Life as perpetual beta

Posted by on Sep 11, 2012 in Buddhism | 2 Comments

My day job is in the web. One thing I hear bandied around is the idea of ‘perpetual beta’. This is closely tied in with the idea of ‘release early, release often’.

Essentially, the idea is that with web stuff, nothing’s ever ‘finished’.

‘Finished’ is a pre-web concept.

For example, you don’t print off a gazillion books or CDs until the product is definitely definitely definitely ready. (I know this first hand!)

But with the web, you can update ad infinitum, and this is what you inevitably do.

The reason I mention this is that I feel a fairly big change coming on with this website. It’s a work in progress, an experiment, and I’ll continue to try new things as they occur to me. I’m in perpetual beta.

The other reason I mention it is because it mirrors life quite nicely.

I don’t know about you, but I have a regular feeling of ‘I’ll just get this and this and this finished and then I’ll be ready to start my life.” I’ve been saying that for at least 20 years.

In the words of John Lennon: “Life is what happens while you’re making plans.”

Perpetual beta. Never quite launching. Never quite finished.

So why not embrace it? Life as process. Your wardrobe will never be complete. You’ll never get your exercise regime exactly right. Your time management will always leave something to be desired. You’ll never quite reach full and perfect enlightenment.

Embracing this and being here now is full and perfect enlightenment.

Rethink 2012

Tomorrow is Rethink 2012. I’m heading up to Media City in Salford for it. The BBC has invited a bunch of people to get together and talk about values and Britain and religion and stuff. I’m half looking forward to it, half thinking it’s an awful lot of effort and maybe I could just stay in bed all day instead.

But no. I’m going. And I shall be tweeting and facebooking and generally trying to be social and switched on. We’ll see how it goes! You are warmly welcomed to stay in touch with my success or failure in this endeavour, and to get involved in the discussion.

Website changes

The plan is to post more frequently, more personally, and consequently more rough around the edges. I may even try to post every day! I am currently in conversation with myself about this. One part of me is very excited at the momentum this would build. The other part thinks that part is nuts.


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