The Permanent Beta Mindset

"If you’re not growing, you’re contracting. If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward"

reid<em>hoffman</em>bioReid Hoffman is an original member of the PayPal mafia, partner at Greylock, and Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer_ _at LinkedIn. He is an accomplished entrepreneur and angel investor and has played a pivotal role in shaping up leading consumer business technologies like LinkedIn and PayPal. In May 2012, Hoffman was ranked third on the Forbes Midas List of the top tech investors. Forbes described Hoffman as “Silicon Valley's uber-investor” and said Hoffman “has had a hand in creating nearly every lucrative social media startup.”

Below is some valuable advice from Reid's book "The Start-up of You".

Technology companies sometimes use beta phase in their initial product launch in order to stress the product is not finished and may have bugs. Gmail was in beta for almost 5 years even when they had millions of people using it on a daily basis. Jeff Bezos of Amazon concludes every letter to shareholder by reminding everyone that “it’s still Day 1” of the Internet and Amazon. To put it another way, Amazon is never finished, it's always Day 1. According to Bezos, “we must remain vigilant and maintain a sense of urgency”.

As Reid Hoffman says, for entrepreneurs, "finished" is an F-word. Great companies are ever evolving. Having the intention to “finish” is the equivalent of staying status quo. We’ve all seen the result of companies failing to evolve over time; Blockbuster is the perfect example. Blockbuster failed to notice the emergence of the Internet era (while Netflix did), and as a result, went bankrupt.

The permanent beta mind-set doesn’t only apply to companies; it applies to each one of us. We’re all work in progress. Each day gives us an opportunity to learn more, do more, be more and grow more. Keeping our mindset in permanent beta will allow us to acknowledge that we all have bugs, just like software. There’s always room for new development and to adapt & evolve constantly. Permanent Beta is essentially a life long commitment to continuous personal growth.

As Reid points out, if you’re not growing, you’re contracting. If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward. Which one will you pick?