“Beta Culture” and Opportunity Cost
| Peter Klein |
I enjoyed this rant on “beta culture” — the trend toward earlier and earlier releases of hardware and software, before many bugs are worked out — but wish the author understood the concepts of opportunity cost and marginal analysis. I used to assign Gene Callahan’s classic “Those Damned Bugs!” in my introductory classes to explain these concepts. Would it be nice if new products worked perfectly right out of the box? Sure. Is perfection worth the wait? Probably not. That isn’t to say that all new products are launched on the right side of the temporal benefit-cost margin — the BlackBerry Storm might qualify as alpha, not beta — but using the problems of some new products to crusade against early release more generally misses the mark.