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The Innovation Curve & The Hype Cycle
The Innovation Curve & The Hype Cycle - 03 June 2022
The Innovation Curve
& The Hype Cycle

a modern-day take on
‘The Tortoise and the Hare’

How can we identify and avoid meme technologies?

An R&D company challenged an early-stage company to a race: who could get acquired for more than a billion dollars first? The R&D company went through a long, iterative process. Minimum-viable products were created, tested with users, and then sent back for revision. Meanwhile, the early-stage company decided they could circumvent the entire development cycle. Instead of building a product, they built an idea and used social media to create hype around it. Whether the product existed or not, they could show a large number of people wanted it.

So, who wins this race?

In ‘The Tortoise and the Hare’, the hare is so confident that he’ll win the race he chooses to take a nap halfway through, only to wake up to the tortoise slowly plodding past the finish line.

The race is a bit more complicated outside the world of fables. Some hype technologies will win the large valuations and get acquired by companies eager to accelerate their company. But true innovation takes time and patience for endless iterations. And adoption of innovative technologies takes even longer, as seen in the classic “innovation curve.”

The Innovation Curve vs The Hype Cycle

The Innovation Curve vs The Hype Cycle

source: Harbor Research

Harbor recently sat down with Matthew Smith, CEO and founder of Fathym, a micro frontends platform for delivering future-proof web projects and applications, to talk about the lessons large companies can learn from startups on innovation, how to avoid overly hyped meme technologies, and the technology trends he’s most excited about.

Be sure to listen to our full conversation here:

“I think that the way in which technology combines on top of itself, this kind of combinatorial tech, I think that’s the most amazing invention of humanity so far. It’s the thing that is allowing us to leapfrog ourselves in terms of our inventiveness.”
Matthew Smith, Fathym CEO and Founder

Innovation Lessons from Startup Culture

From Mr. Smith’s perspective, innovative companies have one thing in common: a flexible team where every person on the team has a basic understanding of technology. These teams are able to source ideas from all team members and better see how the product will come together and create value.

Product development is always a balancing act between trying to schedule innovation and understanding the underlying technologies and evolutions of technologies.

“If you’re having to train your team members to think about technology while they’re on the team, that becomes a pretty big impediment towards progress for any startup in this day and age,” he says.

Innovations to Keep an Eye On

Mr. Smith thinks that the distributed web is an innovation that is here to stay, but it likely won’t be built on a fully decentralized architecture.

“I think the truth is that there will be a blending of decentralized and centralized applications and that blending will offer the best of both worlds over time,” he says.

The underlying technology that has him most excited is not blockchain, but WebAssembly.

“I think that it’s going to change the way in which the web works in ways that even blockchain and those kinds of things have no hope of changing it,” Mr. Smith explains.

Be sure to listen to our full conversation below for more tips, tech forecasts and more. Download the transcript here.

Future Perfect Tech Season 2 Episode 2 - The Innovation Curve & The Hype Cycle


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