Iv'e just finished reading Re-Work, the 37Signals book that encapsulates their philosophy. Its written by DHH so it doesn't exactly pull its punches.

One of the chapters is about the work environment, it specifically talks about not treating staff like they are kids. Elsewhere in the book there are references to having people who work instead of delegators.

I think that the two ideas mesh together nicely. By giving people the ability to make decisions for themselves. You make yourself less important then if they are constantly having to come to you to ask for permission. At that point you might have to explain exactly what you do all day, or not. Maybe you just get to be able to work normal hours again instead of spending all day answering emails and then doing you day job outside of hours when you are tired.

Tim Ferris talks about the same ideas in the Four Hour Work Week except that employees he has outsourced most of his business to other companies. He told them to speak to each other and if they could resolve any problem for less than $400 to get on with it. At the end of the month he reviews any decisions made and sets new guidelines to inform decisions.

The essence of this treat people like children and they will act that way.
A character in a favorite book of mine Cryptonomicon by Neil Stephenson at one point talks about fuck you money, in the book he has a spreadsheet that calculates the absolute value of FUM depending on a load of external factors. Essentially FUM is enough to do what you damn well please and to say no to any job offer. Obviously the do what you please part will differ from person to person so of course the amount does as well.

Its never going to be  small number, the assumption is that it is enough to replace income as well as doing fun stuff.

Most people spend their whole live saving just to replace their income with the return on their savings. Its called retirement. Hmm, I'm impatient.

In the Four Hour Work Week, Tim Ferris talks at leg about creating a small simple business to generate enough income to support a life of adventure. Its not designed to make millions just enough. The most important thing about it is that from the start it is designed to be automated and give you free time at the same time as income.

Getting to FUM on an hourly rate is always going to be an issue, no matter what your hourly rate.

Just need an idea for something now, there are loads of nice ideas in the book but they seem to have got stuck in my head and blocked my usual creativity.

The general theme i finding a proven product in one market (geographical or demographic) and repurpose it to another. Thats got to be doable hasn't it? 
One of the books that I'm reading in my current book binge is the Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris. There are some interesting ideas in there about creating small companies just to ease you out of hourly work. I've been ranting about being paid by the hour for a while now, I'd rather be on the beach to be honest.

The one thing that stand out from this is its emphasis on free time to pursue interests. Id always thought about wanting to have ass loads of money before but this made me think. When the objective is free time all you have to do is cover costs and make sure that your involvement isn't required.

There are loads of resources in the book as well so it saves time on finding things, I'm sure that there are a bunch of companies doing well out of his links.

I've already been in touch with an outsourcing firm in India to get them to do some research into an idea for me. If it turns out that my idea is useless I've wasted far less money than if I invested my own time.

We shall see.