Beta not do it

Another one of those snarky posts I’ll probably be razzed for later, but it occurred to me as I was driving home tonight, and somewhat ties into the idea of "taking Australia":

Beta has lost all meaning in the online world. Flickr has been out since at least March of 2004. It’s one of the most-trafficked sites on the Internet. Yahoo bought it for a webmillion dollars. And it’s still "beta."

Gmail has been around over a year. Still beta. (By the way, if there’s anyone left in the world who doesn’t have a Gmail address, I have a scads to offer.)

Both are great sites and great businesses. But they aren’t "beta."

There’s disagreement as to whether beta is a fair warning or a cop-out. Users should expect the constant addition of new features. But after six months in the public eye (at most), I think it’s fair to drop the "beta" crutch.

"Really man, you can’t be mad that the hammer broke. It’s still in beta!"

There are few no guarantees in this crazy startup world. But I promise you– If you aren’t less than two degrees of separation from one of our founders or investors, you will never see a "Pegasus Beta." We call it "Gary’s rule": If it doesn’t amaze you, we won’t launch it. If it doesn’t work, there’s no excuse.

In the meantime, I fully acknowledge that beta (even at over a year old) beats the hell out of pre-alpha.

I suppose that our state’s legislature might want to claim beta status on the recently-closed session. Another reason we need more people (citizens and journos) covering government at all levels.

Mike Orren is the Chief Product Officer of The Dallas Morning News; President of Belo Business Intelligence; husband to Crystal Orren; and a Mungarian at Munger Place Church in Dallas, TX. All opinions herein are mine alone.