Wednesday, June 4, 2014

How to be a happy early adopter

(here's a note I posted on RCG, talking about the Taranis.  I think it applies generally to a lot of things.  I had forgotten I wrote it... Thanks to Scott Page for reminding me!)

If you're on this thread, you're probably enthusiastic about a product that most of world hasn't heard of. You are, in fact, an early adopter! Here's a few tips that will make your early adopterhood a much more pleasant experience, both for yourselves and others. This is based on my own experience in being an Open Source early adopter (since 1981!). Share and enjoy!

You are going to be frustrated.

If you've used a Taranis (or, reaching out, OpenTX on a Turnigy), you've experienced the joy. You're going to be surprised when other people don't automatically share your bliss.

People will not have heard of the thing you love.

To many people, FrSky is either nothing, or some no-name Chinese manufacturer. For some odd reason, they don't watch Bruce, but instead get most of their information in bits of chopped up tree material delivered monthly to their home. To the extent they've heard of ordering stuff off the Internet it's a bad idea, a perilous way of purchasing items of dubious quality.

People will be skeptical of the thing you love.

Again, if you're in the know, you realize that FrSky is incredibly high quality. I'm not talking "high quality considering the price," I mean "high quality." Radio format wise, it's equivalent or superior to all of its competitors.

But, people don't know that. And they're suspicious of the low price -- how can something cheap be equally as good as something expensive?

Part of this is an education problem. Used to, extra features needed extra electronics. Now all manufacturers buy the same chips in bulk, and these are the chips the consumer electronics market has pushed down to incredibly low prices.

A new generation of consumers will understand this intuitively. Some people need to be educated about this. A certain percentage of those people will not get it, and you have to learn to accept it.

As has been attributed to various physicists, it doesn't happen that people who disbelieve in your theory change their mind, it's more that they all die off.

They're not necessarily evil, or corporate shills for competitors, or dumb, or intentionally intransigent. See the next point.

If you act crazy, people will think the thing you love attracts weirdos.

There's a certain amount of tribal enthusiasm that indicates a new thing is really a breakthrough. But you can't be impatient and crazy when people ask about it.

Examples of this craziness abound in the computer world. I would mention an example, but I don't wan't to get the mail. (executive summary: "WE'RE NOT CRAZY, YOU REALLY ARE A MORON IF YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND WHY OUR THING IS BETTER")

In particular, don't tell them that they are representative of any of the attributes mentioned above (no matter how much it seems they are!) or they will not be happy talking to you.

Be patient. The rules have changed, but people don't know it yet.

The personal electronics industry (especially smartphones) really have changed the rules of manufacturing small electronics devices. $5 for a 32 bit CPU or 6DOF gyro/accelerometer chip is an astonishing thing.

People not plugged in still don't understand this. Especially when they're somewhat technical but not up to date, when the functionality of either of those chips would have been in the hundreds of dollars.

You will prevail. Or maybe not!

If you're rooting for Taranis and FrSky, I think in a couple of years you'll look back fondly on this "we few we happy few" days and be a little sad that everyone takes FrSky equipment for granted.

Or if not, because there's been something even better come across!

Someday, you will be the old guard.

And finally prepare yourself... there will be a day when there is something better, and you'll probably be one of the old clueless SOBs hanging around wanting the youngsters to prove their new-fangled toy is anywhere near as good as your precious Taranis which you've been using for the past 20 years.

Submitted for your approval... if you don't like it, the Internet will cheerfully refund your money!

blogidx = {"idx":["philosophy","rambling","idle chitchat"]};

No comments:

Post a Comment