We’re all looking for shortcuts – ways to reach our destination at lower cost (time or money) and allow us to do more.
But how can we tell whether the shortcut is a ladder (a new way and better way to get our job done) or a hack – a shortcut that saves you time now but that you (or others) pay more for later?
Here are four questions to ask about shortcuts, courtesy of Seth Godin:
1. Is it repeatable? Non-repeatable shortcuts are interesting, but you can’t build a life or a future around them.
2. Is it non-harmful? What are the downstream effects of this shortcut? … I want to know that it’s not going to hurt me or hurt the people I care about it… or break our culture.
3. Is it additive? If I get to do it again, does it better over time?
4. Can it survive the crowd? Does it have to be a secret?
The internet offers all of these short-term hacks, all these things that might make you feel like you’re winning in the short run, but often they don’t hold up to the light of day, they hurt you or other people, you can only do them once, and they’re not aligned with where you’re going and how you’re going to get there…
The long short-cuts are the best possible short-cuts.Seth Godin – Akimbo – Sauce and Godiva