I love experiments!
This is why I try to conduct experiments every time I pitch a conference talk. Not only does teaching a difficult topic the fastest way to master it yourself but conferences are perfect little laboratories. There is nothing like a conference talk for streamlining an idea, testing its validity, and gaining instant feedback.
In most cases, the crazier the talk idea, the better the presentation.
When I started getting serious about doing talks, I was playing around with an idea that would extend WordPress by using a little-understood feature called Multisite. This was a way to take a single WordPress code-base and leverage it across multiple domains and sub-domains.
My concept was to package up WordPress Multisite installations using certain pre-defined design patterns I was calling monsters.
This idea took me to my first big stage at WordCamp Asheville in Asheville, North Carolina. In a talk, I called Monsters of WordPress I was able to encourage other WordPress developers to explore the possibility of creating turn-key website solutions using pre-defined WPMU sites.
I even had different monster names for each pattern such as Wakemaker, Sea Dragon, and Kraken.
As an experiment, it was incredibly successful. I proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that WordPress Multisite was a dead end. The wicked complexity of WPMU proved to be too much for most developers to maintain.
Although the results were disappointing, the feedback was priceless.
I love teaching audiences interested in ways to tackle wicked problems but I love getting real feedback even more.