Technology vs Tools

when NFTs blew up in the Summer of 2021, they served as a gateway drug to crypto generally. that’s because NFTs are an application, whereas crypto is a technology. and it’s a lot easier to get excited about a water fountain than the plumbing beneath.

yet technology is the plumbing. take HTTP, a protocol for sending data between clients and servers. meanwhile ReactJS is a tool; it abides by HTTP’s laws.

to most people at the time, it wasn’t obvious that a steam engine was the antidote to horses. apparently James Watt invented the “horse power” metric to better illustrate this relationship.

likewise it’s not obvious to most people today, what separates a tool from a technology. we just know that scientists develop things for ostensibly no purpose, and later some enterprising individuals create use cases (tools).

and that’s the rub. lately more people are building tools than technology. Ethereum, worth $300 billion, handles just 15 transactions per second. the Eth 2.0 release has been delayed for over 3 years. but sure, let’s make another PFP project.

needless to say, we need people working on both tools and tech. and most of us aren’t smart enough to deal with plumbing. but we can support those who are. this was likely the vision behind platforms like Patreon, which have sadly been reduced to fan club credit card processors.

anyway. before we can build technology, we have to learn it. and that’s my pitch. next time you find yourself with an hour to spare, read a free book about HTTP. not ReactJS. this one is my favorite.