The shaping of experimentengines.com
This is the first of three parts to share the journey from thoughtland to reality. Part 1 focuses on the process of shaping.
What is shaping? The closest analogy I can think of is bread making. Shaping dough before baking is essential for bread to maintain its proper form. Shaping forms a skin on the surface of the dough which creates a crispy, even exterior.
But how do you know your bread is ready to be shaped? First you need to mix all ingredients. In my case, I mixed a multidisciplinary career across scientific research, virtual reality, video games, digital products, customer journeys and platforms. Like bread, my mix required time to rise and settle down. It took me over 15+ years to realise where I came from and what I had learned along the way. Hope it does not take you that long with your own mix!
Another important step after mixing and before shaping, is rising. After yeast has been added there is a period of first fermentation or first rise. My catalyst to rise was two-fold.
First, an impetus to bring more child like curiosity to the world. Yes, fatherhood had an impact.
Second, the strong opinion that experimentation can help serve customers better. I have lost count of how many times I have been asked “when will it be done?” or “how long will it take?”. Few people have asked me “what have you learned?” or “what assumption are you validating?” The drive to avoiding uncertainty is not compatible with an ever changing world around us.
After bulk fermentation you can start pre-shaping. In this step, you cut the dough into individual pieces and punch out any excess air bubbles. This stage is exciting.
Pre-shaping was composed of different pieces that complemented each other over time. I think of air bubbles as the pockets of assumptions that I had to validate along the way before shaping could happen.
First, I started to blog here in mid 2015. Later, in various consulting assignments, I started to put into practice the principles of experiment engines. There are many colleagues and friends to thank for listening and being open to change. You know who you are. Thank you.
Finally, translating the concept of experiment engines into a visual identity was a critical piece that required many rounds of testing. I hope that the logo resonates with you!
The last stage! Shaping into the final form before putting in the oven. The first shape has taken the form of a community in Discord and soon unconference gatherings. There are more shapes lined up in front of the oven soon to be validated with the community.
If you bake bread you know that the art of shaping takes time to perfect. Does a perfect loaf exist? I do not think so. You can always improve and try new things. Experiment!
In Part 2, we will describe how we built experimentengines.com fast and cheap.