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Fan Beta

Betaworks gives fans an early glimpse

Fanboys and girls might seem ubiquitous on the internet, but in real life they’re a more elusive breed. Even Tom Cruise was forced to hire actors to cheer him on during a recent trip to India.

Betaworks, the New York-based don’t-call-it-an-incubator, believes they have a better way.

After a run spinning off successful B2B companies (Chartbeat and SocialFlow among them), the company is creating more consumer-facing products than ever before. That means they need users.

“The question becomes how do we build a community that our companies have access to,” Nicholas Chirls of Betaworks told us. “We want to create a community of people that are interested in what we are building and ultimately get them involved in the process.”

To that end, the studio has launched Openbeta, a program where members are given early access to the Betaworks products.

The initiative began in earnest yesterday, when they released its first product, a personalized weather service called Poncho, currently available in New York. Poncho will be followed up with the launch of one beta product each week for the next five weeks.

Naturally, the program itself is still a work in progress. “For us, it’s about trying to understand the overall pulse of the community,” Chirls said. “Our job is to take all that information and then make decisions around it.”

Sign up for Openbeta here.

Now go forth (and quench your FOMO).


Nitty Gritty:

5 years, 3 months: Length of time Gmail was in beta

3 years, 8 months: Length of time Google News was in beta

2 years: Length of time before Flickr went from beta to “gamma”



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