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On Choosing the Right Tool

via layers feature in Canva

Forgive the butch analogy this morning.

But my dad was a self-employed carpenter. Growing up, when he would pick me up on the weekends, we would sometimes stop by his job sites, and I would want to help.

“Can't use regular pliers for that,” he would mutter. “You have to use needle nose pliers. And then after that, use the ratchet wrench for these table legs -- it'll let you maneuver in those tight corners.”

It wasn't about having the best tool. It was about having the right tool for the task at hand.

Some assembly can be done with nails and a hammer. But other assembly needs more durability -- screws, bolts, nuts, and washers. Attempting to mount a TV with nails and a hammer alone is asking for heartbreak.

Software works the same way

People ask me which email software is better, ConvertKit or ActiveCampaign, and I usually say “it depends.”

ConvertKit is more like a hammer -- better for smaller jobs. It's more nimble. ConvertKit is good for creators and people who want to use email, but don't need a lot of features.

ActiveCampaign, what I use, is more like a wrench -- more powerful, but also more tedious at times. You can build skyscrapers with ActiveCampaign, but to do so you need the right drill bit size, the right screw size, and the right wrench size. Otherwise you'll fuck the job up.

If you're shopping around for a new email tool, here's a new blog post that pits ConvertKit against ActiveCampaign, feature by feature.

🔗 Compare ConvertKit and ActiveCampaign

We Can't Tell Whether AI Side Hustle Data Is Any Good

c/o FT via Morgan Stanley Research

Now that early adopters have had a year to tinker with AI, many are using it to produce okay-ish written content at scale. The result is more pithy content everywhere. As the hustle rallying cry goes, “If the pith can be monetized, do it.”

People say GenAI is making them more money, according to research from Morgan Stanley recently covered by Bryce Elder over at the Financial Times. The problem is that survey respondents often lie.

Nevertheless, people who balance multiple income streams well are paying really close attention to AI, and you probably should, too. I like Elder's name for this group: “multi-earners.” The moniker feels more heightened than side hustlers, and also nicely describes how some professionals prefer a more portfolio career with fragmented income sources.

Some nice charts recapping the recent AI report in FT's article, if you'd like to read.

🔗 Read at Financial Times

Often, in order to be more efficient, we first have to understand what improvements to our workflow are even possible.

Notion recently released an integration gallery. This shows all the direct integrations Notion has with other tools. Check it out here.

Airtable already had this -- that page is here.

I still think Airtable is superior, because it connects beautifully with Zapier. The shit you can automate in Airtable is wild. But you have to envision it first. Notion is simpler.

Another hammer vs. wrench situation, I suppose. But please stop copy-pasting everything everywhere. That's not a good use of your time. And time is precious, since the AIs will take over the world soon.

If you need some tool refreshers, here are some previous blogs to get you up to speed:

🔗 What Is Notion?

🔗 What Is Airtable?

🔗 What Is Zapier?

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Cheering you on,

—Nick