How to Update 2021, With Mark Frauenfelder and Kevin Kelly of Cool Tools

This week, we learn about the tools and technology we need to improve our lives in 2021, with help from Mark Frauenfelder and Kevin Kelly, hosts of the Cool Tools podcast and the Cool Tools blog . Hear Mark and Kevin’s advice on what you can get for the best work from home, their favorite new technologies for 2020, and what they expect the future of work to look like after the pandemic.

Listen to The Upgrade above, or find us in all the usual podcast locations including Apple Podcasts , Google Play , Spotify , iHeartRadio, and NPR One.

Highlights from this week’s series

From an interview with Mark Frauenfelder and Kevin Kelly:

On why you shouldn’t get too hung up on choosing a software planning or communication tool:

I found that in the early days, when tools are first invented, there are many options and there are many trade-offs between them. But over time, they tend to converge. And in communication, as a rule, the means of communication show all the dynamics of the winner due to the benefits of community. And then over time, as in a text editor, their number will be reduced to one or two.

Kevin Kelly on how he chooses a physical instrument:

I prefer to find cheap and free stuff early on so I can figure out what I want out of it and what I really want to continue if I’m going to use it very often. And then when I use such a tool, or find a quality that I can appreciate, I kind of move towards buying that lifelong tool. I don’t start with lifelong instruments. This is contrary to many other people’s policy on tools, as they seem to want the very best. Why not get the very best you can afford? And I say that even if I could afford it, I don’t. I’ll start with a cheap strategy to figure out what I want. At the same time, if I have been using any tool for a long time, then I definitely want to move in this direction.

For more advice from Mark and Kevin on finding the best instruments, we recommend listening to the entire episode.

Any feedback or ideas for future episodes? Do you want to participate in the show? Leave us a voicemail at 347-687-8109 or send a voicemail to upgrade@lifehacker.com.

Episode transcript

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