I spend quite a bit of time watching various technology stories emerge and I've learnt that you need to develop a couple of skills if you are going to maintain both your focus and sanity.
It is very easy to believe everything that you read and soon you come to realise that:
a. A lot of the breathlessly announced new technologies never see the light of day
b. A lot of progress is incremental and each subsequent release brings an increasing sense of disappointment as products and services approach the boring nirvana of some kind of long term 'steady state' existence
c. How do you pick the winners?
There are a couple of models that I have found really useful over the years, the first is Geoffrey Moore's 'Crossing the Chasm' model which helps to explain why so many products never make it beyond the early adopters and then I came across the Gartner Hype Cycle which I came across through my long term addiction to Wired magazine.
So I'm very curious to what the 2014 edition of the hype cycle contains:
Gartner have actually analysed over 2000 emerging technologies and placed them on this curve and they've been doing it for over 20 years so they have pretty unique depth in this space.
I love this model for several reasons, one is that it makes sorting the wheat from the chaff a lot easier, the second is that I now cynically wonder what the real purpose of a lot of announcements truly is. You know that they are usually about money, When concepts are at the 'innovative trigger' stage it can be about research grants, then attracting angel investors and venture capital, once the delightfully named 'peak of inflated expectations' is reached its often about attracting investors to an IPO or increasingly now part of a 'crowdsourcing' push this is followed by the aptly named 'trough of disillusionment' where it maybe about keeping grumpy investors or bankers on side long enough to reach the golden shores of the 'slope of enlightenment' which lead to the 'plateau of productivity' and its then our money that they're after as consumers.
So what do you think of their picks?