from Marketing Memetics, by Michael Taylor
Memes spread by leaping from brain to brain – a ‘virus of the mind’. Like their biological counterparts, who they manage to infect makes a big difference to their success. Viruses can’t spread if everyone around the host is taking precautions. Some people are open to new ideas, whereas others are extreme sceptics who avoid change. They rarely travel in the same circles. Bridging that gap are early adopters, who co-mingle with innovators, and spread infectious new ideas to the general population.
When buying a new computer, most people read reviews or ask a friend who’s “good with that kind of thing” – they don’t contact start-ups to get access to their beta. Better to buy it off the shelf when all the bugs have been worked out. In the U.S. only 3.8% of families don’t own a computer. Eventually a successful idea permeates society and even laggards can’t live without. This diffusion pattern forms an ‘S-curve’ shape: initial slow growth goes exponential as the idea gains mainstream adoption, then flattens out when the market reaches saturation.
Once the ‘chasm’ is crossed, and the ‘hype cycle’ dies down, usefulness is all that’s left. Useful ideas get remembered and recorded, disadvantageous ideas are actively forgotten. Occasional technology leaps forward and old ideas get reinvented. The rapid growth phase begins again, on a new S-curve. Incumbents who evolved to fill the existing ecological niche, find it more profitable to avoid change, until it’s too late. The disrupters become the disrupted.
5 Trends Emerge in the Gartner Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2018
Cultural change requires early adopters
Diffusion of Innovations Theory
DIGITAL DISRUPTION S-CURVE & CHEAT SHEET
Facebook viral marketing: When and why do apps “jump the shark?”
Gartner hype cycle
Percentage of Households With At Least One Computer
Richard Dawkins on the internet's hijacking of the word 'meme’
What Does Disruptive Growth Look Like?