Episode 153 – With Shane Snow of Smartcuts

Episode 153


In Episode #153 Ari is joined by Shane Snow, author of Smartcuts, a book that highlights how hour-hackers and innovators (like Ari Meisel) help improve not only their lives but the lives of those around them. This is a seriously juicy interview and one no Less Doing fanatic will want to miss!

Special Announcements:

Less Doing Does Europe!

Watch Ari bring the lessons of Less Doing to some of Europe’s most famous cities including Barcelona, Munich, Amsterdam and Budapest for the 2015 European Growth Summit. Ari will be joined by fellow masters of entrepreneurship Steve Martin, Director of Influence at Work in the UK, and Verne Harnish, founder and CEO of Gazelles.

EO Vancouver

On June 18th, join Ari at the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel in b-e-a-utiful Vancouver, B.C. as he takes the microphone for EO Vancouver. Enjoy this unique opportunity to watch Ari candidly discuss life as an Author, Speaker, Teacher and – most importantly – Achievement Architect.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 16:14 – Introduction of Shane Snow, author of Smartcuts and co-founder of Contently
  • 16:33 – Shane shares the origins of Contently
    • 16:45 – There was/is a trend of journalistic talent being treated as a “variable cost” by employers
    • 17:04 – Increasing trend of non-traditional publishers
  • 18:32 – We’re talking about Soylent people!
    • 20:55 – Living on it is pretty miserable but it IS convenient
    • 21:53 – The best thing about Soylent?—it sparked a conversation about nutrition
  • 23:06 – Improper nutrition has emotional consequences
  • 23:57 – A lot of our social interactions and relationships are formed in or around food
  • 25:50 – There is a real benefit to doing certain things (like cleaning, cooking, etc) yourself from a social standpoint
  • 26:32 – Don’t be afraid to take a contrarian view
  • 27:11 – Too many of us think we’re “working hard” by doing tasks, jobs, etc. the way we were told to do them
  • 27:58 – Lateral Thinking—Approaching problem solving sideways—shift your perspective and look at the problem differently
    • 28:25 – Most people solve problems linearly—the algebra way
    • 29:45 – Those that have accomplished the greatest things in our society have applied their work in a “smarter” direction
    • 30:02 – Escape the room
    • 31:23 – Lateral thinking is a skill that can be learned
  • 32:40 – Why do immigrants start so many businesses? Why do multi-sex boardrooms outperform unisex ones?—They are immune to the norms of whatever they are getting into
  • 33:45 – Seeing more of the world is one of the most beneficial things you can do for yourself
  • 34:42 – Ask yourself “How would X look at this problem?” where “X” is someone extraordinarily different from yourself
  • 35:27 – More often than not, we are in our own way
  • 35:59 – When you become an “expert” you tend to obtain blinders
  • 38:45 – Having an agitator in your life is really beneficial
  • 39:00 – Experiencing the uncomfortable spurs the mind to think differently
  • 39:39 – Shane shares some of his favorite stories from Smartcuts
  • 41:19 – What makes for a good president or leader?—Adaptability
  • 43:34 – About half the stories Shane covered didn’t even make it to the book
  • 46:32 – List out all the assumptions inherent to a problem and create hypotheticals by crossing some of the assumptions out
  • 47:25 – What is would the expected way of doing “X” be and why are we doing it that way?
  • 48:42 – Great stories are a product of three things: reporting, writing and thinking—most people are pretty good at the first two but not the third and that’s the difference between OK content and amazing content
  • 49:10 – Shane’s Top 3 Tips to be More Effective
    • 49:30 – Question your assumptions
    • 49:43 – Look for patterns and think at the outset of a project before jumping in
    • 50:14 – Find mentors

7 Key Points:

  1. More often than not, people get in their own way on the road to success.
  2. Take a contrarian view to the norm and see where it takes you.
  3. When you’re stuck on a problem, be it psychological or physical, try and approach it using Lateral Thinking.
  4. “Oh no, that’s not how it’s done here” is the rallying-cry of poisonous cognitive entrenchment.
  5. Adaptability is indispensable.
  6. Don’t just jump into a task, hobby or job—think and ask questions first.
  7. Assumptions are only healthy in moderation.

Resources Mentioned:

  • Coconut Oil Toothpaste – Six reasons to use coconut oil as toothpaste
  • 1 Minute Google Forms – Article from MakeUseOf highlighting key areas where you can use Google Forms to improve your life
  • Get On Demand – Text-based errands, medical consultations, etc.
  • Get it Eazy – A text-based service to provide local on-demand services—a cross between Task Rabbit and Thumbtack
  • 15 Things to Remember for Crohns Disease – A LifeHacker article for those with loved ones suffering from Crohns
  • Get Drip – Next-level email marketing automation software
  • Crocosite – Full website services including hosting, backups, fixes, speedup, seo, design, security, mobile, analytics and more for $79/month
  • Indx – A iOS app that allows users to index various SMS based services
  • Bill Guard – An app designed to “gray charges” and make users more aware of their expenses

Reviews, Comments and Questions:

  • 02:29 – Review – From listener ScottyListener – “Ari is a Jedi-Master of productivity. This is such a valuable podcast that has improved so many different areas of my life…highly recommend it!”
  • 03:11 – Question – From listener Anonymous – “Hi Ari—I want to begin by saying I love the program and everything you and Felix are doing. Getting to the question…I was recently listening to another podcast, Jesse Meacham’s YNAB (which stands for ‘You Need A Budget’) and he had some interesting things to say about the risks of automation, particularly when it pertains to finance. The essence of the point is this: automation makes us less aware and therefore less responsible, especially when it comes to managing our own money. What are your thoughts on Mr. Meacham’s point? Is this baseless or is there some food for thought here? Thank you very much!
    • 03:53 – Answer from Ari


Check out this episode!