Start Cheap, Learn Your Craft.

I loved this article where the point is to start with the “worst tool for the job” instead of what one might consider “the best”:

… if you need a tool, buy the cheapest one you can find. If it’s inadequate, or breaks, or you use it a lot, then buy the best one you can afford.

If you follow this strategy, you’ll sometimes waste a little money by buying a cheap tool before buying a good one. But you won’t waste money buying expensive tools that you rarely use. And you won’t waste money by buying a sequence of incrementally better tools until you finally buy a good one.

via John Cook

There’s a lot of wisdom packed in there! And, to be clear, I’m incredibly-biased because this is how I approach learning most new things. An obvious and easy example is learning how to use YouTube and all of the associated skills in that universe, like capturing, editing, producing, and publishing!

Here’s my worst tool experience and how I eventually graduated to the “best one I can afford”:

  1. I started with “the worst” (or most immediately and cheaply available) toolf or the job: My iPhone (7 Plus). I captured, edited, produced, and published the entire damn thing, end-to-end, on that device! All-in-wonder solution, essentially.
  2. After a year+, I graduated to a “vanilla” GoPro — out of the box without modifications.
  3. After a few months, I experimented with after-market parts, adding external lighting, microphone, and other accessories. I used this for more than a year.
  4. When I decided to go “next level” I experimented with smaller DSLRs. I added parts to these just like I did with the GoPro.
  5. Then, this year, I started working with a Mirrorless DSLR which is usually better for video. I’ve since taken this and started adding after-market pieces as well.

Note: This was over the course of 3-4 years! I didn’t jump in head-first… I took my time to learn and understand the basics. In effect, I was learning my craft and my own personal style. Of course, I’m still amateur af, but, I have more reps in the metaphorical gym than most will ever have.

And, I know that my precision comes through sheer volumes of practice over a long, dedicated period of time.

I started cheap and “earned the right” to use better and better equipment. I know that this model and workflow doesn’t suit everyone, but, it does statistically save you more money in the long-run.

[Originally published on Indie Hackers.]