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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 #31

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Good morning!  Here's what we've saved to share with you this Monday.

We've built a new version of our Operating System, and here it is!  This quarter, we're launching several new "inventions" of ours.

Here's something I've been thinking about for a while, when you live your entire life online, are you able to change your mind?  Ding Dong, the Feed is Dead  

It’s hard to believe there was a time, in those early, heady days of social media, that I wanted more of it. New services would pop up on what seemed like a weekly basis and I — the young naif — would sign up for every one of them. Each social service represented some part of my identity — my music tastes, coffee shop check-ins, and Twitter ruminations.

I even welcomed the arrival of Friendfeed: a meta-service that collected all my blog posts, tweets, status updates from multiple platforms into one feed. Anything I’d ever said or shared about myself online was there, an ongoing archive of my self collected in real-time. It was a neat little summation of who I was.

But that isn’t what’s happened. As social media became entrenched as part of mainstream life, they also became subject to the downsides of any normal thing: too much noise, too much exposure, and increased risks of abuse or harassment. Having our histories be public just made it worse. Old opinions or bad tweets that hadn’t aged well were ripe to be taken out of context, and trolls with malicious intent have often done just that, weaponizing people’s own history against them. The further back one’s online life stretches, the greater the risk.

See also: What happened to blogs? and Ten Reasons for Deleting your Social Media Accounts Right Now.

Here are four questions you should stop asking in one-on-one meetings (with a few alternatives, instead). One that isn't just asked in one-on-one meetings, but that could disappear from surveys as well is:

#4: “How can we improve?” This is the vaguest of questions. The problem with vague questions is they invite vague answers. You prompt the person to offer broad suppositions and knee-jerk assumptions, instead of exact details and practical examples. Ask an employee “How can we improve?” and they think, “Hmm, from a business development perspective? Marketing perspective? Leadership perspective? Where to even begin?” Now, some employees you work with will be able to craft a distinct, rich answer from this question. But it’s infrequent. And it’s probable they spent a good chunk of time thinking about the answer ahead of time. For most employees who you ask this question to without any warning, you’ll receive a variant of “I think things are pretty good right now” about 90% of the time.

What should you ask instead? Focus your efforts on asking specific questions, instead of defaulting to general ones. For instance: “What do you think is the most overlooked area of the business?” or “Where do you think we’re behind in, that other companies are excelling at?” Notice how specific each of these questions are. The more specific the question, the more effective they are.

I loved this cartoon from Tom Fishburne.


I've had this book sitting around on the corner of my desk for quite some time before finally cracking it open and it is fantastic!  If you're someone who tells stories for a living (hint, that means all of us) read it!

Here are some great ways to stay inspired and come up with new ideas. A key takeaway:  the moment you wait "until later" to capture an idea, it will probably be gone by the time you planned to remember it.

I don’t know how many times I’ve thought of something and decided to wait to capture it, only to find the idea has completely slipped my mind. We like to think, “There’s no possible way I’ll forget this,” but humans are actually pretty terrible at remembering things. Jot it down, or even write it on your hand if you have to. Just make sure to physically capture the idea the moment it strikes. (Exception: don’t pull your phone out and interrupt a conversation with a friend.)

And lastly, because you know you were curious: The Best Mario Kart Character According to Science.

See you next week!