredibly curious.

For example, PowerPoint is actually quite good at doing light photo editing. I always used PowerPoint before for presentations and slide decks, but can be used easily for formatting pictures and creating black and white images, graphics with emphasis, tutorials and getting started guides, etc.

Excel has become a fascinating messaging tool for me, not Microsoft Word. With Excel, I create different iterations of value props, email copy, etc. Then, I use formulas to count words, characters, and more. This helps me reduce my word count, create simpler messages while tracking the efficacy of the iterations.

Meager resources and focus on priorities have forced me to be more creative with my resources. This also represents a lot of my philosophy in startups and, perhaps, in life.
  • Limited resources can empower greater creativity and curiosity to solve problems
  • Always be curious, and take closer looks at things you think you know. There’s a good chance there are layers you did not know about (applies to people, too)
What are some unconventional tools you use and how? How has limitations empowered you to be more creative, more curious to get things done?

Note: my early days in corporate settings gave me a strong foundation with Microsoft tools, hence using these specific tools.

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