The Name

Enduring Beta“, or perhaps, “Eβ”, can mean a few different things, which is why I like it.

The “Beta” primarily references the software beta. Most software has a development cycle that occurs in stages. “Alpha” are early test phases. “Beta” is more complete, with developers working out bugs and finishing content. Eventually after that the product is released.

I write software as my job, but this interpretation is also close to me through gaming. When video games update, they sometimes fundamentally change the world, or add new items or characters. It can be a radical, important shift when a game world you’re invested in, one you’ve traversed, is altered. While I played Team Fortress 2 regularly, for instance, user-made maps would be under development, and for each new alpha or beta release I would explore with friends and notice incremental changes, modified scenery, and restructuring. This gave me an intimacy with being subject to this kind of development.

So in that sense, “Beta” alludes to being in a state of incompleteness, of still needing work, of always changing. You can apply the label to the individual, recognizing that one is never fully functional, that there is always more to learn, and that one is constantly evolving. Or you can apply the term to the outside forces of society, the world, and the universe, which are in flux, and which need to be understood and adapted to. Both interpretations can apply to the malleable phrase “Enduring Beta”.

As a bonus, one can also read it as a reclaiming of the hyper-masculine terms “alpha-” and “beta-male”, which I find to be incredible facile and stupid terms when used earnestly. Kumail Nanjiani, a comedian I like who also hosts the gaming podcast The Indoor Kids, titled his first stand-up special “Beta Male” around the same time I made this website, as well.

Unfortunately, I learned that the first fish my family had while I was in school is called a betta, with two “t”s. So that one doesn’t apply as well to the title as I once thought! Poor little fishy.