why is it called beta, and why do i love it?

07 Mar

it seems like the first version of a product would be alpha, right?  i really don’t spend loads of time thinking about that moniker, but before i expound my love for the beta project i thought i would put that query out there.

is it the danger that draws us in?  it’s new and shiny and does things that others don’t but there aren’t any promises it will be out of beta.  we could invest time and energy just to watch it go away.  we could perpetually hold back, waiting to see if the beta tag will be lifted, never allowing ourselves to commit only to never see the beta tag disappear.  perhaps it is a similar struggle happening on the other side of the beta tag.  is it possible that the decision to pull the beta tag is one that makes developers and web masters nervous?  seth godin calls it shipping, right?  although, maybe i’m confused on this one…is putting something out there is beta considered shipping?  if so, then what is it called when the beta tag is lifted?

when we put out a ‘beta’ product why don’t we call it beta?  we put first versions out all the time but we don’t call them beta, we find less interesting names to apply to them like sloppy copy, rough draft, first version, etc.  i like beta better.  in face, i’m going to encourage my son to, when turning in his first version of a writing, tell his teacher that it’s in beta.  better yet, let’s go ahead and write ‘beta’ after the title so we can all know exactly what we are getting in to.  maybe he can offer his teacher a (limited number) login to view his paper, do a bit of editing, and tell him what she thinks of it.

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Posted by on March 7, 2011 in Uncategorized


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