As I was reading about the newest technology coming out of CES 2014 (including a toothbrush that critiques your brushing technique), I began to think about what it really means to be an early adopter. What are the risks vs. the rewards?
We’re excited to experiment with our shiny new iBeacons and be some of the first to try new ways to incorporate infinity augmented reality into just about anything. It may seem innovative and “cool”, but what is the real benefit of being an early adopter? Why would anyone risk their time and hard-earned money just to be one of the first to try the latest app, social network or digital currency?
- Because perspective shifts. Your role changes from observer to participant. The reality of what is possible or whether the newest gadget or service is a good fit for you, your client, or your organization won’t be entirely uncovered until you’ve committed in some form or fashion (e.g. time, , experimentation, money).
- To be a pioneering partner. As an agency, when we stay out ahead of technology, our clients will have the benefit of being able to decide whether they want to partner with us as pioneers, or to let us equip them with the knowledge needed to become “fast followers”.
- For a competitive advantage. If we do it right, we gain a significant competitive advantage over our competition
- To have a voice and become an influencer. Early suppliers are most likely still figuring out all the ins and outs of the technology as well. This opens the door for collaboration and partnerships with the people who literally have everything at stake, and are the most committed to making sure it’s successful.
To be sure, there is a component of investing in cutting-edge technologies that carries risk. Undoubtedly, some technologies will fail. Some may evolve or change direction mid-stream and no longer serve the purpose that originally made us so excited . However, the real advantage to becoming an early adopter is the unique blend of insight gained into the ever-changing world of technology, and the benefit it has for our clients.