Ungated is an experimental business to its core. What I'm attempting to build here might not work.

My goal is to birth a new philosophy of online business and marketing—one that's rooted in friendliness, play, non-coercion, and cheerfully subverting the status quo. I want to create a philosophy that displaces the tacky "best practices" of the marketing world, and results in the internet becoming a much weirder, nicer, more vibrant, diverse place than it currently is.

How does one go about creating such a philosophy? Experiments. That's how. Basically, I need to take risks. I need to buck conventional wisdom. I need to actively try things that feel intuitively intriguing, but probably won't pay off. I need to be a mad scientist who opens his laboratory for all.

That's what this page is all about. It's a running collection of the business experiments I'm currently running, as well as the experiments I've run in the past. My greatest hope is that reading through them inspires you to run some experiments of your own. Godspeed.

Current Experiments

The SEO Redemption Experiment

An SEO Redemption Story
How I let the golden goose get away, and the plan to bring it back.

The Experiment: See if I can spend 2-3 weeks optimizing an old article of mine (it's about music licensing companies) to help it climb back up in the search rankings, and start pulling in healthy amounts of affiliate income again.

Seventh Week Sabbaticals

I started this in January of 2021, did it all year, and now I'm keeping it going in 2022. For creators who care about staying in the game and avoiding burnout, I can't recommend some version of this strategy highly enough.

My Experiment to Prevent Burnout In 2021
After five years of burning out, I’m trying something new (and scary).

The Suspiciously Simple Marketing Experiment

After years of building complex marketing systems, this year I'm keeping things as simple as possible. No funnels. No ads. No market research. All I'm doing is publishing a lot of stuff that excites me, and making as many friends as possible.

My marketing strategy for 2022
It’s very sophisticated.

All early signs point to this being a worthwhile strategy!

Marketing emergence in real time
A very cool thing that’s happening with my business and marketing (like, right now)

Finished Experiments

The Gift Economy Experiment

This was my attempt to build a business by making all of my products and services freely available. It ran for five months in 2021, until I shut it down and reverted back to... selling things. But probably not for the reason you might suspect. (I actually made more money than I expected).

Here are the two posts detailing why I initially thought it was a great idea, and why I changed my mind.

Transitioning to the Gift Economy
How I plan to build a thriving business by making my products available for free.
Goodbye, Gift Economy
It’s the end of a (very brief) era. Here’s what I learned, earned, and what’s coming next.

The Daily Publishing Experiment (Version 1)

To kick off 2021, I published 34 articles over 34 days. It was incredibly fun and generative, and it broke me free from my perfectionism. I'm likely going to do something similar in 2022.

Btw, the articles I wrote during that stretch were all about individual ways to create true fans. Here's the full list of 'em.

True Fan Tools
A menu of tools for ambitious creators who want to transform 1,000 True Fans from theory to reality.