how to experiment

Confession: during this session of the Effective Blog class, I've been following along with the students and doing the homework myself. You see, I'm kinda ambivalent to blogging, but I love experimenting. But how I feel about blogging is old stuff. It's not new or based on the current reality. I need to experiment, to see if everything is true or not. The other day in class, Diane mentioned that she likes to do 30-day experiments to see if something works or not. That, combined with this post from Elise, combined with the excellent stuff I learned during our live discussion, inspired me to get started now.

So I'm doing a public 30 day experiment, right here. And I'd like you to join me.

I didn't plan on saying anything about it, but I'd like to have some company. And experimenting is better when we do it  together. I'd love for you to join in with me, to hold your own experiment!

Before we get in to it, let's talk about what makes a good experiment (you can find full How to Experiment instructions on page 100 of the book.)

How to Experiment

1. Set a thesis. What do you want this experiment to do for you? What do you think will happen?

2. Set the parameters. How long is this experiment? What will it entail? (You are so much more likely to stick with something if it has a clear end date. You'll also get better results if you plan a time to stop and reassess.)

3. Put the support system in place to hold it. What will you need in time, space and energy to do the experiment? How can you set up your day, week and life to make that possible?(Hint: if you're not writing every day now, something will have to change for you to be able to do that next week. Time, space, tools, etc.)

4. Review the results. What worked? What didn't? At the end of the experiment, make notes about the results, how you felt, and what you learned. Use it to set up your next experiment!

You can use this to experiment with anything (going vegan, trying a new marketing channel, increasing sales, etc). The really important thing here is to experiment with things that you expect a clear result from in the time allotted.

For our experiment, we're going to start today, and stop on 9/3. That's not very long, so pick something do-able for that long, and set your goal small. Very small. Even smaller than that. Got one? Ok!

Here's mine:

1. Thesis: blogging every weekday until 9/3 will increase my connection with the community or readers and explorers. How will I know that happened? People will join me in creating their own experiment, and even more people (let's say, twice as many) will join me for the next group experiment in September. (This will probably also result in more emails, Twitter conversation, etc, but I'm not measuring those.) This all serves my Big Goal for more connection (via vulnerability) in my life + work.*

2. Parameters: The experiment ends 9/3. It includes sharing something publicly here, in this space, every weekday. Something useful, entertaining or inspiring. At least once a week I'll hit “publish” on a post I'm a little afraid of.**

3. Support systems in place: Time to write every morning, creating a list of possible topics to carry me through the whole month, scheduling the ones I feel inspired to write. (In other words, my classic non-planning planning.) I'll talk more about the tools I use later.

*This goal isn't that business-y, because I'm plenty busy with current clients. But what I've learned through building the Starship is that there's an amazing private, deep community there, and I'd like to supplement that with a broader, more public community outside the Starship, so that everyone can experience at least a bit of the magic of exploring with others. In order to do create that, I have to stop doing all my stuff in the privacy of one-on-one and Starship work, and start bringing it here. That's the reason for this experiment!

**This week, that post would be this, right here!

That's my experiment. Would you like to join me with your own?

You can experiment on absolutely anything! (Blogging regularly, blogging about different topics, using Twitter, FB, Instagram or whatever in a new way…the possibilities are endless!)

To join in, just leave a comment with your experiment (including thesis, parameters, etc), and we can check with each other using #experimentFTW on Twitter or Instagram. Prefer to keep it private? Email me! On 9/3 we'll be back here with a new experiment!

28 Comments on How to Experiment (and scare yourself)

  1. Beverly
    August 13, 2012 at 11:56 pm (12 years ago)

    Ok, here’s my plan:
    1. Set a thesis. Working 1 hour every day on e-book until 9/3 will allow me to move beyond my general outline to build momentum enough to finish. How will I know that happened? I will log my time worked, and I’ll be able to count how many pages I have completed.
    2. Set the parameters. How long is this experiment? Experiment ends 9/3. What will it entail? It entails writing useful content and designing worksheets every day.
    3. Put the support system in place to hold it. What will you need in time, space and energy to do the experiment? How can you set up your day, week and life to make that possible.
    I will need to expand my outline to include more details. In terms of time, space, and energy, I have the first two available during the experiment time, other than 1 day, when it will be more challenging to fit in the writing time. In terms of energy, I will plan to work on the ebook immediately after breakfast when my energy is highest.

  2. Tara Swiger
    August 14, 2012 at 9:49 am (12 years ago)

    Excellent, Beverly! I’m so glad your joining me!
    As for your support system…is the time you’re going to work on this already being used for something else? (or is it well-established writing time?).
    And is this every week day or EVERY day? (Either way, I’m so impressed!)

  3. ThreeDressesProject
    August 14, 2012 at 11:39 am (12 years ago)

    I’m joining you!
    1. Thesis: Spend time setting up photo shoots for the garments I’m working on. Edit these photos and post ONLY edited photos to my blog. I hope this pulls in readers as I know that bad photos turn me off, too. This experiment is to see how many more people I can get interested in my blog from just better images.

    2. Parameters: The experiment ends 9/3 and I hope to have 3 blog posts up with better photos by 9/3.

    3. Support systems in place: I don’t have money for a tripod yet but I will find creative ways to use backdrops and better lit areas for photo shoots.

  4. Tara Swiger
    August 14, 2012 at 12:56 pm (12 years ago)

    Hoorah! I commented on your blog post, before I saw your comment here, but I love your experiment!

  5. ThreeDressesProject
    August 14, 2012 at 1:10 pm (12 years ago)

    thanks! I just saw your comment. I’m excited for this kick in the…experiment.

  6. Ruben Brito
    August 14, 2012 at 7:12 pm (12 years ago)

    I did a photo experiment where I shook a bag of water in front of a light. I have a tripod, but I wanted to be more “hands on”. I’ve attached the result.

    If you flood your photos with light, your camera in auto mode will take quick pictures. In manual mode lower the exposure time gradually and you should find a setting that takes pics faster than a hand can shake assuming everything is in focus.

  7. Beverly
    August 14, 2012 at 11:16 pm (12 years ago)

    Every day (other than Saturday, my nephew’s wedding. I will just be celebrating all day long!). I’m hoping to not carve into my regular writing time…I thought I’d work in the morning, but today, I had to be out early and worked from about 10-11 p.m. Thanks for the encouragement!!

  8. Tara Swiger
    August 16, 2012 at 12:01 pm (12 years ago)

    This is a great beginning, Ruben!
    Another way to think about what you might blog about: What does your customer need or want to know that will make buying or using your product easier? How can you help her picture it in her life?

    Can’t wait to see how it works out for you!

  9. Ruben Brito
    August 16, 2012 at 1:14 pm (12 years ago)

    Making a case for a good product fit is an awesome exercise! I will work on figuring this out.

  10. ThreeDressesProject
    August 16, 2012 at 3:34 pm (12 years ago)

    That’s very cool! Thanks for that.

  11. Ruben Brito
    September 6, 2012 at 10:00 am (12 years ago)

    I made a sale!! I didn’t follow through with the other 3 experiments, but I’m definitely refocusing my upcoming products and keeping my right customers in mind. Thank you!!

  12. Tara Swiger
    September 6, 2012 at 10:58 am (12 years ago)

    Do you have a new experiment in mind for September (maybe about your Right People)?