What is a beta program?

The first question I got from my wife when I told her I was working on a beta program for RAKKOON was "what's a beta program?" It surprised me because living very much in the tech world, I took for granted that everyone knew the answer. After a poor attempt at explaining it to my wife, I reasoned that others might be interested and decided to write this post.

A beta program is a company’s effort to have real customers use a near-commercial-ready product and provide feedback before they make it commercially available. Some companies do multiple betas as they work through issues. Others do private betas (often an invitation-only affair used for newer or radically redesigned products) then move to a public beta (commonly open to anyone willing to sign a beta agreement). Some betas charge customers (often a reduced fee, but not always) while others are free. It often seems the only commonality between beta programs is the purpose and learning.

So why ‘beta,’ you ask? Well, if you believe Wikipedia, we have IBM to blame. It seems that back in the 1950s IBM assigned letters to different stages of hardware development and that carried over to software. Somewhere along the way, the letters changed from English to Greek. I’m not a tech industry historian, so I’ll let the amateur historians check out the Wikipedia entry.

Why does RAKKOON have a beta program?

Simply put, we want to know if we got everything right. We’ve done a huge amount of research and testing of RAKKOON with real families, but there’s just no replacing having a large number of people try the product as a way to find the remaining flaws.

During the program we’ll identify and work through some technical bugs, things that wouldn’t occur in controlled testing. We’ve established processes to handle anything that pops up, but the important thing is to know what problems people are having. A beta program gives us that feedback.

Why should I participate in RAKKOON’s beta program?

The obvious reason to participate is to finally have a solution to parenting your children’s social media activity. Most of the parents that join our waitlist want a solution to this right now. Their kids are at or nearing the age of having a smartphone, and they want something in place to help them guide their kids ASAP.

Others participate because they’d like to:

  • Be part of a select group that influences the quality and direction of RAKKOON

  • Help other families avoid or navigate teenage social media issues (the more families use RAKKOON, the smarter it becomes for everyone)

  • Gain early access to a new product before anyone else and hook up friends with a cool new App

  • Expand their knowledge of social media trends (amazing how quickly they change)

  • Be recognized as an early adopter and important member of the RAKKOON community

What would make my family a good candidate for RAKKOON’s beta program?

On top of meeting technical requirements, RAKKOON’s beta program will be most successful for everyone if participating families exhibit these characteristics:

Commitment: The beta program only works if parents and kids commit to actively using RAKKOON, reporting and working through technical issues/bugs, and giving honest, productive feedback by telephone, in-person, by email, or even in video.

Diligence: We need families who are able to spend time using the product and providing feedback regularly. If beta families stop using RAKKOON for any reason, the product can’t improve.

Attitude/Enthusiasm: Accepting the possibility of technical bugs in early versions of RAKKOON, being patient as we troubleshoot flaws, and staying enthusiastic about using it are really important. We need parents and kids who are open-minded and positive about working with us to make RAKKOON great for families everywhere.

Think your family has what it takes?

If you feel your family would be a great fit for RAKKOON’s beta program, join the waitlist and complete the beta pre-qualification survey when it arrives in your Inbox.