Keeping up on the latest advances in technology has always been my thing. I once had a beeper the size of a pack of cigarettes, and a mobile phone bigger than a shoebox. I’m something of a gadget geek and a wannabe innovator. I like new and shiny. .
You probably haven’t run across the name Everett Rogers in People Magazine. In 1962, Everett Rogers developed a theory for the adoption of innovations.
According to Rogers, innovators are the first individuals to adopt a new innovation, and are often the inventors themselves. Innovators are risk takers with close ties to scientific sources and connections to other innovators. Because of their high tolerance for risk, innovators often adopt technologies that ultimately fail.
Early adopters are the second wave of individuals to adopt an innovation. These individuals are opinion leaders, and realize that early adoption will help maintain their position as central communicators.
The early majority tends to be slower to adopt an innovation. They have less contact with early adopters and seldom hold positions of opinion leadership.
The late majority approaches innovation with a high degree of skepticism and waits to adopt until after the innovation has been widely embraced by society. This group displays very little opinion leadership.
Laggards, the last to adopt an innovation, are basically dinosaurs. These individuals, who tend to be advanced in age, show almost no opinion leadership and are typically resistant to change.
Early adopters are willing to camp out overnight, wait in line, and spend lots of money for an item that is not ready for prime time. Many new technologies have flaws that should be resolved before you make a commitment.
One example of early adoption is using a browser that’s still in beta. I can tell you firsthand, this is a painful process, yet once you go beta, you never go back. The newest browser lures you in with enticing bells and whistles, but has the stability of a toddler just learning to walk. This frustrating scenario involves plenty of reboots.
Influencers are going to go New and Shiny. That’s what they do. They are the pavers of the road and we thank them for that.
But unless your business or job requires you to be on the cutting edge, I’d recommend that most people wait until the early majority begins to adopt a new technology. That way, you get to check out the new and shiny thing without the hassles, headaches, and instability. Let others learn from the mistakes, and then you can benefit from their efforts.