Creative Creating: Create the Tools You Wish Existed

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Creativity

I use a lot of online tools for various tasks throughout the day. Most of the simplistic tools that I use (they focus on doing one thing), generally lack something that I wish they had.

Some of them do a great job, but look like they haven’t been touched since 1999. The interface is awkward/not intuitive, it’s crammed with advertisements, it’s built in Flash, and, most of the time, design, was an afterthought.

So instead of complaining, I’ve decided to re-build these tools.

I’ve already started by building three:

#1) Super Simple Stopwatch

Just like it sounds, it does one thing well: Keeps track of time. It’s extremely easy to use and responsive. I use it constantly throughout my day.

Super Simple Stopwatch

#2) Super Simple Mortgage Calculator

Again, this does one thing well: Calculates a mortgage so you can estimate your monthly payments.

Super Simple Mortgage Calculator

And now I’ve built a third: CASE+CONVERT

#3 CASE+CONVERT

This app converts text from lowercase, UPPERCASE, Sentence case, or Capitalize Case and vice-versa. You can type or paste your text, push a button, and it’ll transform your text. Try it out for yourself.

Case + Convert

You may ask: why create something like this if it already exists elsewhere?

Because it’s fun, challenging, and educational. Not only do I get to create and use the tool I want, but I learn valuable lessons and skills along the way.

The founders of 37Signals had a similar strategy when they decided to build a project management tool for their team which we now know as Basecamp.

I think it’s important for people to build and create things they wish existed or believe they can do better. Not only for the tools that come out of it, but for the entire experience of creating.

Are there complementary tools in your industry that you could create or improve upon?

Stay CREATIVE.

Last updated on August 31, 2016. Shawn is the President of Graticle, Inc. You can follow him at Google+

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Needed someone with WordPress skills to update a custom website with a ton of plug ins after originator left us high and dry. Found Graticle (Shawn) via WordPress search on Google. Shawn had it updated and running great in a short time. No problems, easy to work with and reasonable priced.

Sharon Evans

Escrow Association of Washington

www.e-a-w.org

Ellensburg, Washington

I really can’t fully express how great my experience was working with Shawn and Graticle. I work for a non-profit and our website had fallen into disrepair–we had even lost ownership of our domain name! But Shawn went above and beyond and walked me through the process of getting our domain name back, along with the complete design of the new site. I absolutely LOVED that he developed videos that walked us through the process of managing the website–from logging in, to editing photos, to changing content–he covered all the bases we needed to take care of our new site. This was particularly appreciated because, as a non-profit, we will likely be moving through web managers over the years and having these videos to pass on to each new manager will be an incredible relief, and will (hopefully) help us avoid the trap we fell into with our last site. He is the most responsible businessman I’ve ever worked with, he was extremely prompt in his replies to emails, and I never felt like he left us hanging or confused at any step along the way. I recommend his services with full marks! You won’t regret it!

Katrina

Friends of the Willamette Valley National Wildlife Refuge Complex

FriendsWVNWRC.org

Corvallis, Oregon