One of the biggest issues I see with companies is the ability to implement their strategy. They have lots of what I like to call “good meeting” but little follow up and execution. And let’s face it, without action a great strategy means nothing. I have a saying on my calendar that I look at as part of my daily ritual that says, “The real way to do something is to actually do it.” There comes a time when you have to stop planning, stop strategizing, stop tweaking and just do it. Take what you get and go from there. When I work with companies, one of the first things I tell them is: “We are going to implement beta-think.”
Beta-think, as you probably surmised, is a software industry term. Software companies always launch beta versions, sometimes called version 1.0. They don’t wait to launch a perfect product but purposely launch a rudimentary product. There could be lots of reasons why they do this, but the main one is because of the “one more thing” syndrome. You know the syndrome. The “let’s add this one last feature before we launch” syndrome. This results in a launch date that gets delayed a week, then a month, then a year and before you know it your competitor comes out with a better version of your idea. Sound familiar?
When you implement beta think, you know you are going to launch the product in an imperfect state and then sometime thereafter launch the next version and then the next one.
Beta-think works with more than technology products though. You can apply it to anything and everything: fashion, restaurants, websites, seminars, etc. Once you realize that you are never finished, you open up new possibilities. Technology companies make their beta versions highly coveted under the conditions that users provide feedback. Apple and Google are known for this. They iterate really quickly and people forget about the mistakes in the beta version and instead have a lot of respect for how quickly they make it better.
Once you take the fear of imperfection out of the equation in your organization, creativity, innovation and the great strategy you talked about can flourish.
Matt Mullenweg, creator of WordPress said this: “You can never fully anticipate how an audience is going to react to something you’ve created until it’s out there. That means every moment you’re working on something without it being in the public it’s actually dying, deprived of the oxygen of the real world.”
Jeff Jarvis, author of What Would Google Do? describes it perfectly, “Beta-think says that we can make what we do ever better because we are never done, never satisfied, always seeking ways to improve by working in public.”
I could say more about this and I’m certain say it better, but in the spirt of beta-think, I’m ready to hear from you. So I finish how I started: Are you Implementing Beta-Think? What are you waiting for?