Letters of Mass Construction

Early Adopters


Had an interesting tiny conversation with someone on Twitter the other day (I say tiny like it could be anything but tiny. It is Twitter after all). What sparked my interest was someone poking fun at early adopters of the iPad now that a new iPad is on the horizon. It really got me thinking about the fact it is a fairly common practice to make fun of people who jump on a new technology bandwagon.

When I bought my iPhone several years ago I can remember the huge wave of derision towards so called Apple Geeks. This is not a practice limited to Apple, it tends to happen in any new adoption. I imagine there were people giving their neighbors shit about that new fangled contraption the telephone when it first came out. I mean who wouldn’t be put off by having a conversation with someone who wasn’t there.

Here’s the thing though. Without early adopters there are no new products. There are no new markets. Early adopters are the people who show companies they are onto something. It isn’t like the iPad was the first tablet. It was just the first successful tablet. Now they are everywhere. I have had people tell me they were waiting for the second iPad because then Apple would iron out all the kinks. I am totally okay with that concept but there is no second iPad if a whole bunch of people don’t jump on board.

I admit to have been burned a few times buying the first round of a product. I try to base my purchases on the company making it and if the product does something new and interesting. Something which would make me want to own it right away. I bought Apple’s new wireless hard drive a few years ago because I have a lot of Apple computers and I like the idea of them all backing up wirelessly to one drive without me worrying about it. I trust Apple and it was fairly inexpensive.

It was a complete brick. The most useless piece of technological garbage I have ever owned. I hated it from the moment I plugged it in until the moment I became overwhelmed with the desire to smash it with a hammer. I don’t even want to talk about the disaster that was my experience with the Xbox 360 (although to be fair the Xbox hardware sucked early and late).

The iPad on the other hand is a completely different story. I bought it because I thought it would change the way I read comics, it did. I was fairly certain it would be a great movie player on trips, it has. I can read ebooks from every company that sells them. I type my blog on it. Soon my writing program will be on the iPad and I will write my novel on it. I haven’t used my PSP or my Nintendo DS at all since buying my iPad because it is a great game machine. It has almost completely replaced my laptop. In short, I have loved it and don’t regret at all being an early adopter.

Now, I admit there are people out there who buy every piece of technology they can get their hands on just to say they have it. Some of them just like toys and some of them make you want to punch them in the skull with their over the top smugness. It doesn’t change that all of them are important. It is the reason none of my students know what a Betamax is or a Laserdisc. It is why I have a Blu-Ray player instead of whatever the hell that other format was called.

You buy a new technology early you win some and you lose some (my greatest loss was the Sega Dreamcast. I still maintain it was far superior when compared to the Playstation or Nintendo). We shouldn’t tease early adopters though. If you are one of those people who likes to wait (and sometimes I am) then you should thank early adopters for sorting out all the products so that you don’t have to waste your money on the losing technology.

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