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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 #68


Welcome to another edition of the Monday Morning Meeting: your weekly collection of Filament news, tools you can use, and interesting ideas that will help you think differently about your week ahead.


We're working on a complete Meeting Toolkit and Meeting Design Offering (contact us if you’d like to improve your internal meetings) and have built a super-useful Meeting Preparation Worksheet (.pdf) you can use. We’re also creating a collection of meeting tips like this one:

Next time you're hosting a video conference call and waiting for everyone to dial in, share your screen and put up an icebreaker question (like this one) everyone can see. It helps new callers instantly jump into the conversation while you wait for everyone to arrive.


We all know there’s more than one way to innovate, but did you know there are 15?

Such a good idea from C. C. Chapman’s Amazing Things Will Happen:

Take out your notebook and write “Way to Go!” at the top of a new page. Under that, write down everything you’ve done in the past three weeks that made you feel good. Perhaps you got up early and hit the gym, successfully cooked a new recipe, or managed to push through a task that had been hanging over your head for too long. If it made you smile, write it down.

Here’s a great reminder about what CEOs should do:

The formula for the perfect CEO has been hiding in plain sight for the past 35 years, and it is this: “The job of an executive is to define and enforce culture and values for their whole organization, and to ratify good decisions”. That's it. Not to decide. Not to break ties. Not to set strategy. Not to be the expert on each and every topic. Just to sit in the room while the right people make good decisions. And, if they don't, send them back to try again.

Also, this bit on values is also worth a read:

By the way, useful organizational values come in the form of tradeoffs: giving up one nice thing in order to get some other nice thing. Wishy-washy values like "respect your co-workers" aren't really values, because nobody would ever pick a value like "don't respect your co-workers." Respecting your co-workers is just basic civility. By the time you have to write it down, you've already lost. Put it in your HR policy somewhere, not the top line. A real value is something like "tell the truth, even when it hurts." Or "deliver the software on schedule, even if there are bugs." In both cases, one can legitimately imagine valuing the opposite.

Innovation comes from perseverance (from Kevin Ashton’s How to Fly a Horse):

Creating is taking steps, not making leaps: find a problem, solve it, and repeat. Most steps wins. The best artists, scientists, engineers, inventors, entrepreneurs, and other creators are the ones who keep taking steps by finding new problems, new solutions, and then new problems again. The root of innovation is exactly the same as it was when our species was born: looking at something and thinking, “I can make this better.

I picked up my copy of The Art of the Idea again this week, and the random page I opened contained this gem:

It’s incorrect to think that bureaucracy only exists in the finance or procurement department. It’s at its thickest when any idea crosses any border. The moment a new thought leaves its home base, it’s viewed with suspicion. That suspicion takes the form of a filter, and that filter, if not carefully managed, turns into bureaucracy. The integrity of an idea can’t be honestly interrogated if it’s surrounded by resentment because it came from somewhere else.

Keri Smith’s How to Feel Miserable as an Artist captures sage advice of what NOT to do when you’re building something new, including:

5. Undervalue your expertise.

9. Do whatever the Client/Customer/Gallery Owner/Patron/Investor asks

10. Set unachievable/overwhelming goals. To be accomplished by tomorrow.

A bit NSFW, but this “meeting” candle smells like it could have been an email.

Speaking of smells, I was weirdly fascinated by the tips in this post about How to Smell:

Scent is so neglected in human experience. I think it’s largely because we walk on two legs, and use our hands to examine things. We just don’t spend much time down where the smells are. It makes me sad, because there’s a whole world of olfactory experience that’s never instantiated. If I ask someone about their day, people will tell me what they saw, and maybe what they heard, but almost nobody tells me what they smelled. And if someone does mention smell, it’s almost always because something smelled either disgusting or delicious. The world is so full of smells, of so many kinds, but hardly anybody notices. I’d like it if more people engaged with the world through scent.

Finally, here’s why we draw at Filament (from Jonathan Levi’s The Only Skill That Matters):

As Homo sapiens, we’re especially adapted to learning in ways that are vivid, visual, and experiential. Scientists refer to this as “the picture superiority effect.” And though many of you have been led to believe that you’re an “auditory” or “tactile” learner, the truth is, we are each naturally gifted at remembering pictures. What we’re not so naturally gifted at is learning from boring lectures or dense textbooks. Heck, we only invented writing systems some five thousand years ago, and the average person couldn’t read until a few hundred years ago. Evolution is an all-powerful mistress, but she’s not a fast-moving one.


“The best way to find out if you can trust someone is to trust them.” — Ernest Hemingway

“You can never change only one thing.” — unknown

If nobody learns from the past, then there’s no point in raking it up” — Billie Holiday

“The difference between successful and unsuccessful people is that successful ones know that the most unprofitable thing ever manufactured is an excuse.” — Jay Samit


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