One definition for a Beta release is, “A version of the vendor’s software that is given to selected installations prior to the product becoming generally available. This version is often not free of defects.”
I can relate to the second sentence when I think of my personal and professional life being in a state of continuous Beta releases. This perspective has been my norm for a few years, particularly since I’ve become a free-agent and have to do everything, including my own tech support.
Perpetual beta is my attitude toward learning — I’ll never get to the final release and my learning will never stabilise. I’ve also realised that clients with a similar attitude are much easier to work with than those who believe that we will reach some future point where everything stabilises and we don’t need to learn or do anything else. I believe that this point is called death.
My wife has often told me that my current situation as a consultant is the best vocation for me because I bore easily and need constant challenges. Life in beta seems to suit me. This may be because I am male, as there is more research coming out that our ‘drill & fill’ education system doesn’t work for boys, as the Eide’s note in The Trouble with Boys. A solution could be what Christian at Think: Lab refers to in a recent article on schools in perpetual beta:
Beta schools. Perpetual. Environments that promote infinite discovery. Student and teacher as co-researchers. Form. Intent. Re-mapping the entire premise of ‘school’.
Given the abundance of information and connectivity, or what Mark Federman calls “ubiquitously connected & pervasively proximate”, we may find that in the near future hyperactivity is no longer diagnosed as a problem.