A call for revolution against mindless irresponsibility

Jesús Díaz posted last Friday an article on Gizmodo that has been making the rounds on the TechMemes and Diggs of this world. In A Call for Revolution Against Beta Culture, Díaz writes:

I’m tired of this. This sense of permanent discomfort with the technology around me. The bugs. The compromises. The firmware upgrades. The “This will work in the next version.” The “It’s in our roadmap.” The “Buy now and upgrade later.” The patches. The new low development standards that make technology fail because it wasn’t tested enough before reaching our hands. The feeling now extends to hardware: Everything is built to end up in the trash a year later, still half-baked, to make room for the next hardware revision. I’m tired of this beta culture that has spread like metastatic cancer in the last few years, starting with software from Google and others and ending up in almost every gadget and computer system around. We need a change.


Clearly, the problem is the development process and the time to market, with product cycles shortened and corners cut to keep a continuous stream of cash flowing in. The rush to feed these cycles with increasingly more complex engineering seems to be at odds with shortened development and quality assurance processes, resulting in beta-state first-generation products. This beta culture, the same one that already plagues the web, breeds people who are willing to accept bugs in the name of cutting-edge gear.

Essentially, Díaz proposes that we shed any vestigial sense of responsibility, and blame it all on the greedy companies and the lazy engineers. Because all those (free) beta web apps twisted our fingers to use them. Because Steve Jobs chased us into Apple stores and forced us to buy his iPhones and iPods.

It sounds like Díaz would benefit from having a look at Bruce Sterling’s proposed ethos for the early adopter.