Hype vs. Trends in the World of Technology
In recent years, the tech industry has been leaning heavily towards "nowness" or what some might call "tech immediacy." This trend is characterized by extreme impatience, a lack of proportion, and a tendency to declare every current development as the greatest thing since sliced bread. If you're a risk-taking investor, you might not have a choice but to hop on the next big thing to catch Google in its infancy. However, most people aren't venture capitalists or angel investors. They're regular folks. Often, a lot of hype is generated around a product, service, or app. This hype isn't just random; it's typically generated because it serves someone's purpose.
These "someones" are venture capital funds and investors looking to boost their portfolios. They're founders seeking to raise money and increase their company's valuation. It's the media looking for headlines or cheap clicks, and sometimes, it's a bunch of early users wanting to brag that they were there first. It's not that there aren't real revolutions happening in the tech world, but most of the time, It's wise to pause for a moment and reflect before proclaiming the next TikTok-like sensation.
The Hype and Its Repercussions
The tech world is known for crowning kings, setting trends, spreading hype, and making bombastic announcements. However, often, after a brief honeymoon, the initial hype fizzles out. Let's take a look at a few phenomena from recent years that were red hot but then experienced a painful crash.
1. Clubhouse -
Clubhouse, the audio-based social platform, burst onto the scene at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, presenting itself as a promising and novel way to connect. The hype surrounding the app drew people in, as they flocked to record lengthy audio conversations on various topics. However, after a relatively short period, public interest waned, and the initial hype fizzled out.
2. NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) -
NFTs became a buzzword in recent years, even though many people struggled to grasp their meaning, purpose, or necessity. Yet, there was a general sense that everyone needed to invest in an NFT, or even create their own. NFTs are unique digital assets built on blockchain technology. The hype around NFTs affected market prices but, as time passed, the excitement waned, and people started to realize the limits and potential oversaturation of the market.
In contrast to hype, trends are phenomena that don't experience rapid fluctuations but persist over an extended period. They often bring about significant changes in culture or affect economic systems more broadly. They arise from structural or societal shifts in specific sectors of society.
1. Remote Work -
The massive wave of remote work triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic was a genuine trend rather than mere hype. It fundamentally changed how work is conducted and how businesses communicate. It has the potential to affect future career requirements and business policies.
2. Clean Technology -
Increased attention to environmental conservation and investments in green technologies are genuine trends in the tech world. They impact a wide range of industries, and their influence extends beyond mere hype.
3. Electric Vehicles -
The shift towards electric vehicles is a significant trend in the transportation sector. It affects the automotive industry and the adoption of green energy sources.
Unlike hype, trends have a longer lifespan and evolve relatively consistently over time. They usually carry more substance and are often based on real societal or technological changes. While the tech world may love to celebrate "the next big thing," it's crucial to remain cautious and critical before declaring the latest phenomenon as the future. Hype comes and goes, but trends can reshape the world around us. So, the next time you hear about the latest tech sensation, take a moment to evaluate whether it's just a passing wave of hype or a lasting trend that will shape the future.
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