My Latest Forbes Column – When Should You Buy The New, New Thing?

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My latest column for Forbes has just been posted …

One way technology companies make money is by pushing their latest and greatest gadgets to their most rabid customers—and charging a premium for it for as long as they can.  The question: Do you plunk down early and often to get an edge on competitors who drag their feet? Or, do you hang back and wait for prices to fall–and bugs to appear–before making a move?

Research shows that, for any given innovation life cycle, there are phases of market adoption–that is, when people chose to buy. One well-established breakdown–found in Diffusion Of Innovations, a textbook by Everett Rogers–looks like this:

–2.5% for Innovators (buyers on the “bleeding edge”, who pile in right off the bat)

–13.5% for Early Adapters

–34% for Early Majority

–34% for Late Majority

–16% for Laggards (bargain-bin sifters last to the party)

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0 thoughts on “My Latest Forbes Column – When Should You Buy The New, New Thing?

  1. I believe Geoffrey A. Moore in “Crossing the Chasm”, 1991/2002 had a similar breakdown.

    Geoffrey states that Early Adopters buy in to get a jump on the competition; because they believe this represents a radical “discontinuity” in the way they will get products to market, reduce costs, etc. The Early Majority, though, buy to make productivity improvements to existing processes and are more likely to step in cautiously as to not disrupt their infrastructure.

    So, what does this say about HP’s recent purchase of Palm?

  2. The challenge that seems biggest is not who, where and when to release; rather how to bridge the gap between groups?

    — Should we ask the following? WIFM [what’s in it for me].

    — Should we consider the perception of risk; risk perception may be mediated both by the characteristics of the situation and the characteristics of the viewer. Situations which present a high level of risk for one person may present only low risk for another.

    — Could be to create a paradigm where innovation is a value.

    — Can we create “soon, certain and positive” consequences for all stages of technology adoption?