As published 10 years ago in Advisor:
Forte’s Hierarchy of Technology Adoption
Whenever a new technology comes out it goes through phases of adoption. When the new giga-wiz bang techno gadget comes out it follows a predictable pattern. The same is true for technologies such as XML and other Java.
The hierarchy is this:
· The Geeks
· Gadget Men
· Mainstream Society
· Mom and Grandma
The Porn industry adopts technology first. If you are a uber geek, you need to get into porn. When I was CTO at Zagat during the .COM boom, a dirty little secret of all CTO’s was that we watched the Porn industry very carefully. Porn is responsible for every technical innovation on the internet in the last 10 years. Credit Card transactions, micropayments, high speed access, chat, video conferencing, just to name a few.
Next (and sometimes simultaneously) comes the black market. They are the next to adopt. This is not just crime syndicates or terrorists like al Qaeda using the latest IP blocking technology, this is kids downloading movies on bit torrent as well.
After the porn and hackers cut their teeth, the Geeks pick up the new technology. These are the guys that understand the fundamentals of technologies and want the new toys and tools and are willing to risk the blue screen of death to get it.
You know who you are, the early adopters. You must have the plasma TV or new Bluetooth PDA. You will spend anything to get it, no matter how much you are already in debt.
After the Gadget boys have worked through the kinks, Apple or Sony will make it easy for the rest of society. This is usually when the wives of Gadget men stop complaining. Prices come way down at this point as well.
Mom and Grandma
When technical neophytes adopt a new technology, or have even heard of it (my mom knows about RSS) then it has truly been adopted and is as standard as a telephone.
Let's follow MP3s.
MP3s are “motion pictures group level 3” files. Digital audio to go with digital video. Porn was first to adopt this over 10 years ago!.
Then came the illegal-Napster comes to mind!
Then the geeks like me, we encoded MP3 manually and had the first players. This was about 1999. A few years later with Creative and others we got the Gadget men on board.
When the iPod (with its mini, shuffles, etc) and ultimately iTunes the mainstream society adopted and the price points came down and the attention was huge. Lastly, my Dad has an MP3 player, so even Mom, Dad and Grandma have adopted!