Tools That Inspire Us

(If you haven't read the high level overview, Simple x "Never" = Insane, you might want to start there.)



From What's Missing from Current Tools?

The other day I claimed that using Notion is fun, which made Bryce and Mallory squint with an obvious look of "that's what you consider fun?" So I backtracked and went with "breezy." But I have to say, tools that are super breezy verge on fun. Why does Notion feel breezy? It's because they've perfected the most boring little operations. Things like: write one sentence, hit enter, start a bullet list. It adds up.

Apple Pencil 2 + Google Jamboard

This combination is so good that when we get together in person we use iPads instead of whiteboards now. These are tools that get out of the way. Just like Notion. It's one of the few times a day when you can hear yourself think, instead of being interrupted by some tiny annoyance in the tooling.

Engineering Stuff


Everything that's good about bottoms-up inline styling, plus everything that's good about top-down abstractions of CSS. And their documentation visually explains flex and grid quite well.


Fast to set up, simple, performant, and absurdly (I might even go so far as to say "inspirationally") well-documented.


It's difficult to measure the value prop of Retool, but I've got a personal metric -- StackOverflow searches. Retool is a StackOverflow killer. Especially for backend devs, it saves so many searches around HTML/CSS/JS/React. More companies should use it.

VSCode Javascript REPL Extension

It's all here, on a small -- this tool autogenerates UI (no need for console.log()), it encourages incremental tinkering, and it is breeeezy...

iPython + VSCode SLIME-esque functionality

If you enable auto-reloading of imported modules, you can basically turn your entire python project into a live REPL.

Bret Victor demos

I don't know how many times I've watched the first ten minutes of this talk.