It’s not alpha or beta. It’s the product.

by Sean Boyce

Is my product in the alpha or beta stage?  I get this question often and my answer is always the same – neither.  Your product is always in production. I want to share a few reasons with you as to why I feel this is so important. 

A beta will slow you down

Stop slowing the process down.  When your product is ready for people to use it, then that is the exact time to speed the process up.  Launching your product with a greek letter attached to its name will only slow you down. This game has a lot to do with momentum and momentum is hard to gain.  Speed things up by dropping the letter.

You’re robbing customers of their confidence in your product

Do you believe in your product?  Because if you qualify it as alpha or beta what that really means to customers is “not ready for production”.  This reduces their level of confidence in your product before they even use it. Let’s look at it from a worst case scenario perspective.  What’s the worst that could happen? A company uses your product and realizes it’s not the right fit for them at this time. If this scenario scares you then you should not be building a product business.  This happens all the time and I’m betting you’d rather know this (in particular why it wasn’t a fit) then not. You’re only going to know if you get them to use it.

What’s with the customer limit?

To learn what you need to learn, you need as much data as possible. That means you need as many people as possible using your product so that you can get real feedback.  If you “close” your beta, which basically means limiting the number of people that have access to your product, you’ll get a lot less data.  As far as product problems go, it’s way worse to have little or no customers then it is to have too many. Take the chains off.

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What to do instead

Your product is your product.  Profound I know, but I mean it.  Whatever version you’re working with, roll with it.  Get it into as many people’s hands as possible and focus on collecting great data to make it better.  Your product will never be perfect for anyone. The idea is to help as many people as possible. Try this strategy and you might surprise yourself by getting to product-market fit a whole lot quicker.

Want to know more about how to best launch your product?  Email me at or check us out at NxtStep.

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