Idea Surplus Disorder #8

In this edition: Filament's Grand Opening, miracle monkeys, pirates vs. farmers, deathbed regrets, obsolete sounds, typewriter simulations, 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: Filament's Grand Opening, strategic practices, writing tips, miracle monkeys, pirates vs. farmers, deathbed regrets, obsolete sounds, typewriter simulations, and more.

Filament's Grand Opening

We're finally cutting the ribbon next week on our new space in St. Louis.  If you're able, join us on March 21st for a day of celebration, innovation, creativity, and connection.  

Here's the agenda and where you can RSVP.  There's programming all day, but you're welcome to drop in whenever you can.

Ideas + Insights

When you're mired in day-to-day tactics, it's worth reminding yourself what it means to truly strategic by asking yourself (or your organization) this question:

Beyond conducting everyday business, do I have a regular practice that helps me improve my capacity to be strategic?

I'm a big fan of futurist Kevin Kelly.  In this interview, he shares some of the writing lessons he's learned the hard way:

Most articles and stories are improved significantly if you delete the first page of the manuscript draft. Immediately start with the action.
To write about something hard to explain, write a detailed letter to a friend about why it is so hard to explain, and then remove the initial “Dear Friend” part and you’ll have a great first draft.

... and this insight about invention and innovation:

[M]ost inventions and innovations are co-invented multiple times, simultaneously and independently. That is, more than one person will honestly invent the next new thing about the same time... Simultaneous independent invention is the norm, true for minor as well as major leaps like calculus, steam engines and the transistor.

Speaking of innovation, Nassim Nicholas Taleb cautions us against betting on a second miracle:

“If one puts an infinite number of monkeys in front of (strongly built) typewriters, and lets them clap away, there is a certainty that one of them will come out with an exact version of the 'Iliad'. Upon examination, this may be less interesting a concept than it appears at first: Such probability is ridiculously low. But let us carry the reasoning one step beyond. Now that we have found that hero among monkeys, would any reader invest his life's savings on a bet that the monkey would write the 'Odyssey' next?”

Adam Grant thinks it is finally time to retire Myers-Briggs (a.k.a. the "MBTI") once and for all.

Build your deathbed regrets list now:

The Deathbed Regret List is the most efficient and illuminating process I've discovered for defining and clarifying the core values with which we should live our lives. It forces you to begin with the end in mind.  The exercise has three key steps:
1. List Your Regrets: Make a list of your most likely deathbed regrets. What are the things you know you'd regret on your deathbed? This is deeply personal—don't write down what you think you should say, write down what you will actually regret. This is an exercise for you, not for anyone else.
2. Establish Your Values: Formulate a set of 3-5 core personal values that are highlighted by your regret list. What are the common themes of the regrets you listed? These common themes are likely to shine a light on the things you value most deeply in life.
3. Determine Your Actions: For each core personal value, determine the actions you can take today to behave in line with that value (and avoid the eventual regrets). Are you currently acting in line with these values, or in a manner inconsistent with these values? Be honest. If you continue on your current path, will you have these regrets? If so, what changes need to be made to avoid them? How can you redesign your life to avoid these regrets?

You are not a parrot, and a chatbot is not a human.

[H]umans discovered metalworking, and that was amazing. Then hundreds of years passed. Then humans worked out how to harness steam power,” Manning said. We’re in a similar moment with language. LLMs are sufficiently revolutionary to alter our understanding of language itself. “To me,” he said, “this isn’t a very formal argument. This just sort of manifests; it just hits you.”

How to use AI to improve your public speaking.

Dave Hickey divides the world into two types of people:  Pirates and Farmers:

I am going to explain this to you very simply. All human creatures are divided into two groups. There are pirates, and there are farmers. Farmers build fences and control territory. Pirates tear down fences and cross borders. There are good pirates and bad pirates, good farmers and bad farmers, but there are only pirates and farmers.
Some pirates, Hickey says, “recognize the importance of farmers,” but farmers “always hate pirates.” The farmers recognize the pirates sometimes even before the pirates recognize themselves. It is very dangerous, Hickey says, to try to be a farmer when you’re really a pirate.

Fun Finds

"Lose the Very" helps you find one word that is better than lazily adding "very" to another.

An audio library of obsolete sounds.  

Even more fun:  a typewriter simulator!

A huge wall of working elevator buttons.

Words of Wisdom

"If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading." – Lao Tzu
A business always saws off the limb on which it sits.... Risk is of the essence, and risk making and risk taking constitute the basic function of enterprise.” – Peter Drucker
As long as the people don't fear the truth, there is hope. For once they fear it, the one who tells it doesn't stand a chance. – Alice Walker
"Our brains are like Teflon for positive experiences and Velcro for negative ones." – Rick Hanson
“Home is where people notice when you’re not there.” – Alexander Haymen
“You have to write down what you’re going to abandon.” – Leonard Cohen
“The most dangerous people were the stupid and energetic people because they’ll always do things and because they’re stupid they’ll do stupid things.” – Rory Sutherland
If a man is proud of his wealth, he should not be praised until it is known how he employs it. — Socrates
“Writing is the process by which you realize that you do not understand what you are talking about. Importantly, writing is also the process by which you figure it out.” – Shane Parrish

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