“When are we going to get something more than just a faster car?”, asked my friend Adam, referencing the famous Henry Ford quote during a recent conversation.
Echoing a number of recent articles, Adam argued that innovation on the web has eroded into a state of simplistic incrementalism. At the time I questioned whether it was an absolute change or a relative increase, resulting from the falling cost of starting a web business.
While the debate of ‘absolute or relative’ is interesting, the result is the same: the web is in a state of incremental innovation.
For the past few months my mind has been cycling on the more interesting question of what does an incremental web mean for technology adoption?
There are monster ideas out there. The disruptive potential of the web remains great. And the web will continue to drive significant change. But if the innovation has evolved into incrementalism, well, how do we get there?
I ask that because if innovation is changing, so too must the makeup of the early-adopter. And if the traditional definition of the early-adopter is changing what happens to the path towards commercialization?
What is the impact on early-adopters of a world of 10,000 start-ups “hoping to draft on the perceived success of a few gorillas?”
Is the best way to innovate towards that game changing technology through single-feature (simplistic) technologies? Or does that create a single-feature product that becomes, at best, boring and, at worst, replicated by 100 clones.
As I reach this point my beer is empty, my new housemates are packing up their instruments after practice, and I just realized I still need to pack for my early morning flight. Goodnight.
Who wants to kick things off?