The whole release early, release often mentality is good in theory. When practiced against an impatient audience, it can quickly squash whatever goodwill and coolness factor a start-up can generate. And the process will only feed itself as more start-ups do alpha releases (if alpha is the new beta, what’s the new alpha) and invite-onlyl pre-alpha pre-releases in response to a blogosphere hungry for the Next Cool Thing(tm).
So what’s the solution? Managing expectations can only take you so far. So release early and put on your flack jacket.