I’m on my way to another International Builders’ Show and I you can feel the excitement in the virtual air. Everyone’s posting their social updates about flying, checking-in, and possibilities for the week ahead. Like you, I’m excited to hear what everyone has to share about the trends in sales, marketing, and technology. Outside of meeting up with friends in the industry that I don’t get to see very often, the educational sessions are my favorite part of the show.
Be on the lookout for techniques and tools that will help you solve your every day challenges as a new home builder, but also be on the lookout for the inevitable hyperbole around silver bullets and those looking to sell you one. While I’ve found the majority of speakers at all conferences to be sharing their perspective with the intent of helping the audience grow – unfortunately that isn’t always the case.
Beware The Hype Cycle
I first talked about this “Home Builder Hype Cycle” concept last year at the Pacific Coast Builders Conference and in this post from June of 2018. I want to dive into it a bit more deeply now.
You’ll notice that there are nine different steps (circles) that take place in five different zones (dashed lines) of the cycle. Here’s a quick overview of each step:
1. First Viable Product – The initial technology is developed to the point where you can truly show the potential impact or use-case.
2. Early Adapters Test It – People like the team here at DYC and others who love to try and stay ahead of pace get their hands on the first viable product to determine “real world” implications.
3. Mass Media Attention – A few of the early adopters get excited about the potential while also admitting that there are some shortcomings, BUT the media jumps on the opportunity to anoint a new “must have” product or solution.
4. “This Changes Everything” – Someone well-respected announces that this technology “changes everything.” Think back to the last time you heard this about something… did it?
5. Negative Press – Members of the media begin to actually investigate the claims of prior media stories and find results lacking.
6. “That Didn’t Work” – The early adopters move on to discover the next product on the hype-cycle because this one just didn’t pan out.
7. Providers Disappear – You’ll begin to hear about companies providing this “game changing” solution going out of business or consolidating as most of the business world is no longer paying attention.
8. Try, Try Again – A small group of people continue to tinker with the concept, but may radically change major components of the originally hyped product until it starts to show promise.
9. 20% Market Adoption – Enough real-world use cases with proven results accumulate that the technology or product begins to actually be adopted into regular use.
Whew! I know that’s a lot, but here is the key takeaway – the vast majority of people (and companies) would be better served to wait until step 9. Yep – to be aware of, but mostly ignore the latest fad until 20% market adoption is reached. Think about Pokemon Go, Google+, Snapchat, geo-fencing, and other hyped “game changers” – you would have been just fine without them.
How To Tell The Difference
The question is how can you spot the difference between something being overly hyped and the real deal? I recommend you make sure to look at everything you hear at this event, and others (including our own Online Sales & Marketing Summit) through these four filters.
Filter 1: The Stakeholders
Who are the stakeholders in the message being communicated? What do they have to gain or to lose? Is the message self serving (ex: “Snapchat is changing everything! We have this tool you can buy to help with Snapchat.”)? Is the message they are sharing consistent with content they’ve shared before? Do they have a track record of delivering useful and highly relevant insights that move the needle?
Filter 2: The Timing
Why are you hearing this message now? Is there a history of a proven track record related to the topic? Have multiple people from my own industry found success with it that they are willing to put their name on? Is this something that others have been speaking about for a while? If so, what do those other voices have to say on the subject? Is this old news re-spun to sound new, or a potentially all-new direction?
Filter 3: The (Opportunity) Cost
If you focus your efforts on this new topic, what will that mean you need to pull back on? Do you or your company have a history of being early adopters and it turning out well? Is my business running well enough now that it could take a hit or two and still be ok? How fast should I see a return on my investment?
Filter 4: Does It Work In Home Building?
This last one won’t always apply, but if you are exposed to a new voice from outside of our industry make sure you consider if the case studies and examples they use are likely to translate over to what you know about how our industry generally works.
Get Hyped! But Check Yourself
This quote from Bill Gates sums things up well “We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten. Don’t let yourself be lulled into inaction.” No wonder that guy is worth a few billion. There you have it, you don’t need to be in such a hurry to chase they hype-cycle every time you get excited about something new – and yet you can’t sit still for too long either. Using these four filters, talking directly to other builders you know and trust, being aware of how the hype-cycle works should give you a step ahead.