Last month I finished reading Smartcuts by Shane Snow. This post isn’t review of the book; however, if I had to summarize my thoughts I recommend reading it. I don’t think there’s anything to add that hasn’t been said already, so instead the rest of the post is more like a a random collection of notes I gathered along the way.
- If there’s one criticism I have of the book it’s that some of the early chapters weren’t as straightforward as I thought they would, since it was unclear whether they were moving toward one conclusion or another. In Chapter 2: Training With Masters, the progression went from “mentors give you an advantage” to “mentoring doesn’t work” to “there should be an organic relationship between the mentor and the mentee” to “mentors can be non-living, like a book”. That doesn’t seem like a Smartcuts-way of communicating the idea.
- There’s one important lesson that can be taken away from Chapter 3: Rapid Feedback. Experts prefer negative feedback to positive, since it spurs the most improvement. On the other hand novices need positive feedback to encourage them to continue. I’m reflecting on the less senior developers I had on my team last year and I’m wondering if applying this idea would’ve made their experience better.
- In the same chapter, there is an anecdote of Shane Snow attending a show at Chicago’s Second City, a comedy school that trained many of the stars on Saturday Night Live. I thought one of the performances he described was one of Heather Anne Campbell, one of the hosts of the podcast How Did This Get Played, given her career as an improv artist. Turned out it wasn’t her, but it was worth asking her on my main account.
.@getplayedpod @heathercampbell This is a long, LONG shot, but did you by any chance perform at Second City circa 2009?— Dan Dela Rosa (@dandelarosa64) August 21, 2021
If so, congrats on appearing on the book Smartcuts!
If not, too bad, it’s part of my headcanon now. pic.twitter.com/Dw2tR1muKw
- Maybe Makr should’ve had a Startup Funeral.
- On second thought, if that happened I’d imagine Jason Gregory from the other Makr would show up and react like Light in this scene in Death Note (also, spoilers for Death Note):
- Did you know that DHH, the inventor of Ruby on Rails, is also a race car driver…
- …or that Skrillex started his career in a screamo band?
- I’m surprised Shane Snow didn’t receive flak for using the Cuban Revolution as one of this examples, given how anti-Communist sentiment is still alive in America even to this day.
- Or maybe he did and I wasn’t paying attention because the book came out seven years ago.
- I totally forgot there was a blackout that lasted half an hour during Super Bowl XLVII. That game was significant to me since it was won by one of the Steelers’ division rivals, so you’d think I would remember that detail.
- Right after I heard Wirecutter (then called TheWirecutter) mentioned on Daniel Miessler’s podcast I read the section on the same website in Chapter 8: Simplicity.
- I actually met two former employees of SpaceX while Makr operated out of a WeWork in Downtown Brooklyn. I wonder if they were part of the Falcon 1 or Falcon 9 launches.
- A key realization that’s hinted at in Chapter 9: 10x Thinking: it’s easier to create a high-growth startup than a small business. That’s because the more ambitious you are the higher your ceiling for success is. By contrast, when you’re limited to a smaller market the more your success is dependent on randomness. It’s something I’ll need to keep in mind while I’m working towards forming my own venture.