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The Filament Blog


We all suffer from a profound case of “Idea Surplus Disorder” at Filament — and we think that’s a good thing. Here are some of those ideas we’d like to share with you.



Filamental Links 5

It is time for another dose of Filamental Links: the cool, creative things we found on the Internet last month.

When thinking about the future, we should think exponentially:

"It’s clear that our brains tend to anticipate the future linearly instead of exponentially, and now we also know that the law of accelerating returns will bring more powerful technologies sooner than we imagine."

Credit: Alison Berman

And while we may be ready for the future, the rest of society may not be:

the true challenge with advancing technologies isn’t the threats they impose, but more that society is sluggish at absorbing and making use of the technology at its current pace. Says Singularity University's Salim Ismail:

"In the 1500s, we had the Gutenberg moment when the printing press changed everything,” he said. “We have about 30 of those happening at the same time, whether its autonomous cars or drones or neurosciences or whatever."

Want to brainstorm better, build your process to generate questions instead of answers:

In terms of similarities, both brainstorming and question-storming start with quantity—the objective is to generate lots of questions or ideas on a subject, initially withholding judgment. Then, in both cases, the goal is to converge around questions/ideas deemed most promising.

But there are big differences. When participants are generating questions, they tend to dig into a problem and challenge assumptions. For example, they may inquire about why the problem exists, why it’s even considered a problem (maybe it really isn’t one), whether there’s a bigger problem behind that problem, and so on. The process gives people permission to ask fundamental questions that often don’t get asked; not just "how can we do it better?" but also "why are we doing this in the first place?"

Is it too late to begin writing our Christmas list? If not, add a few of these Toys for Design Lovers to it.


I really like what our friend Johnnie Moore is doing with his Unhurried Conversations:

When things are unhurried, we don’t necessarily go slow, but we create enough space for connection to happen. So our aim with our series of unhurried conversations has been to do that. We’ve hosted a dozen or so in Cambridge, and a couple in London.

We invite up to 12 people via MeetUp. We don’t specify a topic, rather letting people talk about whatever they want. Apart from briefly describing our idea, we use one very simple device to support the conversation.

It’s a talking piece. We pick an object and whoever holds it gets to talk. And everyone else listens. Which means the speaker won’t get interrupted. (And I add that you can hold the object and not speak… you can hold silence until you’re ready to speak.)

Juan Enriquez nails it: 

“There is so much extraordinary opportunity if you’re curious.”

Mind Blowing:


Finally, after a weekend of grilling, these lessons from a BBQ pitmaster seemed a good way to close out this edition of Filamental Links.  Like great BBQ, amazing businesses need Consistency and Texture:

So what’s consistency in a business? Customers simply want to know someone is there, consistently caring for them.

How many businesses do you deal with that all feel the same? Similar website designs, stock photos of professional models, emails that sound like a group committee picked out the language. That feel of a business is its texture.

See you again soon!