Dream job: Alpha Tester

By kate on February 8th, 2008

My network of ex-Jobster colleagues contains an unusually large number of small startups. I can count about 14 startups that have been founded or co-founded by ex-Jobsters, and many others who employ ex-Jobsters. Because of my connections at these new ventures, I’ve had the opportunity lately to do some alpha and beta testing, and have been having a lot of fun.

I’ve always enjoyed taking the time to give detailed feedback when asked. I contributed to my former employers this way, and often send bug reports for the software/sites I use, but what’s really fun is engaging with a new, hungry company that is trying to get it right.

It started with Trumba about three years ago, when I was a beta user (unfortunately, I soured on Trumba later). Of course, I helped my husband improve Feedwhip, and later Picnik. More recently, I’ve worked with startups like AirSet, Stuffopolis, SimpleSpark, Urbanspoon, RescueTime, Mergelab, and I Want Sandy to identify bugs and make suggestions.

I should point out that this help is unpaid, and contributed as a user (rather than employee or consultant). I do it because I really enjoy trying out new things in my neverending quest to get everything to work just the way I want. It’s invigorating for me to interact with these entrepreneurs, see the passion and commitment they have for their products, and dream together about the best way to solve a problem.

The more highly I think of a product, the more likely I am to send in lots of bugs and feedback. I’m cheering for these baby companies to succeed, and so contribute what I can to help. If only alpha tester were a paying job, I’d do it full time.

Filed under: technology, work
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4 Responses to “Dream job: Alpha Tester”

  1. Laurel Fan Says:

    By the way, if you have the time, we’d love to hear what you think about the robot coop sites, even though they’re not exactly new. We’re working on some redesigns, and we get some feedback from existing heavy users, but they’re kind of invested in they way things are so we don’t want them to be the only source of feedback…

  2. Tony Wright Says:

    You are a titan of Alpha testing… But I’m not sure that’s the best description. Finding bugs/confusing bits is one thing. Having a good head for “what people want” is another– and a rare commodity.

    It boggles my mind that you were in ops (not that it isn’t a noble profession).

    I think a small enough company that could offer you an ops/product strategy/blogger role would be ideal. Generalists rock in the early stages.

    (14 ex-jobster startups? list?)

  3. Laurel Fan Says:

    I think Mark Maunder has at least half of those…

  4. kate Says:

    I only counted Mark twice. 🙂 I’ll send you guys the list I came up with.

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