Behind the Hype Cycle

When people are free to do as they please, they usually imitate each other.

—Eric Hoffer

TO UNDERSTAND WHY the hype cycle happens again and again with each new innovation, and why it keeps seducing even those of us who have been burned before, we must look more deeply at what drives the rise and fall of expectations that create the cycle.

In a theoretical, completely rational world ruled by logic, excitement about an innovation would track perfectly with the reality of what the innovation could do. As the performance of the innovation improved, and as people’s understanding of how to derive value from it evolved, people would become increasingly confident about it, and their adoption of it would grow. But, as we saw ...

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