The hype cycle and how things become the norm fast

I’ve been amazed over the last 5 years at how fast things become the norm.

If it’s good for people it’ll become what everyone does, the norm.

Agile development, lean startup, SaaS and so many more are the norm now. In just a few short years each of these ideas went from concept to becoming the norm. For new technologies and applications, Gartner, a technology research firm, has their hype cycle graph and even a large directory of all their hype cycles. The graph’s main purpose is to help businesses make sense of new technologies and assess their relevance in solving real business problems.

Gartner Technology Hype Cycle

Tristan Kromer wrote an in-depth blog post about what he calls The Lean Hype Cycle which described how lean gets adopted in any environment from startups to the eco-system as a whole.

The Lean Hype Cycle

Recently, there’s been a new hot idea called Growth Hacking. We’re seeing a similar adoption with this idea and it’s now the craze startups (and many large companies) have in the front of their minds. Morgan Brown researched 10 of the world’s fastest growing companies and believes we are in the “application” phase as Tristan would put it.

The term growth hacking is in the hype cycle whitewash, as journos and others have misappropriated its meaning and assigned it to nearly every known digital marketing tactic.

Based on a growing number of articles about growth hacking being bullshit which, ironically criticize it for being something ‘true’ growth hackers would also condemn to Samuel Hulick’s beautifully written post titled “If by Growth Hacking…” we’re probably right in front of the brick wall which will inevitably be broken through by the believers in the importance of the underlying premise of Growth Hacking (whether they know it or not).

How to think about all these new ideas

Since I started doing business on the Internet about 11 years ago, I’ve seen my fair share of these ideas turn into the norm. I am often early on learning about these ideas during the “inspiration” phase. I’m always just looking for better ways to start and run companies, all parts of them. I’ve noticed that once the principles of these ideas turn into the norm, the idea’s name fades and the specific terminology tends to become less used as everyone just practices their version of it. I follow some basic rules to stay sane during all of it and not get disillusioned by all the “noise” that bubbles up.

  • Learn about where and whom the original inspiration came from
  • Find (hunt down) people who are currently practicing but are not blogging about it
  • Don’t worry about the terminology because it will eventually disappear
  • Experiment with the underlying principles for your own business(es)
  • Stay focused on getting results from your experiments to avoid the hype!

I’ve followed these rules for the new ideas that I’ve seen come along. It’s been really fun and I’ve learned a lot. I plan to continue getting excited about new ideas while focusing on putting the best parts into practice for the long-term. I know there are others who feel the same.

What’s been your experience with integrating new ideas such as growth hacking into your company?