If you are a software geek (I was one a looooong time ago), you would have got the import of the title instantly. But even so the application of GA – General Availability – and Beta – is not to software but to me – a normal human being (by most assessments).
But let’s clarify the definition so we are all on the same page. Beta is an early release of software, usually available on demand or to a select community, and is the process by which feedback is gathered and the product improves through revisions until it gets to a quality and feature threshold and it is ready fo GA! Wow! And I promise I did not Google that definition, so I do remember a thing or two from my software days.
Now, Google turned that definition on its head by introducing a concept called extended Beta (some even called it Permanent Beta). Gmail – when it first came out – adhered to its definition. Since it was not officially GA, it could be forgiven for entertaining bugs, and credit to G that they constantly updated the Beta software to make it better but it remained in Beta (for a looooong time).
What does it have to do with me or you? Well, as glory, fame, societal acceptance seeking business professionals, we are programmed to declare that we have arrived ASAP – or in software terms we are in GA. That could mean, we have been part of a startup with a glorious exit. Or risen to be a VP of Evangelism (I kid you not that title does exist) at a haloed organization.
Well, I was following that path. Engineer -> Manager -> Director (prefaced with a Senior subsequently) …. -> SVP. And I was GAing frequently, each release better than the other. And the world was taking notice (or at least I was under that delusion).
So how does being in “Beta Forever” feel like? Well, three points really
But that mission may change as my Beta feedback guides me.
If you feel that you have GAd, ask yourself Why? Would you consider giving yourself the permission to go back to a Beta release? It will be gut wrenching but I can assure you it is worth every pain and discomfort you may have to endure.