Actually this is a really interesting point. I’ve been a thinking a lot lately about the Technology Adoption Life Cycle as far as how as something become more mainstream, there needs to be more evidence, more proof, etc.

Early adopters are willing to connect dots (which may mean making up some of those dots themselves) and forgive some things being broken. Because ‘reliability’ is less important than a yearning to be first/cutting edge.

Many early stage startups are going after early adopters, and may even be composed of them. So they may focus on ‘how to get early adopters to try our stuff’. When you’re just starting out, you’re in a race against the clock to show some type of success before you run out of cash.

Lowest-hanging fruit? Go after users who have less sophisticated requirements and expectations. Use techniques like those in “Hooked” to help them personally feel evolved and willing to continue to engage with your product so you can ‘build the plane while you’re flying it.’

But early adopters are only a teeny tiny part of the market, and their motivating factors to try something are different than the majority of people. Look at Product Hunt: people there are signing up for things that don’t actually help them get any Job Done, *except* feeling like they’re cooler than the mainstream. Hm, so is that an emotional Job? [sarcasm]

I’ve never met a CEO at any meetup I’ve attended. I’ve met early adopters and people who are trying to cobble together new ways to do their (lower case) jobs. They may not have the means to invest in a huge research project to revolutionize the company they work for. But maybe they can tweak the messaging on a landing page, or give current users better progress indicators within the app they work on.

It’s not the “big-I” innovation some of us like to work with. But not every project or team needs that all the time.

I say, let people use training wheels when they need them. At least let them know about the joy of riding a bike, and when the time comes that they want to go on a cross-country tour, they’ll pick the model that’ll help them most under those circumstances.

Sr UX Specialist with Canada Revenue Agency, former web dev and product person. 🔎 Lifelong learner. Unapologetic introvert. Plant-powered marathoner. Cat mom.

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