Alpha, Beta and an Abundance of Data

The time of the glorification of perfection and completion has come to an end in a sense. Apple, Minecraft and the internet have made it readily apparent that finished products in a data saturated cyberspace are negative and fly in the face of progress.


Minecraft and Apple sit on two very opposite ends of the spectrum. Minecraft is a video game, made by a man among many on the internet, that because of it’s early availability gained a cult following and then took over the gaming world. Now you can see kids wearing Minecraft clothing down the street, Notch (the creator of Minecraft) is a millionaire and the game has over 100 million players. Minecraft in many ways is a long tail story, early access and readable availability lead to the amount of users it has today. I started playing Minecraft in it’s earliest Alpha days and I can still remember the magic of it. It was something different with intense freedom unlike any other game my friends and I had ever seen. Ultimately Minecrafts success comes down to this sort of situation in which hype, access and quality built over the years to create a cultural phenomenon.

A phenomenon of another sort is the case of Apple Inc. and its tendency to bring out new models of products within such a small amount of time, sometimes within the year of the predecessor. With Apple you can see the opposite of the long tail in that Apple needs to have the best and most current devices even though technology is way out pacing the release schedule. It’s not about selling lots of iPhone’s over a lot of years, it’s about selling a lot in as short a time as possible so that they can bring out the next one in a year or so. This goes against the beta-rization of cyberspace as the product itself is restricted purposefully to make way for newer and better things.

With so much prod usage the time of a finished product symbolizing success and accomplishment is hopefully coming to an end. I say this because the general idea of a finished product idolizes the idea of perfection instead of collective truth seeking via aggregation and collaborative data pooling.

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