I got a great email yesterday late from a long time friend. She said “love the home automation blogs – but I think you are early.” That is not the first time she has accused me of being early with technology predictions. We have since the first time agreed to disagree on the early or late issue.
Her argument is that I frequently am a early adopter troll. (her word not mine) I asked what an early adopter troll was. She said “Like the trolls on twitter there are some of you that love to play with technology as it is released. You live to try the newest gadget.” I don’t really have an argument for that. So I agreed although I did ask she call me an early technology advocate not a troll. I do have an argument against the troll concept. The trolls on twitter are actually not doing nice things. Early technology adopters are trying new things but don’t impact others so at least we are not trolls!!!!!
She also in her email (once we agreed no troll) pointed out there there are a number of interesting problems in the concepts of early adopters. “you pointed it out in your innovation blogs earlier this year – there is an early adopter bubble that technology hits. What about technologies that never crest that initial bubble?”
I thought about that for a long time. I didn’t really have a good answer frankly. In my law of innovation (#andersenslawofinnovation) I talked about how technologies can get past that early bubble and why the fail before the early bubble. But I hadn’t thought about the failures much other than a passing what could have been.
So projects fail at various stages. In the crowd funding world they can fail to launch – where they do not achieve the funding window and are never done. Or they move to other funding systems and try in different ways. In the world of large companies ideas that could be great game changes often fail in the “we don’t do things that way here” meeting. That’s the meeting where someone has the new way of looking at things and of course they are told “we don’t do it like that.”
Some ideas morph over time into a new concept. Some are cutting edge and once completed they actually generate a number of similar projects. Not stealing but expanding the original idea and in the end driving the cost down.
Other ideas merge with new ideas and create variations of the original idea that suddenly catches on. Everyone has one – and suddenly you move out of the early adopter bubble and into the main stream.
I guess as I sent my email this morning when considering the question about what happens when things don’t even reach the early adopter bubble the answer is in the two buckets (for the most part) above. Creative Technology & Innovation has worked with several campaigns early in the process to help them shape the message and move the solution into the right space. Not ever Kickstarter and Indiegogo project will raise 3 million dollars. But if you get enough to launch then all bets are off.
It in the end is all about getting to the first bubble of technology geeks. After that you have a whisper campaign market (people see the early adopters and in the end if you do a good job people want what they see).!