Meet Our Team: Tom Peelen


If you’ve been a part of a Betabound test recently, there’s a chance your beta test was managed by Tom Peelen. A truly talented Beta Manager, Tom has been responsible for some of the most exciting beta tests of 2015. In an effort to get his thoughts on beta testing, and what it takes to get good at it, I sat down with Tom to ask him a few questions about what he’s learned from his experience as a Beta Manager.

So Tom, tell me about your role and responsibilities.

Currently, I’m a Beta Manager. Basically what that means is that I make sure all the aspects of a beta test run smoothly. That includes being a part of the initial process of recruiting beta testers and selecting our final testers that meet our customers’ requested tester demographics. I also come up with the different activities to engage testers throughout the test. After the test is complete, I’ll review all the analytical data, as well as all the feedback, and make sure everything gets where it needs to go.

What is your favorite part of your job?

This might surprise you, but it’s the testers. They really know how to keep things interesting. But, honestly, I love them. Every day I get to manage different tests and interact with the testers who are a part of those tests. It’s really neat to have the opportunity to work directly with them as they try new products.

When people ask me what’s it like to be a Beta Manager, I always bring up the fact that you get to work with real people. That means when they interact with you, their actions are genuine. It’s really cool to see them grow as beta testers and hear their stories along the way. I also feel like I get to know them, often developing a mutual respect between them and myself.

As a Beta Manager, you get to manage tests for tons of new products. What sort of tech are you most excited to see develop in the future?

I’m really interested in home automation products. Home automation has grown leaps and bounds over the last few years. Security is my personal favorite genre of home automation products. I like the idea of being able to monitor my home, in real time, while I’m at work or away on a trip. If anything happens, you can either know immediately or have a recording of it.

I am also extremely interested in the future of entertainment devices. Everything from the new virtual reality headsets coming out, to the future of gaming, gets me excited. The idea that all my entertainment devices can not only be connected but that content that play across multiple devices is really awesome.

It’s clear you spend a lot of time working directly with testers, so what do you think makes a good tester?

I would say there are four major characteristics that make a good tester. First, a good tester is a reliable tester. As a Beta Manager, it’s really important that you not only have testers who respond to you, but that they respond on time when you request things. Being a reliable tester also means not slowing down or stopping participation during the middle of test. Instead, it means staying engaged and communicating with us until the end.

The second most important characteristic of a good tester is the ability to be patient. What you’re testing is a beta product. That means that products don’t always work like they should. It’s not uncommon to struggle to get your beta device to do what you want it to. It’s important that a tester can stay patient as they tinker with and report back about their beta device.

Third, being able to communicate is key. For example, if a tester is reporting a bug, it’s important that they will be able to submit a detailed summary of how they discovered it so we can reproduce it. Also, every piece of feedback we receive is cleaned up grammatically before we log it for records. Having a tester who can communicate and write effectively from the get go makes a big difference for us on the backend.

Finally, it’s important a tester can keep a secret. All beta tests are confidential. Even though we require testers to sign a non-disclosure agreement, it’s important they will be able to follow it.

If you could give a new tester any piece of advice what would it be?

The most important thing every new beta tester should keep in the front of their mind is why they decided to become a beta tester in the first place. Being a beta tester can be a really fun experience. We are all here, both the testers and managers, because we love technology. We all want to be at the cutting edge of what’s happening in the tech world. As a tester you are able to test devices that no one else has seen yet, you get to be the first to experience some truly awesome products. If you want to be a rockstar tester, let your excitement and passion for tech be your guiding principle throughout your beta testing experiences.

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