What Really Happens With Idea Adoption

Seth Godin has a good post today on idea adoption. He calls it you’re not a slot, you choose a slot. It’s an important point:

wikipedia technology adoption life cycle

Individuals choose a slot based on what sort of leadership or risk or followership behavior makes them happy right now. Early adopters and nerds like to go first. But some people are early when it comes to shoes, or to mystery novels, or records, while others adopt early when it comes to political ideas or restaurants.

Most of the time, most of us choose to be in the slot of mass. The masses wait to see the positive reviews, or they monitor the bestseller lists. The masses know they have plenty of time, that they’ll get around to it when they get a chance, and mostly, they are driven by what their peers (the early adopters, the ones who keep track of this stuff) tell them. “Why waste time and money on the wrong thing,” they argue, with some persuasion. So they wait for proof. Social proof or statistical proof.

I think it’s also a matter of which market, which product. For example, I’m sure I’m very early adopter on high-tech products, even if a bit less so now than I was 20 or 30 years ago; but I’m late on novels, television, and movies. What about you?

More important, Seth’s nice sense of timing. I sense how right he is with this, but I hadn’t seen it as clearly:

The glitch in the system is that many marketers obsess only about the launch. They put their time and money and effort into the first week on sale, and then run to work on the next thing, when in fact, the mass market, those that choose to wait for more than, “it’s new!” haven’t decided to take the leap yet.

That’s so true. And so easy to forget. Great post.


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