Women Behind Betabound: Emily Hossellman

In this final installment of our Women Behind Betabound series, we wanted to introduce you to Emily Hossellman. Emily has been the Marketing Director of Centercode (the company behind Betabound) for the past four years. Since joining, Emily has helped triple the size of Centercode and currently manages a team of five talented female marketers.

Besides being the sole female director at Centercode, Emily is also a new mom and public speaker on all things related to women in tech. This, combined with her expert knowledge of beta testing, has positioned Emily as an exemplary role model for the women at Centercode. We wanted to share her thoughts on women in tech, beta testing, and the unique role moms play in this space.

Emily Hossellman

Q: What is the biggest stereotype about beta testers you’ve encountered – particularly female testers?
A: The only stereotype that should exist about testers is that they’re passionate about the products they use and own. Unfortunately, there’s an assumption that women aren’t as good as male testers because they aren’t as technical, but there are two major problems with this. First, women are amazing at using tech products. Second, the point of beta testing is to get users with a range of technical skills that represent a product’s target market. So thinking women can’t be beta testers is really a misunderstanding of what a beta test is and the role it can play in a product’s success.

Q: How do you encourage women to become Betabounders?
A: I usually promote the community side of beta testing when I’m talking with women. Community spirit is an interest that many women share, and it’s just as applicable in the tech landscape. I think the collaborative nature of beta testing appeals to women since it’s all about working with product developers and testers to make the products women already use even better. Testing is a chance to have an impactful role in tech, which is an opportunity many women are intrigued by.

Q: What about women makes them good beta testers?
A: Women are really detail-oriented, which is the perfect skill for giving feedback on a beta product. Product developers want to answer the how, why, and what do you feel questions regarding usage of their product, and women are really good at painting that picture in descriptive terms. Also, women flourish in collaborative environments. They’re good at contributing their own ideas and building on others’ ideas in terms of bug reports, etc.

Q: As a mom yourself, what benefits do you think beta testing can bring to other moms and their unique perspectives?
A: Technology is creeping into a lot of places it wasn’t before — like baby wearables and kitchen gadgets. Women control a lot of their household’s purchasing power. Since smart tech is coming into a lot of products that moms use in their day-to-day, they can offer a lot of insight into the value of these new tech products.

Moms are incredibly busy, and are always looking for a way to make their lives easier. Product developers understand this and want to determine if their beta products are actually increasing a household’s efficiency or just generating friction. Tech can benefit moms’ lives by making things easier, but a lot of product developers are stumbling on how they can offer new benefits. So moms are the ultimate lifehackers in that regard, which is why their input in a beta test is so important.

Also, moms won’t sugarcoat things. If a product isn’t working the way a mom expects or needs it to, they won’t tiptoe around that honest feedback. And moms are great at juggling — which is a good skill for beta testers in terms of integrating a new beta product into their lives. Plus, testing is all about being flexible with a product developers’ ever-pivoting testing goals, and moms are naturally adaptable and able to roll with the punches.

Q: How can women have a bigger voice in product development?
A: There’s a stereotype that men are more interested in tech than women. Tech is permeating everything in our lives. Because women control a lot of the purchasing power in homes, women will take a huge role in the tech purchasing decisions in these new product spaces. Therefore, companies need to make sure they’re building for today’s full market of primary users — which is more and more so women.

Generally, women are less likely to raise their hand and say, “I demand this feature or solution from a product in my life.” Beta testing ensures women’s voices are heard. In doing so, developers get a snapshot of their complete product market, even if women aren’t actively raising their hands.

Emily’s professional knowledge of all things tech and beta, and her personal experience as a female leader, public speaker, and new mom, definitely make her a standout female role model at Centercode. We hope you enjoyed reading Emily’s insights, as well as those of Aleksandra, our testers, and beta managers as we conclude our Women Behind Betabound series. If you have any questions or comments for Emily, please leave them in the comments section below so we can continue this conversation!

Missed the first post of this series? Read it now!