As we advance in our careers, regardless of our chosen profession, our thoughts and ideas become more ridged. The more I learn about testing & optimization, there fewer possibilities there are in my mind. I was reminded of this today when the kids came bursting through my office door, grinning from ear to ear, “dad…..dad”, they said as they tried to catch their breath, “one of the houses down the street is for sale and we want to buy it and turn it into a club house.”
I smiled and almost blurted out “do you have any idea how expensive it is to buy a house?” but I caught myself as Suzuki’s words began to echo in my head “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few.”
They pulled a spiral bound notebook out of a backpack and began to flip through the pages. The notebook was full of plans for how each room in the house would be utilized, who would be welcome in the club house, and general club house rules. In the back of the book was a page devoted to revenue generation. “Sell bottled water to sweaty construction workers”, “Mow neighbor’s lawns”, and “buy stuff at yard sales to resell.”
In children’s minds there are many possibilities, they haven’t had the years of experience that has taught them to narrow their view of the world. My experience is not absolute, I’m not sure I know anyone’s whose is, therefore there will always be possibilities that my experience can not account for. Yet the more I learn, the fewer the possible ways there are to optimize a site. Experience tells me that X, Y, and Z are the best alternatives to test.
Next time you sit down to your next analysis or you are designing your next round of optimization tests, throw out your preconceived notions and view the world as a child would view it, there may just be a brilliant gem hiding in your beginner’s mind.