In this second episode of the Kurt and Kenny Podcast, the bosses talk tech adoption. When is it a good idea to stay on the cutting edge of technology, and when is early adoption just a risky gamble?
Kenny is a self-professed bleeding edge kind of guy. He’s first in line at Apple store when a new product launches, and was one of the first in Las Vegas to get a camera drone for marketing use.
Kurt, being just a tiny bit older than Kenny, is usually seen as an early adopter by his business peers. Compared to Kenny’s tech habits, though, Kurt looks like he’s late to the party. He prefers to take a little bit of time to evaluate the potential of a tech tool, and he’s not always looking for something new.
Here’s a quick summary their discussion in Episode 2: How sharp is the cutting edge?
What’s an Early Adopter?
An early adopter is someone who jumps in earlier than most, whether it’s adopting a new technique, joining a new network, or buying new tech.
Early adoption isn’t just an action. It’s a lifestyle.
These are the people that live on the front lines, and their quick adoption is a type of cultural statement. The cutting edge is who they are, and they’re always looking for the next thing to try. Early adopters hunger for something better, smarter, and cool.
As a company culture, staying on the bleeding edge helps a business stand out in the right ways.
NeONBRAND’s Early Adoption History
The very genesis of NeONBRAND was an exercise in early adoption, as the company was founded to provide social media marketing before anybody even realized that social media marketing was going to be a thing.
At the same time Kenny was founding NeONBRAND to offer social media and other digital marketing services, Kurt was grudgingly starting a Facebook account. In Kurt’s own words:
I was laughing at the guys who were saying “social media is going to change the marketing world.” You were saying “social media marketing is going to change the world.”
But that doesn’t tell the whole story.
As a business consultant, Kurt is all for adopting new tech. Kurt and Kenny met because Kurt was developing an app to help eye care professionals better run their businesses, and most people working with optometrists and ophthalmologists aren’t building apps in the meantime.
Kurt has found that tech can improve profit margins, but it can also be a bad decision when the tech adoption is too far ahead of the business and the market. It’s important to keep a mindset for adoption, and to also make intelligent, data-driven decisions.
Kenny’s cool camera drone was an example of tech adoption that didn’t necessarily pay off. It was really cool…until a bunch of regulations got slammed on drone flight and it basically became illegal to fly it anywhere. NeONBRAND spent a lot of time and money on drone photography and videography when nobody else was doing it, and now, nobody is doing it period.
Still, the drone wasn’t a total loss. Did the very expensive camera drone produce a return on investment? No, not really. What it did, though, was help solidify NeONBRAND’s brand reputation.
How to Adopt the Right Technology
If early adoptions don’t pay off, it’s time to ask:
Did we adopt the wrong technology, or did we adopt the right technology in the wrong way?
Whether or not you adopt early or late doesn’t matter so much. What matters more is that you execute on any of the tools and techniques you choose.
Beware shiny object syndrome. New stuff that augments your existing tech is probably okay, while constantly updating and replacing your tools with the next big thing will undermine your efforts. Stay the course long enough to let your strategy mature within your organization, and be open to improvements along the way.