Crossing The Chasm. Image credit: Geoffrey Moore
Seth Godin has recently started a new podcast called Akimbo, in which he discusses a topic and answers questions on the previous week's topic. As with all of Seth's content, it is excellent. Episode 10, The Regular Kind is particularly good.
In it he discusses how something becomes the norm, the regular kind, even if it does not merit its superior position. A lot of the time, things are the default purely from over-exposer and marketing. He gives some interesting examples and then digs below the surface about why we as individuals either yurn for the safety of the familiar (neophobia) or for the thrill of the new (neophilia). Things become the regular kind because the neophobics are usually in the majority.
This got me thinking about how in the software world, this struggle or counter-balance forms a large part of life. We build software to do new things but have to sell them and convince people to change their habits and use our software.
Often internally within companies, we need to propose new projects, solutions or concepts in the hopes that our colleagues and/or bosses will see the value in this new approach, instead of doing it the way it has always been done, the regular way.
The episode expands the concept by revealing that we are complex individuals and one can be both a neophobe and neophile in the many different areas of life.
I find this helpful to remember when facing someone on the opposite side of the neo-chasm. I'm a natural neophile and sometimes get frustrated with the lack of enthusiam in others about the latest thing, but then I remember, I always buy the regular unleaded, despite the benefits that the super unleaded is supposed to give my car engine :-)