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Last month, I launched an experiment (and some of you joined me!). While doing the experiment is fun in itself, the real power lies at the end, where we determine if the experiment worked the way we thought it would.

To analyze your experiment, start with the thesis. Did you prove it true? Or not? You might find that you didn't measure what you needed to measure to really learn what you wanted to learn. Or you might learn that while you started the experiment with one plan, the territory changed it into something else.

The important thing in this analyzing step is that ALL DATA IS GOOD DATA. It's not our job to judge the results, just to report in on them, explore them, and then use this experiment to make our next.
I want to really stress this: even if you didn't finish your experiment or complete it the way you thought, you still gathered data. You still got results. Whatever the results, you now know something you didn't know last month. And that is very good news.

My experiment results.

The thesis: blogging everyday would help me explore both my relationship with blogging and my connection with the community.
Results: Happiness! The blogging reminded me that what we appreciate appreciates. The more I write, the more I have to write. As for the community aspect, I was completely delighted by the explorers that joined me! I loved reading about your experiments and it definitely made me feel more connected through our shared vulnerability. Two very enthusiastic thumbs up.

And now for the next experiment.

Before I introduce my next experiment, take a moment to think about yours.
What did you learn from this experiment?
Does that give you an idea of what else you might try?
Do you want to experiment with something similar to gather more data or switch to something totally different?
A word of warning: it's easy to fall into the habit of just trying the same thing again and again and hoping to learn more every time. But that's why we put parameters on the experiment: to push you to come to some conclusions about one thing and move on to the next. So even if you stick in the same arena (say, blogging everyday), be sure to change your thesis and your parameters to reflect what you learned this time.

My next experiment

Now that I have proof that what I focus on flourishes, I want to turn my focused, daily attention to something else: the Starship. It's my most favorite thing to work on and for months I've been shifting my business so that I can focus on it exclusively. Sorta unexpectedly, that happened this month, and the Starship is now 98% of what I do (I cut waaay back on individual clients).

I couldn't be more thrilled. But I've also learned that when your favorite thing goes from part-time to full-time, it's easy to lose enthusiasm and get bogged down in the quotidien. To keep the Starship my favorite, and make it even more fun to be in, I'm going to do one thing every day: I'm asking myself the question “What can I do to make the Starship more awesome (inside or outside)?
Some days the answer might be to brainstorm, some days the answer might be to implement. Some days the answer might be to work on upcoming classes. But everyday will see me asking the question and working through an answer.

Thesis: Asking myself one question each morning will lead to bigger and better ideas, clearer priorities, and maintain my enthusiasm for my favorite project.
Parameters: Every day, I'll start the day with the question, and then I'll write and brainstorm an answer. The experiment ends October 1st.
Support system: I already write every morning, so this will just fit in there. I'll use my journal or 750words.com. I'll be implementing the ideas as I go through my weekly system of communicating with the Starship Captains and with the Early Boarding List. Oh! And I'll ask the current captains for their help in coming up with ideas.

(Sneak peek: I started this yesterday, on my flight home, and the answer  was: Come up with ways to make a new captain feel welcome + special. So I wrote a list of 10 things and I picked one. This month all new captains will be invited to talk to me one on one about their business and their goals. I am so excited about this! It sounds like so much fun, but I never even thought about it before!  Today the answer was: Reward people who buy the Starship in one fell swoop. So I've lowered the single-payment price to $450, for just this week*. I'll report back next week on how this question is changing other things, but for now I just had to tell you: it is so much fun and giving me ideas I never had before!)

Now how about you?

What's your experiment for this week?
Share your thesis and parameters in the comments.



*If you want to find out about the special things I'm offering new captains, be sure to sign up here. And remember, the Starship is only open for one week, so all the other ways I awesome-ize the Starship will only be for members, and not available publicly.

3 Comments on How to experiment: Reports + New Experiments

  1. ThreeDressesProject
    September 6, 2012 at 11:24 am (10 years ago)

    Here’s my analysis:

    What did you learn from this experiment? We are driven to beautiful images. Clutter free images not only give the reader a better view of what I’m making (I sew garments) but also is very pleasing. I bought a tripod as part of getting better pictures and started feeling the urge to take advantage of good light when it strikes- something I couldn’t do before without a tripod.

    Does that give you an idea of what else you might try? Now, I just need to keep up the blogging with thoughtfully done photos. I don’t think it will be hard. It’s nice to get nods from my sewing community.

    Do you want to experiment with something similar to gather more data or switch to something totally different? For now, I need to keep this up. In a couple of months, once getting good photos isn’t so much effort, I’ll be ready to experiment again.
    I hoped to get more readership and I did. My per day views spiked with a couple of really cool photo blogs. It’s leveled off so I’ll need to address that next.

  2. Tara Swiger
    September 6, 2012 at 12:11 pm (10 years ago)

    Thanks for sharing your analysis!
    But now I want to push you *just* a bit. What did you learn about photography (or your relationship with it) during this experiment. You knew at the outset that you wanted beautiful photos, and you knew you wanted a tripod. So what new thing did you unearth about how you take photos, what you like in a photo, or even just the technical aspect of photo-taking or styling?

    And then, what are the parameters of your next experiment (of course you can always have the ongoing goal to take better and better pictures, but an experiment indicates that you’ll try specific things in a specific time).
    I really love your experiment and I’ve loved watching your photography improve!