Blame the Tool

Spreadsheets Don't Kill People. People Do.

There's been quite a bit of stuff published in the past few weeks about the "dangers of spreadsheets". Excel in particular is being spotlighted as a dangerous tool hurting millions of people.

James Vowles, Robin Harris, Tim Worstall of Forbes are a few such voices.

So here we are again, blaming the tool for human failures.

I was taught it's an honorable thing to take responsibility for your own actions. But that is apparently not how a huge swath of our population live their lives.

When things go south, and people misuse a tool and someone gets hurt, instead of standing up and saying, "I did that, I'm sorry", we deflect the blame to something that can't defend itself: the tool we were using.

This long-used deflection strategy works time after time. "It wasn't me! I didn't pull the trigger!"

The tool is just a tool. The problem is people. Just accept that we are fallable, and that human failures can lead to human (and other) suffering.

Now get out there and do the best you can to avoid being a problem today.

A good tool, properly handled is a Thing That Works.

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