There's a phenomenon going on with Alpha Five Version 10, which, on the surface, is a positive. But in reality, it's keeping me up at night. My problem is best articulated by this Bill Gates quote: "Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning."
Acclaims for Alpha Five Version 10 from beta testers and preview users have been flooding my inbox, like this one, which I received yesterday (verbatim):
Well you certainly are hitting your straps with this aren't you, that's just awesome! - Who would have thought the operators (users) would ever have had so much live data so quickly at their disposal. The big benefactors of all this are the SME's - when things pick up, from what I can see all those Small to Medium businesses will finally have the benefits of live transactional processing in real time, something that has been the exclusive club of the corporates world due to the cost. It's going to be similar to the DTP revolution where smaller players could publish without the hight costs of typesetting and printing presses - as it changed the world!
- so will this.
You know something else, I have gotten so used to V10 - and the apps it delivers, I look back at what I was developing just 5 weeks ago and can't imagine just how on earth I could have done things any other way, also I can't believe how I could not seen just how non competitive or real world the apps were that I was working on, this is what people expect, I know we were delivering only what we were capable of at the time, but still it bothered me.
You know one more thing, I sometimes reflect back to my first PC Days in the early 80's working on dataflex, no emails or Internet then - and I just think what on earth was I doing on that PC night and day, anyhow - this stuff truly is right up there! - It's now where it needed to be.
Keep at it - it's great.
Who wouldn't love getting positive feedback? Well, in some ways, me. Because it's simply not possible that everything about Alpha Five Version 10 can be perfect and breakthrough. What's happening now is that people are focusing on the standout features. Primarily, codeless Ajax, which, when you see it, really does have a powerful effect on developers -- even a mind-blowing effect.
But the problem is, when one feature is so overwhelmingly exciting, the adrenaline generated by that can mask -- and in fact probably is masking -- other issues that need to be examined by beta testers and users.
If you're a beta tester of Alpha Five, the best thing you can be doing is not just exercising the codeless Ajax features. Certainly, we need to know where any of those features can be improved. But it's also important that you look at the platform end to end, and tell us what's wrong.
What's incomplete? What's not performing as fast as you think it should? What has a non-optimal user workflow? What has a confusing menu or dialog? What might not be as productive as it could be? And, of course, are any bugs or "features" causing you to slap your forehead?
I have to say -- and this is the absolute honest truth -- I have yet to receive dissatisfied feedback from a beta tester. It has been overwhelmingly effervescent. Now, either we really have hit the ball way, way, way out of the park end to end with Alpha Five Version 10, or there are things that are being missed by testers and users.
If you're a beta or preview user, focus on what we didn't do well; what we didn't get right; and what's wrong, or broken, or buggy, or non-optimal in Alpha Five Version 10.
We thank you and appreciate your positive feedback. And certainly feel free to keep sending it. But remember, the way this product got to where it is today is built on much more than positive feedback. It was built on ALL of your feedback. And I worry that we're not getting the bad with the good. So please feel free to look past the non-mind-blowing aspects of Version 10, and tell us about what we just didn't get right.