Calling something an experiment…

Calling it an experiment gives you permission to fail.”
A.J. Jacobs
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It’s usually really cheap to experiment with data (assuming that it’s data you’ve already collected and curated).

What if you combine that “license to fail” insight with yesterday’s start of the Minimum Viable Telco (and OSS) movement? Can we use experiments to trial increased minimalism and find a way to reduce the pyramid of OSS pain? OSS the world over are overwhelmed by the complexity of uncountable variants. These variants all need to be conceptualised, designed for, developed for, tested for (not to mention when there are variants we haven’t identified that lead to fall-outs). Think of the effort that requires!

I love the concept of A/B testing. It’s used to trial two variants and watch what happens. Can we use our OSS and decision support tools to selectively drop stuff off and see whether there is any loss of fidelity? Can we trigger a chain reaction of A/B (ie Darwinian) tests to weed out the variants that don’t really matter and determine what the MVP really is?

Machines are really good at handling millions of variants. Us humans, not so much. Getting humans to accept reduction can be extremely painful (ever tried convincing a marketing department to drop one of its product lines?) Is it time for us to use exponential technology to conduct more reductionist experiments??

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