Perfectionists Despair: Digital World "Always in Beta"

Last Updated Oct 3, 2007 3:37 PM EDT

the Digital World Today we mentioned that Craigslist CEO, Jim Buckmaster, will be answering questions on the always engaging Freakonomics blog. One of the principles of his management philosophy:
  • Put speed over perfection: "Get something out there. Do it, even if it isn't perfect."
Buckmaster is not alone in focusing on getting something out there, even if it's less than perfect. A panel discussion with Manish Mehta, Dell's Director of Global eCommerce, and Stan Joosten, an "Innovation Manager" with P&G, on the issue will take place at Forrester's Consumer Forum in Chicago next week. The idea behind the panel:
"Innovation isn't limited to R+D rooms anymore. The Web 2.0 movement--powered by scrappy start-ups such as Twitter, Malhalo and even YouTube have proven that innovation often happens in iterations. Build, launch, tweak, measure, and repeat... Digital experiences seem to be "always in beta"--learning and evolving along the way."
While perfectionists and control freaks twitch in discomfort at the idea, with the pace of business now so fast, speed often trumps the need for a flawless release. Plus, with innovation at a premium, requiring perfection can stifle people's willingness to play and solve problems creatively.

As David Armano has pointed out in Business Week, consumers are not really consumers anymore. Not only do they consume products, they also want to interact actively with them. The message traffic that used to flow one-way from marketers to consumers, now moves two ways. It's a conversation which requires companies who want to appear responsive to consumer back chatter to tweak and revamp their products and marketing rapidly. What's this mean? More and more initiatives are always in beta.

(Image of I Am Beta Sign by matiasjajaja, CC 2.0)
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    Jessica lives in London where she works as a freelance writer with interests in green business and tech, management, and marketing.