I could talk for ages about how awesome and valuable the beta process was. We learned so much during the first year when invitations were going out slowly and we were talking to the users of the site about what they wanted every single day. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat — start with something that works, get people in it, and build it together.
I love the way the founder Casey Forbes talks about his Knitting and Crocheting community site, Ravelry. I want our beta process to be just the way he describes his.