Strands of Genius is Baaaaack!

Sneak Peak: A Public Venmo for New York, Zuckerberg's Long View, 10 Thoughts on What The Next 10 Years Will Hold, Co-Habitating Couples & Faris in Animal Print

WRITING FROM | Greenville, SC
WORKING ON | contracts & proposals for 2020

Jan 13-31: Greenville, SC
Jan 18-21: Charlotte, NC (Rosie)
Feb 1-15: Nashville, TN
March 4-6: London, UK | Big TV Festival


Hiya! Rosie and Faris here. Hope that all of you had an incredibly wonderful holiday season, whatever that looked like for you! We hung out in Nashville with Rosie’s fam, before heading to Greenville, SC for New Year’s Eve celebrations with our friends Rachel & Mike. Now we’re hanging with them, doing a friends health retreat of sorts. More on that below. You’ll notice we’ve got a new look going on — it’s intentional! We’ve been paying attention to Substack and what they’ve been up to for over a year now. At the same time, we’ve been lamenting the frequent price increases over at MailChimp.

This week, we’re especially thankful for:

cuddles from our niece & nephew, re-watching the second season of Fleabag, aged rum, quality time spent with blood family and chosen family, trippy nature, crockpots, The Golden Compass (Rosie just read the first book of the trilogy and afterwards we watched the show. Both are awesome!), Greenville Yoga, and this incredibly warm weather (y’all! it was 72 degrees in Greenville yesterday!)


  • New York is proposing the creation of a public venmo called “the Inclusive Value Ledger” which would allow individuals and business to bank without banks, or fees. If it sounds silly to you, you must not be part of the 14mm US adults who don’t have bank accounts and instead have to rely on exploitative payday loan services. (Vice)

  • Mark Zuckerberg decided not to set a personal challenge for the year, but to highlight some for the decade — including thoughts on privacy, decentralizing opportunity, generational change, the next computing platform and new forms of governance. To no one’s surprise, he posted these on Facebook(Facebook)

  • Zuck’s thoughts were fine, but more interesting, we thought, were Azeem Azhar’s thoughts on preparing for 2030 and what we can expect in the next 10 years — from increasingly fragmented geopolitics, to climate change being the dominant narrative, rethinking the purpose of economies, eating less meat, and yeah, unfortunately big tech companies like FB, Google and Amazon working aggressively to hoover up data wherever they can, using their balance sheets to expand into new arenas.” (Exponential View)


This year we’re starting our year by spending a month living with our friends Rachel & Mike. For the past several years, we’ve spent several weeks co-habitating each year, and it’s something that all four of us look forward to. It’s unusual for couples, especially married couples, to choose to have roommates (outside of kids, at least) — but y’all. It’s so much fun.

This year, the four of us are taking a month off of drinking while doing Whole 30. Diet changes can be tough, even with a partner in crime. But with three, it feels more than manageable — actually fun. Between the four of us, we can share responsibilities. I (Rosie) love the menu planning & grocery listing. We goof off and joke as we tackle Costco, Trader Joe’s and Publix together on a Sunday. Faris and I tend to tackle dinners, since we have a flexible work schedule, and Rachel and Mike tend to clean.

We sit down for meals together, and for games of Mario Kart. When you’re not drinking on your own, being social can be tough: You start to see how many social outings revolve around drinking. Instead, we go to yoga together, and take walks. We play boardgames, and sit out in the back yard talking and drinking LaCroixs. It feels like a health retreat, except it costs less than our normal life, and we’re allowed to binge on Netflix, too.

And it feels like summer camp, where you cram a year’s worth of friendship into a month. Over dinner, it can be hard to get beyond the basics: How’s the job? What’s new with the family? And the basics are important. But when you are sharing a living space with someone, you have so many opportunities for depth of conversations — to talk about aging parents or grandparents, siblings and their families, longer term life goals, hopes & fears.

Rosie’s sister, Lillian, and her husband, Jason have been co-habitating with another couple for 5 years now. The big difference? They’ve got 5 kids between them! After the two families rented a place together for a couple of years and loved it, they ended up buying a home together. They’ve got two kitchens, and two separate living areas, but the kids claim it all. They cook dinners for each other, babysit for each other, offer parenting tips and life hacks. Yes, there are still occasional disagreements about paint colors or storage, but the benefits far outweigh the costs.

While sharing a space with another couple might be intimidating to some, we’ve found it inspiring. We find ourselves walking around in our underwear a bit less, but hey, a small price to pay to live the dream ;)


Here’s Faris posing wearing a Christmas present from Rosie’s mom Judy (yes, she picked those threads without any support) and with a Christmas present from Rosie: tombstone by Mr. Bingo with one of our life mottos: Don’t forget to have fun. Or as we often say, “It won’t be any good, if it isn’t any fun.”

If we can ever be of help to you, even outside of a formal engagement, please don’t hesitate to let us know. Getting to meet like-minded folks is one of the best parts of living nomadically, so please let us know if you see if we'll be in a city near you :)

faris & rosie & ashley | your friends over at

@faris is always tweeting
@rosieyakob hangs out on instagram
@ashley also writes for deaf, tattooed & employed

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It's called Genius Steals because we believe ideas are new combinations and that nothing can come from nothing. But copying is lazy. We believe the best way to innovate is to look at the best of that which came before and combine those elements into new solutions. 

Co-Founders Faris & Rosie are award-winning strategists and creative directors, writers, consultants and public speakers who have been living on the road/runway since March 2013, working with companies all over the world. Our Director of Operations is nomadic like us, our accounting team is based out of Washington, our company is registered in Tennessee, and our collaborators are all over the world. Being nomadic allows us to go wherever clients need us to be, and to be inspired by the world in between.

Hit reply and let’s talk about how we might be able to work together :)

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