🦊 How to Generate Ideas

Quick Brown Fox #51

Hey friends,

I hope you’re doing well! I’ve been making a concerted effort to do more collaborations lately. Collaborations are a great way to learn from others who are experts in their domain, spark serendipity, and vibe off of each other’s energy. They’re also a wonderful way to mix things up and try new things, which is perfectly in line with my general approach of exploring different pursuits. I recently did an animation+music collaboration with Jeff Romejko, and continued the momentum this Saturday when I hosted a Clubhouse session with Drew Austin on the Future of Cities. We explored the evolution of public spaces, mobility of affluence, climate change, ghost kitchens, transit and urban advocacy, and much more. I was delighted to receive a lot of positive feedback from the session — some listeners noted that it even sounded like a professional radio show. (Sadly no recording is available, but we might record future ones!)

The session gave me some confidence to keep going with the format, and to potentially explore an old idea I’ve had for a while: starting a podcast where I interview folks to share their stories of creativity and polymathic endeavors. As exciting as the idea is, I have to temper my eagerness on it given all the existing projects I have in progress. I’ve started to develop a more intuitive sense of what I’m able to juggle at any given time, and try to caution myself once I sense I’m near the limit.

The balancing act is the most important part of the play.

P.S. I just published a new speaking page where you can find my past talks, workshops, and podcast interviews. If you’re looking for a podcast to start with, check out my chat with Brandon Zhang on creativity, polymath principles and picking books that resonate. It’s one of the more popular podcasts I’ve done.

How to Generate Ideas

I recently got this great question from Ayaz Hussain during a DM conversation: “Where do you find inspiration for topics to write about?” Instead of sharing a few quick messages back, I decided to explore this a bit topic in a bit more detail, and published a note about it:

🧠 How to Generate Ideas

In this note, I share the process that has worked to help me publish and share ideas consistently. I explore three key tactics: finding creative prompts, balancing your inputs, and maintaining consistent outputs.

This note is a first pass and still a work in progress. The approach I take with notes is to share more and edit less. So if the note sparks a thought, or you have feedback on it, I’d really love to hear it!

Ask Me Anything

Ayaz’s question made me wonder: What questions would QBF readers ask?

I’d like to hear from you. I write this newsletter for many reasons, but one of the biggest is engaging with people directly about the ideas I’m passionate about. This mostly happens on Twitter, where I tend to get more replies. It also happens through this newsletter, when folks reply to an email. But I’d like to see it happen more here in this newsletter. When it doesn’t, I’m left looking at things like my subscriber growth and engagement metrics to get a sense of impact (I really don’t want to be doing that). As much as I enjoy being playful and self-directed with my work, I really do thrive on feedback.

Ask me anything! A few areas to consider for your questions:

  • Overcoming creative obstacles

  • Balancing multiple pursuits

  • Improving self-awareness, building mindfulness practices

  • Tips on drawing, writing

  • Career navigation decisions

So, don’t be shy, give it a go! Reply to this email (or DM me on Twitter) with a question, and I encourage you to provide any additional context (feel free to let me know whether you’re comfortable with me sharing the context or just the question). I can’t wait to hear from you! 😊

P.S. I’ve added an FAQ section to the front page of my notebook to list out the answers as I publish them. Today’s note, How to Generate Ideas, is the first note on the list.

I’m utterly mesmerized by this animation loop from Stephen Mangiat, created and captured in real-time using Unity:

Honestly, I cannot stop watching this. I have become a hypnopigeon. (What is a hypnopigeon, you ask? The answer lies in this thread of my favorite TikToks…)

I also loved another animation of Stephen’s that has a Knight Rider vibe to it. You can check out more of his incredible work on his Instagram page: @smangiat

I’ll leave you with a poem inspired by this adorable little kitten (shared on Twitter by Khaled):

Look boldly now,
Unleash your meow

Golden ball of glimmering fur,
The time has come, do not demur

Pounce at once, before it escapes!
Revenge at last, upon the evil drapes…

Until next time,


🌎 salman.io | 🐦 @daretorant