Experiments

We live at a moment in time in which everything we do, everything we put out in public must succeed the instant it appears. If not, it's an abject failure. It's not worth anyone's time.

That's the unfortunate narrative that seems to have weaved its way into the fabric of the online world.

Far too many interesting and promising projects have been abandoned because they didn't succeed from moment one, because they weren't an instant hit.

Sadly, there's no room today for something that needs time to find an audience. There's no room for experimenting in public.

It shouldn't be that way.

Experiments are essential. And not just in science. No matter what you're doing, experiments give you the leeway to try something new. They offer an outlet to test an idea or a concept. They help you learn what works and what doesn't.

In many ways, Buckminster Fuller's philosophy has influenced not just my thinking but my approach to life. I view my life as an experiment — definitely not as grand as Fuller's drive to discover what a single individual could contribute to changing the world and benefiting all humanity but an experiment nonetheless.

Take, for example, my weekly letter. In the grander scheme of the Republic of Newsletters, it's hardly a blip. But for me, it was (and is) a big step. Even though I've been writing professionally for almost 30 years, I still lack some confidence in my abilities. That lack of confidence makes me wary of putting some of my writing, especially my more personal work, out there.

Over the last several months, I've lost a couple or three subscribers (which I expected to), but I gained more. More importantly, I know that what I've written has touched a few of the fives of people who read that letter. For me, that's more important than have a wider base of readers who might not be engaged.

I don't see why you can't perform your experiments in public. Doing that offers a lot of transparency into what you're doing. Admittedly, you'll have to endure a number of slings and arrows while experimenting. No matter what you say, those slings and arrows will sting. They will hurt. You need to find a way to go past all that.

What others say shouldn't stop you from experimenting. What you come up with might not change the world, but it could make your little portion of the world better. If nothing else, experimenting will help you grow. It will help make you a better person, even in just a small way.