The first kind manifests itself in hypomanic pursuit and evangelization of anything just out of the gate. Examples include using services like Foursquare with absolutely no idea why. Although the tool may have its uses, the early adoption phase tends to be saturated with mimicked obsession.
The second kind is characterized by a complete lack of awareness of what’s going on in the world. Examples include companies that never heard of “a Twitter” until Chad in Corporate Communications discovers that some fourteen year old kid has been impersonating the company on Twitter for years.
You see, it’s easy to do one of two extreme things when it comes to technological evolution: 1) keep your eyes glaring over shiny new objects or 2) close them to what’s happening around you.
Living in the echo chamber of early adoption and gazing onto shiny new objects is a lot like looking into bent mirrors: the objects are duller than they appear.
This is why so many early adopters have such a hard time convincing the laggards.
So when you walk into C-suite carrying what you think is a shining ball of light, they see something far duller. It’s hard to illuminate minds with something that doesn’t shine in their eyes.
The true sheen of a shiny object is somewhere between how you perceive it and how laggards do.
In fact, laggards have the advantage of watching you make a fool of yourself.
Today’s technologies and media evolve with such speed, that credibility won’t be based on adopting early. It will be earned by those with the speedy wisdom to break away from the crowd.
When driving down the road of innovation, never forget: shiny new objects are duller than they appear.
And never assume that the laggards are duller than you. That’s your blind spot. 🙂