While stopping to get a healthy sausage biscuit at a local fast food place on the way to work yesterday, I noticed some construction guys working on the roof of (yet another) new fast food place next door. These guys were obviously students of the WorkSmarterNotHarder school of thought, passing metal roof panels from the ground to the 2nd story roof using a pair of vice grips tied to a rope. No ladder, no scaffold, no up and down, no huge crew. Just two guys using simple tools in straight-forward, creative ways.

At NewSpring, we’re working on a couple of large-ish web projects right now; one of them is specifically stretching our team into areas of experimentation and non-knowledge. For a particular aspect of the live streaming video components, we’ve been told everything from “$80k to set-up the infrastructure” to “that’ll be ballpark $1.2mil.” Ouch. But as we’ve been gathering info from various (really, really) nice people, it turns out we can do most of what we want to do with open source and relatively-inexpensive hardware/software.

By doing this we save money and time, which makes us more nimble and able to change directions quickly. We opt for straight-forward accessible tools, not out-of-reach technology. We use a small team to pull off big ideas by leveraging existing knowledge, technology and friends. Sometimes I feel like our whole web strategy is built with vice grips and square knots, but I’m ok with that.