As an individual who’s on the verge of technology, in terms of news, trends and new products that we see everyday on Kickstarter or on the internet, I always come across people who barely know what technology is about. From an intellectual point of view, regarding the topics we might discuss about tech, it’s the most frustrating thing, when I talk with people who don’t get excited as much as me when innovation and creative people come up with great ideas.
However, those conversations are the most important in the world. People who build devices, such as smartphones or wristbands, are not looking for a degree in technology, because they want to distribute their products on a large scale and aim at anyone. That’s why every single person that I talk to, who hasn’t an interest in technology, is a possible costumer.
In the last two years, when I have started bringing the topic “Glass” within my circles and the people I was meeting, I have never found someone who said “this is it”. What I usually found where people concerned about their privacy and having something on their head that made them look like complete weirdos. A few days ago, I heard another remarkable thought from a friend of mine, “smart watches are not going anywhere, who’s going to wear them?”.
Mosts of the times I tend to be the guy who thinks “these people don’t really understand anything”, but then I reflect and I think that these people are those who have a smartphone, a laptop, a smart tv and even a console; these people are those who should be supposed to buy Glass, the iWatch and even a self driving car, so why are they rejecting a technology that hasn’t even come out yet?
In the case of Glass, they simply don’t want to be called Glassholes, but this is normal. When I was talking about smart watches, the “excuse” was that it could simply be a useless product that extends your smartphone. True, privacy and consumerism are two issues that we have to face. For this reason, we should start wondering why these tech giants are still building these devices if the risk seems to be so high?
These companies know that conformism is at the basis of our world and if the leaders, those who are followed by the crowd, can use their products, they will become successful. The first impact is always risky, but the time will pay back as soon as people understand that these are steps that innovation in technology is forcing them to perform.
If you asked people if they would imagine a world where a large majority of the population was spending their day on a single website, sharing their personal information with their friends, acquaintances and even strangers, everyone would have had the same reaction that people have in front of Glass. Nevertheless, we live in a world where Facebook has become our life.
There is a world market for maybe five computers.
Thirty years later, we can say that there is a market for selling more than five computers in each house. When people see technology and the implications that could bring, they seem to be scared. Change is what scares people. Although they are constantly tracked by organisations and they share everything on the internet, a simple camera on people’s heads can make them say no to Glass before actually using them.
However, when distribution starts to roll out and the first innovators use the product everything changes. The first early adopters are those who are going to convince the first early majority. When you start seeing the people who sorround you with a product, you want to have it, otherwise you will be “excluded” from that group of people.
The diffusion of innovation curve is not a joke. There is a reason why Google has created the explorer program. They wanted to create that 2.5% of people who could start using the product and most important showing it to other people. If that 2.5% is able not to “screw up”, the game will be on. The question is when are those skeptical people going to buy Glass or even a smart watch?
We don’t know, we can’t predict the future. What we know is that they will be buying Glass or similar products with the same features, because that’s where innovation is leading. In order to introduce products that are not yet socially accepted, companies such as Google and Apple will have to follow the diffusion of innovation curve slowly, step by step.
There is no rush to introduce the next big innovation in tech and if Google had organised a massive Glass event, without introducing the product two years beforehand, no one would have bought it. Society is the second player in the game and patience is the only way to win the it.