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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.



Monday Morning Meeting #23

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Now that you're back from a long holiday weekend, we thought we'd share a few things we found while you were braving the malls on Black Friday. We hope you enjoy what we picked out!

I've been reading Kevin Kelly's The Inevitable and found his Seven Stages of Robot Replacement rings true for so many jobs.  Here's how he describes it:

In the coming years, our relationships with robots (AI) will become ever more complex. But already a recurring pattern is emerging. No matter what your current job or your salary, you will progress through a predictable cycle of denial again and again:

  1. A robot/computer cannot possibly do the tasks I do.
  2. [Later.] OK, it can do a lot of those tasks, but it can't do everything I do.
  3. [Later.]  OK, it can do everything I do, except it needs me when it breaks down, which is often.
  4. [Later.]  OK, it operates flawlessly on routine stuff, but I need to train it for new tasks.
  5. [Later.] OK, OK, it can have my old boring job, because it's obvious that was not a job that humans were meant to do.
  6. [Later.] Wow, now that robots are doing my old job, my new job is much more interesting and pays more!
  7. [Later.] I am so glad a robot/computer cannot possibly do what I do now
  8. [Repeat.]

Wish you had a few more things to talk about at the Thanksgiving table beside the weather.  Bookmark these 100 Questions from Alexandra Franzen for your next family get-together.

Austin Kleon shares some meditations on silence. My favorite:

Bill Callahan: “When you’re starting a song the only thing you have is silence and silence is pretty damn sweet. Once you start making some sound, it better be good because you’re ruining the silence that makes you feel good and relaxed. I feel like you can only make a sound if it’s better than silence… [I’m] very conscious of the power of nothing, the power of nothing being there. You’ll notice it’s still about the best thing anyone playing with me on a record can do is just stop playing. Because you got this instrument in your hand and it’s really fun to make the noise with it, but it means so much more when you’re not playing it.”

How cool is this?  Your Camera Roll in a Monthly Magazine

Not that our team needs this at Filament, but What to Do If Your Boss Gets Distracted by Every New Thing has some good tips like this one:

Start all meetings with an anchoring statement that sets context. It can be as simple as, “Today we’re going to cover the Blue, Green, and Red initiatives. Any great ideas we have for anything else will be recorded and taken up in the appropriate staff/strategy/development meetings.” Make sure at least one attendee is responsible for recording, and at least one will be vigilant for digressions.

Another book I'm reading is a fantastic (and short) book for theater directors called (appropriately) Notes on Directing:  130 Lessons in Leadership from the Director's Chair by Frank Hauser and Russell Reich. The authors' description of director's role that is the best summary of facilitation I've ever read:

You are the obstetrician. You are not the parent of this child we call the play. You are present at its birth for clinical reasons, like a doctor or a midwife. Your job most of the time is simply to do no harm. When something does go wrong, however, your awareness that something is awry -- and your clinical intervention to correct it -- can determine whether the child will thrive or suffer, live or die.

Finally, this is a powerful read for men and women: What Do We Do With the Art of Monstrous Men

See you next week!