The Perils of Being an Early Adopter

How many times have you seen a new technology emerge and jumped to be the first in line to get it? How many social networks have you joined in beta to say that you got to be one of the select few to use it first? Early adopters are a rare breed that love nothing more than being the first ones to have or do something. But sometimes that comes at a price. Here’s why.

Technology changes at an incredibly rapid pace. If you were one of the first people to buy an iPhone, you know what I’m talking about. There have been lots of updates for the phone, and you’ve even gone through the first phases of iPhone applications. Sure, some may like seeing the changes as the come, but many find it annoying that they can’t just have it work flawlessly all the time. Oh yeah, and remember when they dropped the price by $100 and told you that you could only spend the refund in Apple stores?

Change (for better or worse) is inevitable. This is obviously going to happen no matter what, yet I often find that the early adopters are the most resistant to change. We always like things “the way they used to be”. Take Twitter as an example. This past weekend, Twitter saw an explosion of new users, and also an explosion of spam. (And if you noticed, most people were pissed). According to The Social Times, Twitter is also starting to experiment with advertising “tweets”, which makes other upset. Come on, they have to make money somehow! It’s as if the early users of the site feel like victims of a foreign invasion. Just remember, there will almost always be growth. Get used to it.

There will always be dissent (see above). Many early adopters seem to think that they know what is best for their current adoption because they got to see it at its “purest” form. The problem is that most of us don’t know what is best. Therefore, people argue about it, and sometimes quite publicly. “It needs this feature!” they say. “No more spam!” they cry. Just let the changes pan out, and if it turns out that they were for the worse, then we can start to dissent. Until then, just ride the wave.

Are you an early adopter of something? Have you found these same problems? Let me know what you think!

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