Forget early adopters! Adopt early rejectors.

Posted: May 20, 2018 in Uncategorized

Capture d_écran 2018-05-20 à 09.49.37

There is something more interesting than being an early adopter: being an early rejector. They are the true pioneers.

 

Companies care a lot about early adopters: they were among the first to have a personal computer, among the first to use Email, among the first to track their sleep, the first users of smartwatches, etc. There are about 2,500,000 results on Google for “early adopters”. There are curves, wikipedia articles, recommendations… .

There is, however, something more interesting than being an early adopter: being an early rejector. They are the true pioneers. Most early adopters will be early followers. But because opting out is mostly a personal decision, this is different with early rejectors. They are leaders that make up their own minds.

They are, those that already abandoned yahoo mail before gmail was open to everyone, those that already started leaving facebook when it was still for college students only, those that already stopped tracking their sleep before jawbone was invented.

Why are early rejectors important? Because they tell you what’s not working with a product or service.

 

Why are early rejectors important? Because they tell you what’s not working with a product or service. Take me and sleep tracking. At first I was enthusiastic about the possibility of discovering correlations between all kinds of events, e.g. drinking alcohol, doing exercise, watching Mad Men and how well I slept. I was absolutely stunned to find out that the frequent disputes with my ex girlfriend correlated positively with a good night of sleep – or rather: a night of good sleep. It made me reflect on the role of sleeping as escape from life.  However, I stopped sleep tracking after a year or so. Why? Because the info about how I “really” had slept influenced how I felt I had slept. I often woke up feeling fine, only to feel like crap once I found out that that night I had been half-awake six times. There was something of a self-fulfilling prophecy there.

The fact that you track how you feel influences how you feel.

 

I think that there is a lot to be learned from a case like this – about tracking sleep, but also, I suspect, about tracking all kinds of other things. There certainly are smart ways to avoid this kind of feedback loop where the fact that you track how you feel influences how you feel. Because the early rejectors may just have understood earlier what doesn’t work with a product or service. They may be precursors of a rejection wave to come. In order to prepare solutions, companies should try to understand them carefully. The kind of  questions Facebook asks when you want to deactivate your account are a start. But they mainly aim at finding the nudge to keep you on the platform.

 

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Comments
  1. In a 2006 study with Baby Boomers, we discovered Leading Edge Rejectors. Ten years later, I wrote about them. Perhaps you’d enjoy the article.

    http://www.letstakeacloserlook.com/2016/10/20/leading-edge-rejectors/

    Best,
    David Allan Van Nostrand

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