Shane Snow begins his inspiring talk on smartcuts with a story. Imagine you are driving a car in a remote part of the woods and there are three people you could pick up, but you just have one seat left: your friend who has once saved your life, an old lady with a cane or the man or woman of your dreams. Who do you pick up?
Shane gives a smart answer: You pick up the old woman, give your friend the key and wait for the bus with your love interest. So the best solution is sometimes not found thinking straight forward but laterally. Shane has looked at the most successful tech companies and leaders trying to figure out how they work. He discovered a pattern in the fastest growing and youngest ones: They change the rules and play the game differently. Shane calls this smartcuts.
To illustrate this kind of lateral thinking, he explains the game bigger and better. People have gained a television or a used car by swapping a toothpick. You start with a small thing like a toothpick, and swap it into something that is a litte bit better or bigger going from house to house. If you continue, you will end up with a pretty good deal that wouldn't have been possible without the little middle and side steps.
People often tell you to keep your head down, work hard and slowly you will climb the ladder. The average journey to become a fortune 500 CEO takes 30 years on average. The youngest one, Marissa Mayer, took a different path.
Making smartcuts doesn't mean you are cheating. You just find your own individual path instead of following common advice – to beat the average.