Idea Surplus Disorder #16

In this edition: the Business Book Club kickoff, time billionaires, mediocrity, luck, fashion pricing, the three-day-office, Italian gas pumps, the best pens, simple news, and more.

Welcome to Idea Surplus Disorder.  I’m Matt Homann, the founder of Filament, and I’m glad you’re here!

In this edition:  the Business Book Club kickoff, time billionaires, mediocrity, luck, fashion pricing, the three-day-office, Italian gas pumps, the best pens, simple news, and more.


May is a busy month for Filament, and we've got great events nearly every week.  Here's what's on tap:

  • May 10 | Business Book Club:  Our unique business book club kicks off Wednesday (May 10th) with our book preview and an overview of how the club will work.  Our first book discussion is on June 14th.  RSVP here.
  • May 17 | Thinksgiving Kickoff:  If you're curious about participating in Thinksgiving this year as a business partner, nonprofit, or volunteer, check out this video and then join us for our kickoff party on May 17th from 4-6 pm.  RSVP here.
  • May 24 | N.S.F.W. (New Skills For Work):  On May 24th, we're tackling ways to think small, innovate faster, and bring experimentation into all parts of your organization.  RSVP here.

Ideas + Insights

We're all Time Billionaires. Are you spending your billions well?

A million seconds is 11 days. A billion seconds is slightly over 31 years...I feel like in our culture, we’re so obsessed, as a culture, with money. And we deify dollar billionaires in a way...And I was thinking of time billionaires that when I see, sometimes, 20-year-olds—the thought I had was they probably have two billion seconds left. But they aren’t relating to themselves as time billionaires.

Speaking of time and mortality, I re-read parts of Todd Henry's Die Empty over the weekend, and this passage jumped out at me:

Mediocrity doesn’t always mean underperforming—it’s a sliding scale and a state of mind. It means settling in and succumbing to stasis. Mediocrity comes from the Latin words medius, meaning middle, and ocris, meaning rugged mountain. Literally translated, it means to settle halfway to the summit of a difficult mountain.

The luckier you are, the nicer you should be:  

Maybe the broadest way to protect yourself is the simple rule that the luckier you are, the nicer you should be ....  That’s probably the best – or only – way to guard against entitlement, which is the main thing that blindsides you when luck turns the other way.  It’s like an automatic stabilizer that keeps you in check and keeps your social circles solid – both of which probably lead to sustainable, durable, non-lucky success over time.

Why can't life be simpler?

The truth is this: A simple life is about finding the things that are important to you and then creating the simplest pathway to have them in your life.  That’s it.
There are no rules about the number of items you are allowed to own, what you’re allowed to do, where you’re allowed to go, how much you can spend, how much you can earn, what sort of car you should drive, where you should live or anything about what you need. There’s also no label that comes with having a simple life either, so you don’t have to pigeonhole yourself in any way.

Advice for procrastinators who might be dreading doing something:  Just go "into the shed"

The advice here is: go into the shed. Don't do anything yet, just look around. Observe and take stock. Make the space your own. And […] the first solutions will present themselves. A number of items will change hands and be donated to others. Other things will wait until that Saturday afternoon when you say to yourself, 'And now it's time to clean out the shed.' You don't dread it any more, but are actually looking forward to it.

According to Accenture, AI large language models (like ChatGPT) could impact up to 40% of all working hours, given that language tasks consume around 62% of employees' time.  So what should organizations do?

[C]ompanies need to break down existing roles into "underlying bundles of tasks" in order to understand where AI has a chance to save time and improve the way we work.  
Once this has been established, organizations can upskill employees so that they are ready to take on new positions involving the use of AI. "There will also be entirely new roles to recruit, including linguistics experts, AI quality controllers, AI editors, and prompt engineers," Accenture says.

I love this pricing model from the fashion brand Telfar:

Telfar will allow customers to choose the prices.  The collection drops at the wholesale price (more than 50% off).  The price goes up every second — until it reaches full price. Whatever price it sells out at — basically becomes the price forever. You Decide The Price: the more you want it — the lower the price.

How might companies adapt their buildings if the Three-Day-Work-In-The-Office-Week becomes the new normal?

Fun Finds

Big list of tools to grow your blog or newsletter.

My wife and I are heading to Italy in a few weeks, and we'll definitely take this tip from the fabulous Recommendo newsletter:

I used ChatGPT to create a daily itinerary for a family trip to Tokyo and it was a success. First, I asked it to give me a list of 10 interesting places and neighborhoods less than 90 minutes by Tokyo. Then I asked it to give me the top ten things to do at each place. I fined tuned the lists by asking ChatGPT to include the best shopping streets in each areas. The lists it generated, which include dining suggestions. I’m going to do this for every trip I take.

NewsMinimalist uses AI to read thousands of news articles and present the most significant ones in a streamlined interface.

The 42 Best Pens in 2023.

Vintage Italian gas pumps.

Virtual tours of every Star Trek Enterprise bridge.

Words of Wisdom

“Your goal in life is to be able to say on the day before you die that you have fully become yourself.” — Kevin Kelly
"I used to say that a good writer throws out the stuff that everybody else keeps.  But an even better test occurs to me:  perhaps a good writer keeps the stuff everybody else throws out." – David Mamet
"There is a reason they call leadership a “role” - you have to step into it and play the part even on days when you don’t feel your best or your world is not at 100%." – Julie Gurner
“Someone has a great fire in his soul… and passers-by see nothing but a little smoke at the top of the chimney.” – Van Gogh
"We learn nothing by being right." – Elizabeth Bibesco
"Don't aim for success.  Aim for joy. – Lucy Gannon
"We are not given a short life but we make it short, and we are not ill-supplied but wasteful of it." – Seneca
"Know how to leave things alone, for if knowing how to refuse is one of life's great lessons, an even greater one is knowing how to say no to yourself, to important people, and in business. There are non-essential activities, moths of precious time, and it's worse to take an interest in irrelevant things than to do nothing at all." – Baltasar Gracian
"If you want to see what a society really believes in, look at what the biggest buildings on the horizon are dedicated to." – Joseph Campbell

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