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October 23, 2012 / becca shayne

Innovators & Early Adopters

Ever since reading The Tipping Point (published 2000) by Malcolm Gladwell (which I read a year after reading the Steve Jobs Biography (published 2011) by Walter Isaacson), I keep having conversations about innovators and early adopters. I find this passage particularly relevant based on today’s announcement by Apple, which spawned several strings of conversations with my friends about selling various Apple products in order to make room for the newest latest and greatest beautiful enticing Apple products.

“In the language of diffusion research, the handful of farmers who started trying hybrid seed at the very beginning of the 1930s were the Innovators, the adventurous ones. The slightly larger group who were infected by them were the Early Adopters. They were the opinion leaders in the community, the respected, thoughtful people who watched and analyzed what those wild Innovators were doing and then followed suit. Then came the big bulge of farmers in 1936, 1937, and 1938, the Early Majority and the Later Majority, the deliberate and the skeptical mass, who would never try anything until the most respected of farmers had tried it first. They caught the seed virus and passed it on, finally, to the Laggards, the most traditional of all, who see no urgent reason to change. If you plot that progression on a graph, it forms a perfect epidemic curve–starting slowly, tipping just as the Early Adopters start using the seed, then rising sharply as the Majority catches on, and falling away at the end when the Laggards come straggling in.”
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