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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 #45

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Welcome to Filament’s Monday Morning Meeting: a mix of innovation news, the tools we use, and the interesting ideas to help you think differently about your week ahead.


Check out these great whiteboard sketches from Todd that pay tribute to a certain HBO series that returned last night. Apparently, meetings are pretty bad in Westeros, too!

Last week, we began mapping our customer journey at Filament as we prepare to roll out a few more changes. Here’s our first draft. If you see anything you’d improve, let us know!


In Utopia is Creepy, Nicholas Carr writes about why “connecting” with people online isn’t really connecting at all: “Being online means being alone, and being in an online community means being alone together.”

I found a few words in this list of 30 Words You’re Probably Using Wrong that I’ve misused for years. I’ll be you might find one or two as well.

Is your brain getting enough idle time? If you’ve got a thorny problem to solve, here’s why you probably need more.

When your brain is bombarded with novel stimuli or information, she says, it can struggle to generate purposefulness and meaning. Mental idle time, meanwhile, seems to facilitate creativity and problem-solving. “Our research has found that mind-wandering may foster a particular kind of productivity,” says Jonathan Schooler, a professor of psychological and brain sciences at the University of California, Santa Barbara who has studied mind-wandering extensively. He says overcoming impasses — including what he calls “a-ha!” moments — often happen when people’s minds are free to roam.

Speaking of idle time, this is your brain off Facebook:

So what happens if you actually do quit? Expect the consequences to be fairly immediate: More in-person time with friends and family. Less political knowledge, but also less partisan fever. A small bump in one’s daily moods and life satisfaction. And, for the average Facebook user, an extra hour a day of downtime.

Want to uncover some hidden biases on your team? This is a great exercise that can lead to profound insights: Draw Yourself a Leader:

[T]he process of drawing a leader allows you to tap into what you really think of leadership. Your assumptions may be obvious to you, or they may reveal cognitive biases of which you are unaware — another plus.

[M}ost people who were asked to draw an effective leader drew a male. Even women drew men. The implications are significant if not surprising: “Getting noticed as a leader in the workplace is more difficult for women than for men,” the article noted. This doesn’t end with gender. In the images, white was the predominant skin color.

Another reason to avoid “one size fits all” advice: making jokes in presentations (and at work) can help men, but might hurt women.

We find that when men add humor to a business presentation, observers view them as having higher levels of status (that is, respect or prestige) within the organization, and give them higher performance ratings and leadership capability assessments compared to when they do not include humor. However, when women add the same humor to the same presentation, people view them as having lower levels of status, rate their performance as lower, and consider them less capable as leaders.

How to market yourself without marketing yourself.

Finally, check out this incredible Rube Goldberg Machine built using kitchen utensils (and food).


“A prudent question is one-half of wisdom.” — Sir Francis Bacon

“The power to question is the basis of all human progress.” — Indira Gandhi

“When I am working on a problem, I never think about beauty but when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.” — Buckminster Fuller.

“Make an enemy of certainty and befriend doubt. When you can change your mind, you can change anything.” — Kevin Ashton