March 18, 2011

Early adopters: losers or heroes?

When a new technology, gadget or device, which I will refer to as "thingy" from here on, comes into existence, it must manage to enter the hype cycle. Otherwise it won't get noticed. It's creators will need to convince other people to use this new shiny thingy. I am not talking about beta testing. We are already past that stage. The thingy needs early adopters. The thingy needs an army of zealous thingy evangelists.

So, the thingy's makers - or rather, the thingy's investors - need to convince a fairly large group of people to use the thingy and tell the world how incredible the thingy is and how it has changed their lives. People like that usually are not hard to find at all. They are always there, on the lookout for new, trendy coolness with which they can differentiate themselves from the masses: the trendy people. They simply need to be among the first adopters of the thingy, because being cool and trendy is their sole purpose in life. Sounds pretty pathetic when you put it like that, doesn't it?

Well, they don't care what we think of them. The are on a mission to show off their state-of-the-art thingies on any occasion that gives them high visibility. The more, the better. They crave being at the center of everybody's attention. They have this intense desire to be admired for their unworldly coolness. That desire will grow ever stronger, until being ├╝bercool is all that matters, all that drives them. That is when they have turned hard core.

The hard core early adopters lead very busy lives attending parties and visiting conferences, fairs and exhibitions all over the globe. They may very well still live with their parents technically, but also have appartments in New York, Paris, Tokio or any combination. They sleep in a business class airplane chair and live out of a suitcase most of the time, but somehow manage to look perpetually fresh and dashing.

Only during the Christmas holidays the ├╝bercool get to relax a couple of days and visit their friends and relatives and shower them with the obligatory, promotional presents, hoping to win some souls here too. These people live the fastest and shortest but coolest lives, while driving our precious economy at the same time. Without these people, new thingies wouldn't ever get adopted. Without these people, Apple would not even exist. Early adopters are practically heroes.

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