Friday, February 15, 2008

Why I don't beta test any more

For a long while I used to salivate over the latest software, alpha, beta, RC and so on. I just couldn't wait to get it on a machine to test. Sometimes I'd spend hours and hours just fiddling (sad aren't I?). Of late I have come to realise that this really isn't a very productive use of my time.

Why? Well first and foremost I don't get paid to test software. I have come to realise that software companies are doing themselves a huge favour by releasing beta software. For all the testing I did, generally I received no return for the time invested. In most cases I didn't even get an acknowledgement! How dumb is that? Doing all this free work for someone else when I should have been earning income for myself meant I was a real sucker. I know that I'm not the only one who fell for this trick but hopefully now I'm awake to it.

Now, I'm happy to wait until the software is actually RELEASED before I even look at it. I'm also happy to wait for others to install the product so they can find all the bugs. There is no more bleeding edge for me. Why? Well, ask yourself how many of your customers are bleeding edge? How many MUST have the absolute latest? Probably not many (if any). Most these days are conditioned to wait as long as they can before implementing any sort of technology. Also ask yourself the question whether any of your customers would pay you to be bleeding edge? Again, probably not many at all.

If I get tempted to download beta software and fiddle I take a deep breath and ask whether I'm doing it to generate more revenue or doing it for interests sake alone. If I'm doing it just for interest sake that's fine but really I have better things to do in my downtime that fiddling with software!