New York startup studio Betaworks is about to unleash a whole host of new apps. Staying true to the its name, the company has gone all beta everything with a new program called Openbeta.
The program allows anyone to sign up for early access to new app launches from the studio. The idea is to build a community around the beta versions of all of the startup studio’s upcoming releases.
The program was conceived on the success of Betaworks’ experiment with Digg. When the company bought the struggling news aggregator, it trashed the old product and built a new one from the ground up. But before doing so, the site’s new owners solicited feedback from the Digg community in the form of a survey. The result is a news aggregator that Betaworks believes delivers exactly what its constituents want.
Digg did it again last week, with the announcement that it was building a Google Reader replacement in the wake of Google’s shutdown. The build will reflect feedback from the Google Reader community on all of its features and designs. Basically, Betaworks is the Ed Koch of startups.
Openbeta’s testers — I was told not to call them guinea pigs — will get early access and a chance to shape the apps before they’re officially released to the unwashed app-downloading masses. Betaworks rolls out a ton of new products each year, many of which are kiled before they’re introduced to the public. The handful that we have seen include Done Not Done, Swirl and Tapestry. The company has maintained a contrarian focus on consumer web apps despite venture bearishness on the category in the wake of Facebook’s IPO. “Consumer web innovation is still going at full throttle. And its more Darwinian,” CEO John Borthwick told PandoDaily when the company published its annual report.
Openbeta, says Betaworks’ Nick Chirls, is “for people that are fans of Betaworks and like the stuff we’ve built.”
“For people that are super passionate about early stage products and startups, this is a way for them to be a part of the community and help us build stuff,” he says.