Friday, July 3, 2015

Smartcuts - book summary

Smartcuts by Shane Snow looks into lives of people who have achieved success by working smart instead of working just hard and tries to explain the techniques they have used in their life for reaching success faster. Here are smartcuts... 

  1. Skip the ladder. Parley what you have with something bigger and better. Jump the ladder to a different field example. Get small wins while switching ladders as it lowers the resistance to subsequent proposals.
  2. Train with the masters. Either directly or indirectly by watching their videos or reading their books. 
  3. Get rapid feedback - in a permissive environment - For e.g. a comedy club where participants get rapid feedback about what is working and what is not working will let them quickly improve their craft. Try to get quick feedback on whatever you're working on. 
  4. Use Platforms - use what you have now as a platform for something better. This can be also be seen in software engineering platform where all the low level details are abstracted and we can work on high level instead of bothering about the low level ones. 
  5. Superconnectors - use superconnectors to reach more people. JJ Abrams an american director used the help of superconnectors to reach the top, but even after he got success he worked together with other people to help them. 
  6. Ride A Wave - The best way to catch a wave is to be in the water when the wave comes. And the best way to  be in the water when the wave comes is to keep some time aside for swimming. For e.g Google has 20% time for their employees, so they can use that time to work on what is interesting to them. That way they were able to ride the wave of using ajax for  faster email client (GMail). 
  7. Momentum - Harness the momentum caused by superconnectors . When a superconnector mentions or gives you publicity you should be ready to use that momentum. For e.g if a youtube video goes viral, you should be able to build on that momentum. The book talks about an example where a hair stylist's video went viral and since she had a list of videos already created, people noticed them and she was able to get more subscribers. On the other hand a comedian's video also went viral but he didn't have anything else to show for more than couple of months and the momentum created by the superconnector was lost. the book also talks about how the Oreo cookie had prepared for SuperBowl ad and how the ad agency created momentum. 
  8. 10X thinking - We are not very motivated by low hanging fruit, but we are more motivated by impossible think 10x. How SpaceX motivated people to not give up after few failures and how it inspired people to reach the goal of better rocket. 
  9. Simplicity - Start from first principles. If people wanted to improve transportation they could have bred better horses instead of inventing automobiles.

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