How do we make tool building more profitable?

[This was copied from stack exchange before deletion. It is a good question, but not a good fit for SE, so I am moving it here.]

How do we make tool building more profitable? [on hold]

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Background: We have a huge income disparity returning after a century of middle class success. One component of this disparity is that building a popular product (iPhone, self driving car, amazon.com, etc.) requires a lot of technical knowledge and skills. These skills only come naturally for a small percentage of the population. Normally that would be fine because they could do what they do best and everyone else could do everything else that needs to be done, but as we automate everything we are approaching a point where technical knowledge will be required to do anything.

We can try to teach tech to everyone, but right now the tools are so terrible that getting someone to the point where they can make something useful takes too long to be economically practical in the majority of cases.

If every tech genius focused on building better tools that could be used for creating products instead of building the products themselves, then anybody else could come up with an idea for a greener air-conditioner and design a prototype in a few weeks. I would love to build better tools myself, but fixing Linux, PHP and WordPress is not going to feed my family.

Question: How do we get the best and brightest in the tech world to focus exclusively on building tools when all the money is being made by makers of products. Is there a way to make tool building more profitable?

I am specifically looking for a business solution, not a government solution or grants. Extra bonus if your idea involves starting a business that will drive up demand for tech tools.

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edited yesterday

asked yesterday

Luke Gedeon
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put on hold as off-topic by Matthew Haugen♦ 22 hours ago

This question appears to be off-topic for this site. While what’s on- and off-topic is not always intuitive, you can learn more about it by reading the help center. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

“Questions seeking general brainstorming or review (“What do you think of this idea?”) are off-topic because questions here are expected to be relevant for a variety of people in the same situation. Reviewing an idea or product only helps one person at a specific time. Instead, try asking about a specific business approach and cite yours as an example.” – Matthew Haugen
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit your question.

Really you could build a greener air-conditioner if you only had the right tools? Do you know the laws of thermodynamics? Do you know what a Carnot cycle is? You really think inventions are limited by tools? Eisenstein discovered the theory of relativity with a pen and pencil. Franklin discovered electricity with a kite, sting and a key. I want the best on brightened focused on stuff to make my life better. And there are LOTS of tool makers out there today. If you know how to fix Linux then you should have no problem feeding you family. – Frisbee yesterday

Let’s say that this was my field and I came up with an idea I wanted to test. In addition to being an expert in my field I would have to learn about 3d modeling, circuit boards, programming, etc. or learn to get funding and hire people just to get a prototype to test my idea. If I can buy an arduino, use a vr-gloves designed to manipulate 3d objects, and code in a language that doesn’t require hours just to setup a dev enviro, I might be able to do it on my own. The stuff that makes your life better gets built faster and more bright people are able to participate because of better tools. – Luke Gedeon yesterday

As for the kite and key or pencil and paper (I always assumed he used chalk but anyway), my point was that those days are fading, not that they never existed. Those were exciting times. And to some degree we can still do a lot of pure science with simple tools, but when it comes to applied sciences, things are getting downright complicated. And I do know how to fix linux, but it is going to take 10,000’s of hours to do it. How do I feed my family while building that? You said it was possible, please tell me how. That is what this question is all about. – Luke Gedeon yesterday

Oh, wow! I was totally not suggesting taxes. I was trying to say that I want business suggestions not government solutions. I will reword that. Yes, I am feeding my family quite well, but that is because I am building products not tools. I am surrounded by brilliant people whose products could turn out so much better if they had the tools that I could be building for them. Did you say raising capital for a better open-source OS, and a better programming language and IDE is simple? Please teach me how to do this. – Luke Gedeon yesterday

I think this feels more like a discussion question than something objective. With more details of a specific situation, it would be easier to give a good answer. There’s an interesting basis of a question here, but it’s currently too abstract to be a good fit for our format. – Matthew Haugen♦ 22 hours ago

The fact of the matter is, there are people that spend all their time improving tools. Even outside of all the hours put into open source projects, think of for-profit tools like Visual Studio. Microsoft spends tons of money improving that. Additionally, there are lots of programs out there for non-technical people to gain domain knowledge. So what makes those not fulfill your target here? – Matthew Haugen♦ 22 hours ago

I am going to split this up into a few concrete questions. I have several things I want to build that I don’t think fit with traditional funding or even crowd sourcing. I thought I might be able to solve them all with one general question, which in retrospect is silly since I get more points asking separate questions 🙂 One last question for @MatthewHaugen or other experienced user, should I remove this question or leave it as a monument to my stupidity? – Luke Gedeon 9 hours ago

@LukeGedeon This question isn’t stupid. There are lots of good questions out there that are just too broad or abstract for the Stack Exchange model–that doesn’t make them bad questions. Aside from that, though, because this is closed and it doesn’t sound like you want to edit it (the right call if you’ll be asking them separately), you’re free to delete it, or the system will automatically delete it in some amount of time. Assuming you don’t expect this iteration to go anywhere (through edits or whatnot), I’d probably just go ahead and delete it to get the rep. But it’s totally your choice. – Matthew Haugen♦ 6 hours ago
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