Jim Letourneau's Blog

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Re: Reconsidering Gartner's Cycle of Hype

Seth Godin did a brief blog post about the Hype Cycle today. His take...

...most of the things we now take for granted (cell phones, tweeting, insulated windows, email) didn't follow this curve at all.

In fact, just about every innovation I know of has to make it through the wilderness before it gets anywhere close to a hype cycle.

On the surface, he makes a good case, I'm not sure that ultrasonic toothbrushes ever went through a hype cycle. On the other hand, satellite phones might have been hyped. Read Jim Cramer's 1999 experience with one here - very funny!

However, I'm liking the book Mastering the Hype Cycle: How to Choose the Right Innovation at the Right Time. 

An innovation rarely delivers on its promise when people are most excited about it.

I do recall businesses that were set up to finance cell phone purchases that didn't last very long, very poor coverage, and shoebox sized phones that were very expensive. 

Mastering the Hype Cycle has a section entitled Reality: The Long Slow Road to Value which appears to overlap Godin's "wilderness". 

Many innovations are still hyped. Businesses struggle to kick start and accelerate the adoption curve. Most businesses want faster.

Other innovations do manage to spread on their own without the benefit of excessive hype. I'm thinking apps. I'm often delighted by them, they change my life for the better and I am not sold them. My downside risk is usually just a few minutes of my time. 

One thing I do know is that hype is alive and well on the TSX Venture exchange and you won't regret having some knowledge about hype and promotion if you invest there.

I'm re-reconsidering the Hype Cycle but I'll finish reading the book - it is useful to me.