“What do you need special software for to just make a recipe book? What’s wrong with Microsoft Word?” My nephew eyed me suspiciously. It was two years ago and I needed his software skills if I were going to make a quality recipe book.
Because I needed his help, I used the newspaper instead of the phone book to whack him in the noggin.
“Because,” I started, trying to seem patient, “Microsoft Word is designed for making letters. Microsoft Word does reports. Microsoft Word does resumes. Microsoft Word does Christmas letters. Microsoft Word does NOT organize recipes very well.”
“Huh?” he replied. (For an MBA he’s pretty thick.)
“I want a recipe book that’s alphabetized. I want a recipe book with a table of contents. I want a recipe book broken up by ‘cookies’ and ‘salads’ and ‘fish’. And I want to spend my time thinking about each recipe, not about how to make the indent in Microsoft Word go away.”
A glimmer of sentience seemed to appear behind his dull eyes. “Huh. Are there a lot of older women like you?”
“Yes. And don’t call me older.” Whack!
“And would they also like to be able to add photographs easily?”
“Yes. It’s a pain in Microsoft Word. The text goes everywhere when you put a picture in.”
“How about other features?”
“Well,” I offered, “it’d be nice to have an address book built in. And a birthday calendar. And a family tree—”
“And Microsoft Word can’t do that?”
“Well,” I admitted, “I guess it could. If you spent time organizing it all beforehand and you were willing to fight with it to make it look right.”
“What do you think about starting a software business?” he asked. “We could help thousands of people make their own recipe books.”
“And I’d get my own recipe book? Without having to use Microsoft Word?” I considered it. “Maybe…”
It’s two years later and our little software business is breaking sales records every month. We’ve helped a lot more people than I ever dreamed. And I got my own recipe book without using Microsoft Word.
But the best news is that my nephew has finally got his act together. I almost never have to use the newspaper anymore.