SSD Nodes had been around for 6 years now, but we’d never run a beta—at least not on an official basis—until last month. In all honesty, that was a scary step for us to take.
Back in early May 2017, we reached out to a select number of current users who, in the past, had mentioned a desire to 1) have a newer kernel on their VPS, or 2) run Docker on their VPS. We got in touch via email and Intercom (the chat interface that appears on our website and dashboard).
We let these users know about our new Virtuozzo 7-powered servers, which come with a 3.10.0 Linux kernel that’s fully Docker-compatible. In exchange for helping out with our beta test, we offered these users a free server for about two weeks, with the option to continue the service after the fact at a discounted rate.
And in the weeks that followed, we learned a number of critical lessons about not only running a beta, but also how we manage our platform and talk with our users.
Find the right testers
When we launched the beta, we knew we wanted to target users who had previously expressed interest in Docker, in particular, but it was tempting to simply open the floodgates.
After all, if you can handle the capacity, why wouldn’t you want more beta testers, and thus more data?
But not all beta testers are built the same. Most importantly, existing users bring a certain type of “tribal”
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