In “Smartcuts,” Shane Snow explores how some individuals and organizations accomplish remarkable feats in remarkably short periods of time. He demonstrates how we can all use these “smartcuts” to challenge convention and accelerate our own success by telling stories of innovators who worked differently and offering practical advice for the rest of us.
The book applies entrepreneurial and technological concepts to success and shows how we can emulate these smartcuts to surpass our competitors, grow our businesses, and solve societal issues more quickly than we may have thought possible.
If you’re still unsure about whether or not to read the book, this summary will provide you with all the information you need to make a decision. So let’s dive in!
Lesson 1: Top-notch mentors with years of experience can provide valuable guidance and feedback.
Are you ready to learn the secret to success? It’s simple, really. All you need is a mentor or coach who can guide you to greatness. Don’t believe me? Just look at all the famous athletes out there. Not a single one of them made it to the top without the help of a coach.
According to studies, startups that are mentored are more likely to succeed and receive more funding. So, if you’re looking to start your own business, find yourself a mentor! And it’s not just in business where mentoring is essential. Take Jimmy Fallon, for example. He may be the host of The Tonight Show now, but he was initially rejected on Saturday Night Live. It was talent manager Randi Siegel who never stopped believing in him and helped him rise to fame.
But what makes a great mentor-mentee relationship? It’s all about mutual respect and trust. Research has shown that informal mentoring is more beneficial than formal mentoring when it comes to compensation, promotion, and feelings of competence and empowerment. Personal relationships are more effective in helping mentees overcome obstacles, as emotionally committed mentors are better able to guide them along their journey.
Sometimes, the best mentorship can come from unexpected sources. When a group of London heart surgeons were struggling with making the handover between OR and station staff go smoothly, they turned to an unlikely source for help – the Ferrari F1 pit crew.
Thanks to the long-standing collaboration between the two teams, the surgeons felt comfortable making this unusual request. The pit crew, with their exceptional expertise in managing track changes during a race, provided valuable advice that helped decrease medical errors by 66%. It was a win-win situation, as Ferrari became the “official sponsor of the hospital.”
Lesson 2: Don’t let setbacks or criticism gnaw at your self-esteem, but use them to grow your business.
Success is not always guaranteed, but we can still learn from our failures. Mistakes, although often uncomfortable, can be invaluable opportunities to grow and develop. However, not all feedback is created equal. In fact, research by Avraham Kluger and Angelo DeNisi found that person-specific comments like “Throw harder!” or “Bend your knees!” can actually decrease an athlete’s performance and lower their self-esteem.
Despite what some may believe, constructive criticism is actually the most valuable form of feedback. While positive comments may feel good in the moment, they rarely provide specific areas for improvement. Negative feedback, on the other hand, can be incredibly productive, as long as the recipient doesn’t take it personally. This is why critical comments are often so highly valued by professionals.
Interestingly, the ability to learn from criticism actually increases with the amount of criticism received. For example, students at Second City improv school in Chicago are taught to view criticism as constructive feedback that can help them grow and develop their skills. By reprogramming their brains to view criticism as a positive thing, these students are able to take feedback less personally and use it to improve their performances.
It’s important to note that receiving criticism in a non-threatening environment is key to this process. When students feel safe and supported, they are more likely to view criticism as an opportunity to learn and grow, rather than as a personal attack. This, in turn, can boost their self-confidence and help them become even more receptive to feedback in the future.
Lesson 3: Utilize existing platforms that are already suited for your industry.
If you want to achieve your goals quickly, it’s important to leverage the resources and platforms that already exist. After all, why reinvent the wheel when you can build on something that’s already been created? This is the concept behind smartcuts.
However, it’s important to remember that even with smartcuts, you will still need the help of others. Building off the work of others is an essential part of the process. By identifying the different channels available to you in your profession, you can find the resources, tools, methods, and attitudes that will help you achieve your goals.
One of the best ways to leverage existing resources is to start with an existing platform. This will save you time and effort and allow you to focus on applying your knowledge to master your craft. For example, computers are the result of decades of research by the world’s leading experts. Every time you use a computer, you benefit from someone else’s work. Make the most of the modern tools at your disposal.
Sometimes it makes sense to modify existing frameworks to meet your specific needs. Take the Finnish government’s redesign of its public school system in the 1990s as an example. By raising teacher salaries and focusing on building lasting mentoring relationships with specific children based on their areas of interest, the Finnish school system went from underperforming to one of the best in the world. Today, the majority of Finnish students graduate from high school or higher, and 82% of them continue their education.
By using existing resources, you can also learn where they fail and improve upon them. This can save you a lot of unnecessary work and allow you to achieve your goals more efficiently.
Lesson 4: Be knowledgeable in your field and be willing to change if necessary.
In every field, there are norms and conventions that you must master if you want to make it to the top. It’s like learning the rules of the game so you can play it better than anyone else. But don’t stop there – keep an eye on any changes that may occur in your industry. The only way to do this is to study your field thoroughly and understand its inner workings. If you can spot new opportunities early on, you’ll be ahead of the game.
Now, imagine yourself as a surfer catching a huge wave. The trick is to ride the crest of a prosperous new trend and achieve a quick rise. It’s not easy, but it’s possible. Just look at Sonny Moore, who was still a teenager when he capitalized on the rise of social media and the “screamo” music craze of the early 2000s. Moore and his band FFTL became an overnight sensation.
But Moore didn’t stop there. He foresaw the rise of electronic dance music (EDM) and eventually rose to fame as the world-renowned producer Skrillex. So, if you want to break new ground like Moore, give yourself plenty of time to experiment. It’s essential to understand the properties of waves so you can recognize them and ride them successfully.
Now, let’s switch gears and talk about Gmail. As recently as 2012, Google’s Gmail became the most used email service in the world. How did Google manage to achieve this level of success? By giving its employees 20% of their time to work on “pet projects” like Gmail. This innovative approach allowed Google to be ahead of the curve and provide an improved email service that consumers were looking for.
Lesson 5: You can increase awareness of your product or service by using Superconnectors.
Do you have a product or service that’s excellent, but no one knows about it? Don’t fret. Superconnectors are the answer! Superconnectors can be influential people or social media platforms that help spread the word about your business in lightning speed.
To build a strong connection with others, find out what they care about the most. Offering what others want will increase the success of your networking efforts. A mutually beneficial partnership is the goal.
If you want to save money on marketing, you can make something that people want to talk about. Aaron Patzer partnered with Mint Software, Inc. to offer a website that helps people organize their personal accounts. Initially, Patzer wrote posts for a blog about personal finance, offering advice on saving and living frugally. Once he had a following, he began communicating with it through social bookmarking sites like reddit or Digg. When customers shared blog posts they found helpful or fascinating on the Mint website, the company was able to gain and retain a loyal readership.
Authenticity is key. If you’re authentic, others will share your message. Credibility is the cornerstone of sharing.
Take Che Guevara’s Radio Rebel, for instance. During the Cuban Revolution, the program didn’t win over many people at first. However, as the revolutionaries educated and trained the population, it eventually won people’s support. When they listened to the program, they were both informed and educated about the revolution, which strengthened their sense of agency.
Remember, it doesn’t matter what form your message takes. Those who find it relevant, genuine, and helpful are likely to share it with others. So, make sure your message resonates with your audience.
SmartCuts Book Review
SmartCuts by Shane Snow is a refreshing take on the concept of lateral thinking, exploring how people and companies achieve remarkable feats in surprisingly short amounts of time. Snow’s approach is to advocate for using ‘smartcuts’ – shortcuts that are ethical and sustainable. By breaking the usual rules and conventions and using lateral thinking, it is possible to achieve great things quickly and efficiently.
The book tells the stories of overnight successes, from startups that quickly reached billion-dollar turnovers to people such as YouTube tycoon Michelle Phan and Jimmy Fallon, who quickly rose up through the showbiz ranks to host the Tonight Show. Snow argues that all of these people were behaving like computer hackers, using lateral thinking to reach their targets.
One of the book’s strengths is Snow’s emphasis on the importance of simplicity and small wins. By focusing relentlessly on a tiny number of things and setting numerous small, attainable goals, success can be achieved. The importance of good quality feedback and mentoring is also stressed, and Snow provides interesting examples of how this has been done successfully in the past.
Although some of the ideas in the book may seem clichéd, such as the focus on ’10 x thinking’, overall, SmartCuts is an inspiring and thought-provoking read. The book tells interesting stories about all kinds of things, from the Cuban revolution to SpaceX and Skrillex, and is sure to leave readers with new ideas and ways of thinking about problem-solving.
Award-winning entrepreneur and journalist Shane Snow has helped expose gun traffickers and gender discrimination. He has also eaten only ice cream for weeks in the name of science and has been captured and escorted by armed guards as he explored and photographed abandoned buildings and tunnels around the world.
Snow currently serves as a board member of The Hatch Institute, a nonprofit for investigative journalism. He also serves as Founder at Large at Contently, a company that works with Fortune 500 brands and has helped over 100,000 freelance journalists, artists, and photographers put food on the table.
Buy The Book: SmartCuts
If you want to buy the book SmartCuts, you can get it from the following links: