small change toward a rich life

Seeking alpha (testers)

Alert readers may have noticed that lately the frequency of posts here at Pocketmint has been somewhat reduced.

One reason is that some of my recently personal-finance writing has gone to Get Rich Slowly instead. In addition to the aforementioned discount grocery store adventure, I did a post on Discovering — and challenging — your financial values, which might just be my personal favorite for the year. A third post, this one about furniture, will be up on GRS soon.

But the primary reason I’m spending less time writing here (or anywhere) is that since mid-August I’ve been working hard on a new project — one that I hope will ultimately be of interest to Pocketmint readers. I’m not ready to announce a lot of details yet, but I will say that it’s a web-based application (like Gmail, or Facebook) which will help people save money on a regular basis.

We’re building a prototype now, and in another month or two I expect to be ready to enter an alpha-testing phase. If you’ve never been involved in software development before, alpha testing is where a small number of people — in our case perhaps around a dozen — use the app and tell us what they like and don’t like about it. We attempt to change the things people dislike or find confusing, and let the alpha testers try it again. After a few rounds of that — maybe another couple of months — we move into the beta phase, where we open the app to the public.

Alpha testers are a huge help to software designers and developers. In return they get a few unique perks: they get to see the app before anyone else, and to have a major voice in what the finished product is like. In the case of this specific project, alphas will also get a permanent free account to the software. So down the road, when we’ve added a bunch of cool extra features that everyone else has to pay for (and believe me, there are some very cool things on our drawing board), alphas get a free pass to all of it. Think of it like trying out a very early version of Flickr or Evernote and getting a permanent Pro/Premium account.

If this is something you’d like to try, and you live in the greater Seattle metro area — roughly Everett to Tacoma — email me with ‘alpha tester’ as the subject. I’ll write back with a few questions and if it all works out, add you to our alpha team.


One response

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  1. Karawynn says

    Thank you to everyone who wrote with an interest in testing. I’ve vetted a great group of alphas and recruiting is now closed. Watch for a preliminary beta announcement in early 2010!

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