Note: This post was drafted on 3/31 and finalized today.
The last couple of weeks I have been brainstorming new program with the goal of winnowing it down to a list of the ideas that have the highest potential for creating joy through charming absurdity.
In addition to the existing hour or so of programming, I also have a roadmap of about 14 other programs which would total over 4 hours if I made them all.
A few were deferred or eliminated pretty quickly.
For example, I had “mandlebrot zoom and optical illusions” as one of the things I thought people would like. However, when I dug into the internet to see what I might create, most of what I found were parlor tricks with limited lasting value. More importantly, optical illusions are not exactly “charming absurdity”, which is the mission and I need to stick to the mission. (Also if they can be done on the internet, is it really needed for me to do them in the Eureka Room? Does it add anything to the experience? Not much.)
I do think I will keep the Mandlebrot zoom which I think is an awesome effect in the room – but not on its own. I will work it into other programs. Currently I’m thinking the “Chant the Thing” program.
Here’s an example of a Mandlebrot zoom I found on YouTube:
Other ideas have been deferred because they would be much better if I had a little technical interactivity in the room, which I don’t yet and I don’t think I need to develop to get to the MVP stage. Many people already love what I have, so why delay getting it out there because I want to add some tech? That said, I think I will permit myself some “20%” time to work on these kinds of projects. I do get energized and inspired by getting to play outside the sandbox. Who knows, these technical additions might not be as complicated as I think. Also I might spend some money to get them developed.
So what is the plan now?
I want to get what I think is the best solid 45-60 minutes of charming absurdity. For now, I’m going to assume it needs to be 4-6 people ideally. To develop the programs I will use the usual:
Ideate > Design > Prototype > Test > Repeat
- Brainstorm possible components of 8-10 programs.
- Create the moments matrix for each of them.
- Create or acquire the necessary artifacts to test.
- Bring testers in and run the tests.
- Adjust and repeat.
Now I could do all of step 2 and 3 before I have testers over. Indeed, I don’t want any over right now due to COVID. But maybe in a couple weeks when a lot of my friends are fully vaccinated.
How long will each testing session last?
Because if each is 30 minutes, that’s 4-5 hours to get through all the programs. Having people continuously test that long (even with breaks) won’t work.
Instead, let’s assume they volunteer to test for two hours. That’s about 4 programs we can play and get feedback on. So perhaps we use the pomodoro technique. Each program has a test duration of 25 minutes, followed by a 5 minute break. That 25 minutes consists of everything: them experiencing the prototype, me asking questions, them proposing other ideas, etc.
I could be off on my estimates and it likely will vary from program to program. But I have to start somewhere so lets keep in mind 25 minutes when I’m designing the moment matrix and choosing what to prototype.
What is the Schedule now?
If we are aiming for a June 1 start date, then I have two months to create programs and attract the tribe.
Group 1 and Group 2 have 4-6 people in them.
April 1-7: Set A ready to test (laughter, chant, sync-chant, borrow pen)
April 8-15: Set B ready to test (folk saint, PO, day, calm relax)
April 15-22: Visit parents.
* April 22-29: I’d love to have a test week like this, but it’s going to depend on if I can find good testers who are fully vaccinated: Mon 1A. Tue 2B. Wed edit. Thu 1B. Fri 2A.
* May 1-30: Only work on the 2 hours I will finally present. Also bring in testers as needed.
* June 1: Open for showings.
* subject to change based on pandemic.