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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 #50

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


Our three innovation-focused sessions in NYC for our friends at ILTA went so well, we’re doing them again in Toronto, Phoenix, and LA this fall. If you’d like to see some highlights of our time in NYC (or ask how we might do a similar set of workshops for you) check them out here.


If you’ve been to Filament, you know we’ve got lots of quotes hanging on our walls. The one that gets the most attention is this one from Sugarhill Gang. Follow the link to download a .pdf version if you’d like to print one for yourself.


Does "process” get in the way of innovation at your organization? This insight from Phil Adams (found in this cool strategy deck) seems to hit the nail on the head:

Process rigor works against you if you’re in pursuit of creative genius. It works when you’re trying to avoid disaster embarrassment.

In the Achievement Habit, Bernard Roth warns us against following someone else’s story with your own:

[A] most difficult thing when you are a listener is not to follow immediately with one of your own stories. It may not be as relevant to the topic as you think, in which case the person who told the original story will feel you did not really listen or get the point of her story. Alternatively, if your story is on point and a better story, it will seem that you are playing at one-upmanship. The other person’s story loses relevance, and she feels diminished—not supported—by your story.

Comedian Gary Gulman has been sharing a joke-writing tip each day since the beginning of the year. Some are pretty “inside baseball” and might be appreciated most by aspiring stand-ups, but every one is a gem. I’ve thought a lot about this one in the context of how and when we introduce new methodologies and exercises at Filament:

When you’re building an act or writing a new hour it helps to keep an inventory handy. I think separating into:

  1. Jokes that work

  2. Jokes that need work

  3. Jokes to try.

Refer often so you ruminate over the Ideas. Put most effort into 2

This is the coolest on-boarding welcome kit I’ve ever seen!

Want to unplug a bit more? Use this clever hack to “brick” your phone for a bit so you can focus on the things you need to do.

Paul Graham, after telling us to do the things we love, tells us why we shouldn’t chase prestige:

Prestige is just fossilized inspiration. If you do anything well enough, you'll make it prestigious. Plenty of things we now consider prestigious were anything but at first. Jazz comes to mind—though almost any established art form would do. So just do what you like, and let prestige take care of itself.

Prestige is especially dangerous to the ambitious. If you want to make ambitious people waste their time on errands, the way to do it is to bait the hook with prestige. That's the recipe for getting people to give talks, write forewords, serve on committees, be department heads, and so on. It might be a good rule simply to avoid any prestigious task. If it didn't suck, they wouldn't have had to make it prestigious.

Similarly, if you admire two kinds of work equally, but one is more prestigious, you should probably choose the other. Your opinions about what's admirable are always going to be slightly influenced by prestige, so if the two seem equal to you, you probably have more genuine admiration for the less prestigious one.

We need more rituals at work:

Rituals are about paying attention. They’re about stopping for a moment and noticing what you’re about to do, what you’ve just done, or both. They’re about making the most of a particular moment. And that’s something we could use a lot more of in the business world.

Imagine if we started each meeting with a recognition of the power of bringing a group of people together to collaborate and an intention to dedicate ourselves, without distraction, to achieving the goals of the meeting. Perhaps even an acknowledgement that each person’s views, goals, and priorities are important and need to be heard. 

Still looking for more to read? I found this article on how GM invented a new tailgate in complete secrecy really interesting.


“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”— C.S. Lewis

“If you argue for your limitations you get to keep them.” — Kelly Lee Phipps

"Everything from your past does not belong in your present." — Lolly Daskal

“I've been absolutely terrified every moment of my life - and I've never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do.” — Georgia O'Keeffe

“For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.” — Aristotle


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