Skip to main content

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.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

You Make Time for What (and Who) Matters

I’ve always been a big proponent that you make time for the things and people that matter. Sounds simple, right? Then, why do so many not implement this better in their lives? Let me take a moment to recognize this more explicitly.
I touched on Laura Vanderkam’s TED Talk “How to Gain Control of Your Free Time” in last week’s post. In it, she shares a story of a woman who had a leak in her home. Coordinating with plumbers, and getting everything resolved, the woman estimated that it probably took seven hours of attention. That’s seven hours of “stuff” the woman hadn’t planned on doing. If you were to ask her (or most anyone) to find seven hours in the week before, she’d have told you, “heck, no, I don’t have seven hours. I’m busy!”
I was thinking of Laura’s talk in conjunction with Jacob Christensen’s How Will You Measure Your Life. Specifically, I’m aligning “making time” with Christensen’s Resources-Processes-Priorities framework. We make (process) time (resources) for the things th…

Vertical SaaS? Horizontal SaaS? It’s All News to Me

Not sure why, but I have only recently heard of a term called “Vertical SaaS”. Okay, there’s also “Horizontal SaaS”, too. Based on some light research, looks like vertical SaaS is also a growing trend and the number of companies fewer than horizontal SaaS providers.
Vertical SaaS borrows its moniker from the concept of vertical integration whereby there is more control over a supply chain from raw materials to point-of-sale. Here, vertical SaaS companies focus on a niche market (industry) offering a solution that enables more process control.
Horizontal SaaS providers get really good at a particular offering, and widen their market to reach scale. Their focus is on breadth of market, and thus, its sales and marketing strategies can require more resources.
Many vertical SaaS companies (such as Veeva Systems, Guidewire, Fleetmatics) are doing well usurping legacy systems of traditionally slow-tech-adoption industries. Here, vertical companies develop a best-of-breed product, and focu…

My Life-Defining Moment Happened When I Failed to Make Varsity in High School

Ever stop to think about who you are? What makes you tick and tock? How about what you truly enjoy and what you’re good at vs. not good at? Or what/ who has shaped you into the person you are today?
I’m at this stage of figuring out whether to continue independent consulting while iterating on ideas for the next startup or take on some full-time employment (consulting, product management, or otherwise). My recent post about my daily/ weekly schedule was an interesting exercise in stepping back and recognizing what I’m actually doing in a day, and made me really think at the macro level.
In one of my recent reflections, I thought about defining moments in my life. One of those watershed events that truly transformed me was my failure to make the Varsity soccer team in high school. I won’t rehash the whole story here – shared the story almost a year ago in my post titled “Getting Through Dark Moments and the Most Vulnerable Story I've Ever Told Publicly”. It’s this moment that I w…