What's your core competency?

Playing off my earlier post, Duncan talks about buying a laptop in an emergency. I had a similar situation once too: my MacBook (then my sole machine) had been afflicted by the random shutdown problem that some early units had. I can't exactly remember what I was working on, but it was about six days before I had a major deadline.

The next day, I went out and bought a Mac mini and delivered on time.

Duncan says:

This is a lesson I need to figure out how to apply to other decision making processes in my business when I’m not up against a wall. For example, I think that I’ve agonized way too much over figuring out what my next storage solution should be. At some point, I’m going to have to just pull the trigger and get out there and make more photographs.

I think the key question here is this: what's your core competency? The smaller a business you are, the more critical your focus on that core has to be.

For Duncan, his competency is delivering a great shoot to his clients. For me, it's delivering robust, well-designed, well-supported useful Macintosh software. I'm not a great web designer, nor a payment processing expert, nor a crack webserver sysadmin. So I outsource two of those three, and burn with shame at how ugly the site is.

For me, running Connected Flow on what is still a minority of my working week, time savings are of the essence. Here's one example where I did spend the money: when I added a second 30" Cinema Display to my Mac Pro. The efficiency gains are incredible when you can look at four code windows side by side at the same time, each showing 200 lines of code, with a run log across the bottom. When I come home from school, get the kids down at 7 and sit down to 3 hours of coding, I know that I can more done, faster and with less frustration on these big displays.

My core competency isn't flipping windows, it's writing code. Investing in better tools to do that makes all the sense in the world.