In software engineering, a product is in “permanent beta” when it is released to the public without being perfect and is then constantly improved and tweaked to satisfy the ever-changing tastes and needs of the users. Permanent beta adherents believe It is better to ship early and iterate rather than strive for perfection and risk never getting the product in front of consumers.
Today, most software products are in permanent beta. They’re mostly effective, but the engineering teams are always tweaking, to improve the products.
Humans are also in permanent beta. Since the moment we’re born, we're mostly feature-complete. We have organs and muscles that already function and keep us alive, but we remain a work-in-progress until the day we die. While physical development might slow or stop at some point, we'll continue to learn, experience new things, change tastes and habits throughout our lives.
If, as Leonardo di Caprio famously said, “Every next level of your life will demand a different you,” then being in permanent beta is about giving ourselves permission to be sloppy but thrive to always be shipping product, and most of all: to embrace lifelong learning and constant change.
So, The Permanent Beta newsletter will sometimes be a mashup of topics and some other deep dives into topics I’m currently curious about. Sometimes things will be at 80%, some others at full speed. The focus is not to be perfect, but to explore, make mistakes, receive feedback and learn along the way.
My hope is that each edition of Permanent Beta will spark your curiosity, give food for thought and enable thoughtful discussions.
Why Permanent Beta?
I came across the term while reading 10,000 Hours With Reid Hoffman: What I Learned. I was suddenly inspired and realized that it would make a great next iteration for Nerd Corner. With Nerd Corner, I felt, well, cornered. The title constrained me too much and I discovered that the name wasn’t all that appealing. My goal with Permanent Beta is to experiment with different styles and topics in each edition.
Will this be like The Nerd Corner?
Some of the topics may be similar as I haven't changed my interests that radically. (I'm still a nerd at heart and continue to make a living as a Software Engineer.) But Nerd Corner issues had a specific format and I always shared links and tweets from around the Internet. I'm not sure I'll keep the same strict format. I hope to produce more original and evergreen content.
What about books?
Nerd Corner started with book reviews and summaries as they have always been a fundamental piece in my journey. This will be no different in Permanent Beta. I’ll be sharing my book notes whenever I read something new and interesting.