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Revelation and Hype Cycles

Part 2 - People and Hype Cycles

March 20, 2010

If you've read part 1 of Revelation & Hype Cycles, you're probably wondering what this hype cycle is all about.

It's pretty simple. Obviously, there are 5 segments to it:

  1. It starts with what Gartner called the "technology trigger" - which is nothing more than the "thing" that caught people's attention and got the cycle started (or not if it was a complete flub and didn't even get noticed). At this point - people don't really know what to expect. It's just hoped that someone notices and wants to know more.
  2. Next comes the "peak of inflated expectation". That's where there's a whole lot of interest - probably by people who don't know all that much about the "thing" in question - and before you know it, they expect that it can do everything. Whatever technology problem anyone has - this new "thing" will take care of it. Doesn't matter what the vendor says - or what the material that comes with it says - people just sort of decide that it can do everything.
  3. Following that comes the "trough of disillusionment" - which is when people start to realize that - no, that thing really doesn't do everything. Reality sets in (for the first time). This is a dangerous time for the "thing". If people's opinion of it get too far out of control - it's a pretty quick swing from it can do everything to it can't do anything.
  4. Then - hopefully - comes the "slope of enlightenment". This is where reality sets in for the second time - hopefully, otherwise the "thing" is finished - banished to the scrap heap of good ideas that never quite lived up to expectations, whether they worked or not being irrelevant. This time, reality is more likely to be "real" reality - no wild expectations either way - people know it can't do everything but also realize that it can do something.
  5. Finally, if the "thing" survives this long - it reaches the "plateau of productivity". It has a purpose - people have figured it out - and they like it. All is well, right? Well - not so fast there. It doesn't show on the chart, but Gartner does talk about the very real possibility that this "thing" can become such a routine way of life that people forget what it was all about in the first place. They take it for granted - they don't really remember why they liked it so much before - and the next thing anyone realizes, it's pretty much forgotten about. It's yesterday's "thing" - and now people want today's "thing". No matter that it's not the same - no matter that it isn't as good - it's today's and that's all that counts.

Now there's a few other things to realize about this hype cycle.

I believe that pretty much summarizes the hype cycle. At least it should be enough to understand how I'm going to apply it to Revelation. Since I haven't actually written the rest - and most of the time don't know where these things are going until they get there - I may have to update this page later. If I do - I'll try to remember to put in a note to go back and check it out.

Anyway - time to move on to part 3.