There are some good reasons to be a stealth company or to launch a product in beta. For some companies, going "stealth" is a good way to keep plans secret until they're really launched. A much better reason is that the product isn't fully formed, and if word gets out too early, it could end up confusing the eventual positioning of the product. For beta products, it's often a good way to get early feedback before a product is really ready for prime time. However, in both cases, it seems like companies are overdoing the use of both "stealth" and "beta" offerings -- and often it's much more for marketing reasons than anything else. Having something that's in "stealth" or "beta" stage is being used as a way to drum up interest by sounding exclusive or exciting. As some are noting, what this really means, is that "our only competitive advantage is surprise" -- which should, but doesn't, scare away some of the over eager investors. On that note, we'll join with TheStalwart in calling the plague of such stealth offerings GINGERvitis, after the original name of the Segway when it was all just a huge rumor that everyone was speculating about. GINGERvitis can be associated with the following character trait: companies that "developed products which wildly captured the public's imagination until the moment the products were unveiled."
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