Craftsmanship is manual labor

January 2022


As someone who believes in standardization & reusability let me give you a counter-argument to fight your case: "why is it that there are buildings no more like in the image below, all studios, cars, phones, fashion, and people look the same?" You won't change their mind, however they will take a good 3-minute pause because you are right.

You can’t build an epitome by being efficient. Craftsmanship is personal and manual labor. Streamlining delivery by automating workflows to a standard will give outsized business returns. But there is a cost and that’s called culture.

Standardization means things are generalized to be projected on a single yardstick. It generates parity between composites at a loss of details. Detailing takes labor. Labour is hated. The perceived notion of “quality” in bulk production emerges because the standards are low.

Now I advocate for whatever accelerates go to market in software design - like a design system. Money is made from utility. Utility is replicable (means can differ). The crux of it is as soon as your “experience” gets comparable you find yourself competing.

In the years coming, any generative tooling that optimizes workflow will get integrated to make “hand work” accessible & efficient, not replace the thought behind it. Much like the industrial revolution. Non-standardized hand-made goods physical/digital and the artisan will get immensely valuable. ↓

And engineering innovation on its way to stagnation should get re-discovered. I hope it does!

Anyway, if engineering isn’t standardized at the start, you likely can’t pull that off in the middle, until you are choked. The cost to restructure infra to scale is high - dollar & sentiment. Ambiguities emerge. And brute force has its limit. Both have merits.