Is the problem in the tool or the user

Anton Nikolov
4 min readFeb 25, 2019
Drawn by Anton Nikolov

Let’s talk about sticky products and how we use them in our daily life. If they are good or bad for us and what can we do to stay on the good side of using them.

Have you heard recently one of these pieces of advice from a wise friend?

“You should stop using Facebook/Instagram it’s a waste of time!”

“You don’t need a TV, it only eats up your time!”

“Stop looking at your phone (portable device) in bed. Your bedroom is only for sleeping and sex.”

“Don’t install APPs on your phone they only distract you.”

Essentially there is an underlying pattern that can be noticed in this type of claims.

“Stop using [TOOL] because it is bad [Describe in what way it is bad].”

I won’t argue if these claims are true or not. They have a paradoxical aspect, in my opinion. They can be true and false depending on the user using the tools involved.

“A sword never kills anybody; it is a tool in the killer’s hand.”

― Seneca

Tools can’t be bad or good, they are tools. People keep blaming the lack of self-discipline and mindfulness on the tools and not on the real culprit.

How good tools turn into bad ones

Do you spend time thinking about how you use the tools around you? Do you know Why you really use these tools?

Good tools are easy to use and feel intuitive. You can grab them and start using them without thinking.

Good tools are sticky until they stick so much that they become bad tools. People tend to be mindless when using a good tool. This frequently helps us adopt habits that eventually eat away our precious time and give us small value for the price.

There will be always negative and positive sides in each tool you use.

It is up to the user to control what he gets back from the tool. Just like Frodo and Sauron's ring. The choice is yours. The tool can be a lifesaver or destroyer.

Some examples of good tools that can turn bad quickly



Anton Nikolov

Searching for pragmatic balance in life. Writing about UX Design, Health and Family-development with the aim to learn and inspire. Parent of 1 lovely girl.