Shane Snow – Smartcuts

Link: https://www.amazon.com/Smartcuts-Breakthrough-Power-Lateral-Thinking/dp/0062560751

My notes

The presidents, for the most part, go to high office by not playing the game everyone else plays. They acquire leadership experience in disparate fields, then use Frank Sinatra-type credibility to switch ladders to politics.

The master can help her protege skip several steps up the ladder. Sometimes this produces Aristotle. But sometimes it produces Icarus.

[a smartcut-savvy mentee] develops personal relationships with her mentor, asks their advice on other aspects of life, not just the formal challenge at hand. And she cares about her mentors’ lives too.

The Second City manages to accomplish three things to accelerate its performer’s growth. (1) it gives them rapid feedback, (2) it depersonalizes the feedback, and (3) it lowers the stakes and pressure so students take risks that force them to improve.

In an age of platforms, creative problem solving is more valuable than computational skill.

“Once you stop thinking you have to follow the path that’s laid out, you can really turn up the speed.” -DHH

“How much better is hard work when it’s amplified by a lever? Platforms teach us skills and allow us to focus on being great, rather than reinventing the wheels or repeating ourselves… You can build on top of a lot of things that exist in this world… and then on top of that… you build the art.” -DHH

“It’s not really about surfing and practicing, it’s just a matter of waiting for the right waves.” -Leila Hurst

“Intuition is the result of nonconscious pattern recognition.” [Erik] Dane tells [Shane Snow]. However, his research shows that while logging hours of practice helps us to see patterns subconsciously, we can often do just as well by deliberately looking for them.

First movers take on the burden of educating customers, setting up infrastructure, getting regulatory approvals, and making mistakes—getting feedback and adjusting.

Fast followers, on the other hand, benefit from free-rider effects. The pioneers clear the way in terms of market education and infrastructure and learn the hard lessions, so the next guys can steal what works, learn objectively from the first movers’s failures, and spend more effort elsewhere. The first wave clears the way for a more powerful ride.

Sonny actively experimented with trends when they were still early… sticking his toe in different waters until he recognized incoming waves.

“The number one problem with networking is people are out for themselves,” says Scott Gerber… Super connecting is about learning what people need, then talking about ‘how do we create something of value?’

Building relationships through giving is more work than begging for help, but it’s also much more powerful.

They don’t have to do something bigger or better to be happy. They just have to keep moving.

The secret to harnessing momentum is to build up potential energy, so that unexpected opportunities can be amplified… [Michelle] Phan’s tower was a backlog of quality content… Sal Khan published 1,000 math lessons online before being discovered by Bill Gates.

The key feature of disruptive innovation is cost savings (either time or money). Bu the key ingredient behind the scenes of every disruptive product is simplification.

Hackers strip the unnecessary from their lives. They zero in on what matters. Like great writers, innovators have the fortitude to cut the adverbs.

[Constraints] give us boundaries that direct our focus and allow us to be creative. This, coincidentally, is why tiny startup companies frequently come up with breakthrough ideas. They start with so few resources that they’re fourced t come up with simplifying solutions.

10x thinking is the art of the extremely big swing… instead of trying to get on base, it’s trying to hit the ball into the next town… Such a goal requires you to think radically different.

Incremental progress… depends on working harder. More resources, more effort. 10x progress is built on bravery and creativity instead. Working smarter… 10x goals force you to come up with smartcuts.

Not every big dream gains followers… You have to motivate them. You have to tell provocative stories.

Evolutionary thinking would suggest trying to coax more trust out of SpaceX rockets. Revolutionary 10x thinking might ask a more fundamental question such as “Why continue to make rockets that work only once?”

“Generally speaking, if you’re gonna make something ten percent better than the way things currently are, you better be great at sales and marketing, because you’re gonna have to talk people into changing their behavior for a very marginal increase in value. If on the other hand, you make something ten times better for a large number of people—you really produce huge amounts of new value—the money’s gonna come find you. Because it would be hard not to make money if you’re really adding that much value.” -Astro Teller

People are generally willing to support other people’s small dreams with kind words. But we’re willing to invest lives and money into huge dreams. The bigger the potential, the more people are willing to back it.