Short Cut vs Long Cut: To Hack or Not to Hack is the Question


2005 the word ‘lifehack’ was deemed the second most useful word of the year right behind ‘podcast’. In 2011, ‘lifehack’ started to be added to dictionaries. (Source: wikipedia)

After starting in the technology industry, person after person started looking for ways to speed up the process of productivity and efficiency in all walks of life typically called ‘lifehacking’.

Today, the ‘lifehacking’ continues. I have heard in interviews people ask one of the masters of ‘lifehacking’ Tim Ferriss (author of the 4 hour work week) if he can hack ‘raising children’.

Yes, hacking as a ‘shortcut’ can be very useful. However, not hacking a process can also be very useful. Remember ‘hacking’ is originally a term used to describe cutting something roughly so the result of lifehacking may not be a smooth result. Would you like to be on the receiving end of a relationship or business technique that involved ‘hacking’? Maybe, maybe not.

In life and in business, I lean more towards ‘the long cut’ as phrased by Seth Godin rather than ‘the shortcut’. I am in businesses and relationships long term. The continual nourishing of a romantic relationship cannot be ‘hacked’ or shortened unless you want the relationship to be shortened. Yes, you can ‘hack’ flower delivery by hiring someone to do it for you but it is so much more impressive to give flowers directly to someone you love.

In non-romantic friendships, we all know the best relationships are long term and we don’t look for a short cut to spend less time with a great friend.

In business today people want a short cut to business success ‘make the sale quicker’, ‘get rich quicker’, ‘thousands of followers on social media’ by hacking the system. However, the ‘long cut’ is to build the relationship with the one client and step by step all clients so that in the long run in fact you end up with an accidental ‘hack’ or short cut because the clients you are committed to will refer you to more clients without you having to find a way to ‘hack’ marketing to get quicker results.

Agree, disagree as you wish. I am going for the long cut!