There are well established descriptions of how people react to new technologies.
In any line of business it’s always worth identifying which new technology group you fall into. Innovators are the brave pioneers, early adopters are the perhaps even more adventurous second wave who make an early leap of faith, and then, assuming a technology gains mainstream traction, there come the early and late majorities before we encounter the Luddite tendency known as the Laggards.
This diffusion of innovations – as it is known – can help identify where we stand and where potential collaborators or clients may also stand. There aren’t any party political lines dividing the groups described above but you will have a hard time trying to get a late majority type to buy your cutting edge technology if they haven’t seen it working somewhere else first. It’s the sort of basic identification that can save a whole load of misdirected marketing and sales efforts.
Below we look at online casinos, virtual reality and bitcoin to discover if a new technology is worth investment at an early stage:
Gambling is not something new, and neither is the idea of online casinos. But the way casino games are presented online could be considered a new technology.
Due to the history of gambling and the way it captures the imaginations of entrepreneurs and investors, online casinos were always going to be a rousing success. Early adopters in online casinos made some good money, however, waiting for the technology to develop to the point that gaming online is just as fun as going to Monte Carlo could make an even bigger impact. In the past the games were limited, now you can play blackjack, roulette and slot games live against other players just like being in a casino.
In fact, as of 2017 online casinos are worth $45 billion and are predicted to increase to $94 billion by 2024. You can make and early leap of faith, but investing later can be much more profitable.
Virtual reality (VR) is in the fairly early stages of development. However, it has been pushed out into the world with games consoles and Facebook investing heavily.
Offering a 360 degree, interactive, image is valuable for many industries and by the end of 2022 is said to be worth over $33 billion. The problem in making content for VR is that is takes a long time, so having faith in this new technology could have great benefits in the long run. Over time the price of VR will come down, with a lack of content and expensive hardware VR is certain to make an impact in the future.
Clearly the potential for the bitcoin project hinges on the movement of bitcoin from the market’s early adoption stage into the mainstream, majority position. In conventional entrepreneurial models this is a far from predictable transition. For every technology that takes off, there are others that fall into redundancy very early in the process – usually never to be heard of again.
The unpredictability of bitcoin has made it an investment that many investors struggle with. After a huge explosion in value investors have scrambled to invest in the next bitcoin in the hope that they will strike gold once again.
But in the digital realm, generation Y’s uncompromised immersion in ever-changing technologies means that the process of moving across the different populations of technology use has been radically accelerated. At the same time, the ability to scale up digital technologies to a global reach is easily achieved.
The idea of a virtual ‘cryptocurrency’ may have the laggards hiding under their beds, but for generation Y the idea of a currency that only exists as a line of code is just another facet of an increasingly virtual world.
Deciding when to take the plunge – be it in bitcoin, online casinos or any other new technology – is a matter of entrepreneurial judgement.