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Just read this post by David Armano on his Logic & Emotion blog. In the post David outlines the theme of a pending conference in Chicago that focuses on what it means to be “beta.” As outlined in the conference primer:
“Innovation isn’t limited to R+D rooms anymore. The Web 2.0 movement—powered by scrappy start-ups such as Twitter, Malhalo and even YouTube have proven that innovation often happens in iterations. Build, launch, tweak, measure, and repeat. Techniques like Mash-ups enable faster development and more experimentation with a range of tools from mapping to community to data feeds. Digital experiences seem to be “always in beta”—learning and evolving along the way.”
This post really hit home with me since being in beta mode, from my perspective, perfectly captures the essence of the new Web 2.0 environment – flexible, creative, striving to provide value, responsive to consumer input and willing to try things before they are guaranteed to succeed. It also acknowledges the truism that nothing is ever final or perfect - at least in the protean world of human conversation - and continuous improvement and adaptation is the price of survival on the Web. I’ve seen several digital programs launched first hand in the past year, and each of them went through a beta period – planned or otherwise – and all benefited greatly from user input. And they continue to adapt based on feedback, user habits and evolving objectives. Seems like this beta mentality could be a good model for any organization seeking to be relevant in the age of digital content and social networks. The ultimate lesson: don’t waste time trying to find perfection behind closed doors.