Interview with a Betabound All-Star: Bobby Smith

We have people of all ages, interests, occupations, and (most of all) personalities in the Betabound community. With such a diverse group, it’s always fun to meet individual testers and see what makes them tick.

With that said, let’s meet another one of our Betabound All-Stars. Bobby Smith is an IT Administrator from Lansing, MI. He’s been in the beta testing game for 15 years. Let’s hear what this seasoned veteran has to share with us.

What got you into beta testing?
I’ve always been interested in shaping products. Couple that with a passion in IT, and beta testing was an easy fit. There must be some deep rooted issue surrounding the lack of toys to play with as a kid. It’s like a spin on that saying about teachers, “those that can, do; those that can’t, teach.” For me it’s more like, “those that can, engineer; those that can’t, beta test.” I can’t fabricate and can’t create, so I did the next best thing, shaped those beta products.

What’s been your favorite part about being a beta tester?
My favorite part by far is the knowledge that my ideas are utilized to make products better for the end user. That’s what got me into testing in the first place. Knowing that I could make the end product a little better for the person buying/using it makes me happy. But I’d be remiss to not mention the giggles I get from tearing into that beta package and checking out all the details of something the public has never seen. That never gets old!

What makes being a beta tester for Betabound unique?
Betabound testing is unique in that I feel they’ve built a community. Many of the pm’s are very personable and friendly. The staff are always really appreciative of our assistance, which makes for a great environment to test.

What motivates you to keep devoting your time to beta testing?
Well, there is never a shortage of new products to test and attempt to improve. Beta testers are like Superman, who never decided not to help a damsel in distress. Beta products are our damsels, only they don’t look as pretty — well, actually sometimes they do!

Any advice you would give to newer beta testers?
Respect your fellow testers and Betabound staff. There’s nothing to gain from a lack of respect, and it harms the process. You don’t always have to agree, but respectfully disagree. Also, realize that Betabound staff are just doing what they can with what they have. I see new testers get frustrated about a lack of response sometimes, but being on the other side at work I know what it’s like!

And try to test with an open mind. Think outside the box, think through the eyes of different types of people. Don’t be closed off to something just because it doesn’t suit you at the time.

What do you like to do for fun?
It’s kind of funny, my two passions outside of my family are IT and the furthest from IT you can get, the outdoors. I think it provides balance. Being stuck behind a PC all day requires that I need to just get away sometimes. I love nothing better than a grueling week-long backpacking trip with no incessant emails, phone calls, meetings. Just me and the woods.

Bobby’s insight is spot-on. Beta testing is something that not everybody is cut out for, but for the people who are, it’s really an awesome thing to be a part of. Say hello to Bobby if you happen to bump into him on a test.

Are there any other questions you’d like to see us ask our Betabound All-Stars? Let us know in the comments below!

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