For those who have had heard me speak recently either at conferences or in person, I’ve been talking a lot about the Adoption Curve. The adoption curve may be more important than ever due to the economic environment that we are facing. Adoption of a product and the associated business model by society is more important than the innovation curve, as the financing market for startups is tough at this moment and survival of the fittest is in full swing.
Everett Rogers created the theory, Diffusion of Innovations, which is a theory of how, why, and at what rate new ideas and technology spread through cultures. Rogers introduced it in his 1962 book, Diffusion of Innovations, writing that “Diffusion is the process by which an innovation is communicated through certain channels over time among the members of a social system.
I’ve created a diagram to illustrate my thoughts:
There is a delta between the Line of Innovation (LoI) and the Line of Adoption (LoA). The closer your product/service is towards the Line of Innovation, the harder it is going to be to survive today. The LoA is where the mainstream audience is, and with this audience, comes the bulk of potential dollars.
Too many entrepreneurs innovate and create some wicked technology but don’t account for the adoption line and the market today. In our economic environment, cash is king today and as I assess startups, I’m looking for them to be closest to the Line of Adoption.
As you build your startup or create a new service within your digital media empire, assess where your new product/service falls and do everything in your power to have it fall closer to the adoption line than the innovation line.
Additionally, it takes time for innovation to be adopted. The delta that exists between the LoA and the LoI is essentially time. Every day that we turn the lights on and our employees come to work, we are spending money (sometimes a lot, sometimes a little), so make sure:
Time to Adoption < Money in Bank.
P.S. I think the post title is misleading because this should not be more important than ever. Every startup should build close to the adoption curve, rather than far out towards the far edge of innovation.