Mental Adoption Process

How I acclimate to new and exciting technologies.

November 21, 2014 •

Over the years, I’ve noticed a trend in my enthusiasm levels whenever a brand new product, service, concept, or technique is announced. With a whole new class of gadgetry and browser features approaching, I thought it good to document (to myself) my four stages of technological grief.

My process goes from indifference (1), to tepid acceptance (2), to vehement disapproval and cursing of ancestors (3), to gradual acceptance and occasionally even giddy fandom (4).

Stage One is launch day. Usually some petty detail or feature I wished for sours the deal. Flummoxed, I wait a few days and repeat this stage with the next new thing.

Stage Two is where I realize the product/technique/service may have value to someone out there. I could see how someone would use it. Summoning all my empathy, I give it a shaky hand in the air.

Stage Three is particularly ugly. I draft the most scathing of blog posts that shakes the foundation of our industry. I disrupt the so-called “disruptors”! The wake of my blog leaves a trail of blood. People are fired for their insolence! I sit on a throne of skulls! I have been ordained to cast terrible ideas into the fires of hell!! KNEEL BEFORE ZOD!!!

Stage Four… it never ends up that way tho. Given enough time, patience, and a little censorship from coworkers; that polarizing product/concept/technique/etc typically makes it into my menagerie of things I couldn’t live without.

I’ve fallen on this path for lots of things, most notably: the Nintendo Wii, Responsive Web Design, shirts with buttons, and now smart watches.

I think it’s good to realize your own mental adoption process. Are you a neophobic luddite? Great! I don’t recommend that, but maybe you can save yourself some utter disbelief tweets on launch days. Are you a spry, young technophile? Great! Realize not everyone is an instant adopter and lots of people simply aren’t paying attention or just don’t have the time to care.

I’ve found mental adoption models to be wonderful and can even extend to people you don’t actually know as well. One little trick I like to do is map out my favorite tech pundits and their biases. This helps me form my own opinion without falling into their hype machines. It’s a coping mechanism that helps keep the FOMO at bay.