February 16, 2008

Mashable Divides Early Adopters and Harsh Reviewers

A Web service's adoption cycle certainly has multiple stages - from its initial development, to seeding with bleeding-edge adopters and test accounts, gaining word of mouth and referrals, leading to more early adopters and tech aficionados, before being poked at by more mainstream folks, and eventually, technology laggards.

A key element of graduating a service to the mainstream is a positive review from an objective, trusted, third party. Once the trusted third party gives the service their blessing, it's a sign the masses can sign up and expect it to work flawlessly.

In a great post this morning, where I happen to be mentioned a few times, Mark Hopkins of Mashable admits to both wanting to be in the early adopter role, and find services first, but also, needing to play the more cautious role of harsh reviewer, a role shared by blogging compatriot Steven Hodson. Where I may express excitement about potential, they can express caution or annoyance if a bug gets in the way.

In marked contrast, when I find a bug in one of these new services, I typically have made a screenshot and e-mailed it to the developers... and I'm currently in the QA phase for a few services we'll be talking about in the next coming weeks, playing that role before it's time for their unveiling.

So... depending on where you live in the adoption cycle, you might love a new service's potential, or you may hate that it doesn't do everything you want immediately. But we know our role, and when Mark thinks these services have passed the threshold for a Mashable endorsement, that will be an exciting day for entrepreneurs who keep tweaking their code.

See: The Early Adopter vs. The Harsh Reviewer

1 comment:

  1. Louis,

    I identify completely with what you say. I don't claim to be an authority on new web services or a very early adopter, but when I do hear of new stuff I try to get on it fairly quickly, and they don't always work the way I thought they would.

    Case in point would be AssetBar, where I absolutely love the uses and features, but don't like the UI.

    I'll admit I was giving some thought to just focusing on FriendFeed or LinkRiver, but the fact that they have a blog and are open to feedback and will go as far as posting on my blog to let me know, tells me I should hang in there because the best is yet to come.

    In short, give me a service that has a non-perfect system but listens to the early adopters/harsh reviewers than a close-to-perfect system who ignores its users entirely.