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The next big thing will start out looking like a toy  ↦

This is an #oldread (2010), but it came up again in two contexts (Ron Evans’ Gopherbot and Chris Anderson’s Robocars) that made me give it another look.

The reason big new things sneak by incumbents is that the next big thing always starts out being dismissed as a “toy.” This is one of the main insights of Clay Christensen’s “disruptive technology” theory. This theory starts with the observation that technologies tend to get better at a faster rate than users’ needs increase. From this simple insight follows all kinds of interesting conclusions about how markets and products change over time.


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