Cutting Edge or Bleeding Edge? How do you know when you, or your market, is ready for something new?

The reason they call it the bleeding edge is that super early adopters take on all the risk. For well capitalized and established businesses, there are substantial rewards for being the first one in a space and huge downsides to missing the boat. Enough to take on the giant risk of being so early that the effort might waste resources. 

For smaller businesses, the danger of missing out is less and therefore the risk of being a too-early adopter is incredibly high. Too high for most to consider it. 

Listen in as JoyGenea and Michelle discuss the pros and cons of being too early or too late.


00:40 Do you always follow what is the latest trend?

01:52 Sometimes the latest trends do not become a real trend.

02:23 Trends become hits depending on if it catches the attention of all kinds of people.

04:53  Other things come along while some just die.

05:13 Some things are a disruption in the industry because of the industry’s pain points.

06:22 How do you know if something is too new to be adopted?

06:47 Disruptor new is a little bit different from brand new

07:15 Claim your IP.

07:47 Use social media wisely.

08:13 Engaging in things that are new can help you improve your business.

08:35 Always expect changes and new things online 

09:16 In buying virtual reality space, you must have a huge capital to gamble.

12:49 Like in fashion, it just cycles in and out.

13:48 The benefits of the new solution have to be proportionate to the pain of adopting the new solution.

15:12 Other things evolve into something new, your favorite thing will now be obsolete.

16:40 When new is too new

17:35 Do you like getting new things? Or having perks of getting new things invites you to buy it?

19:25 Playing with new is like investing.

20:46 Living in a digital age encourages us to adopt to new changes



JoyGenea: Hi, and welcome to “If These Heels Could Talk.” I’m JoyGenea with Solutions by JoyGenea.


Michelle: And I’m Michelle with BadCat Digital. Thank you so much for joining us today. And today we are talking about when…


JoyGenea: When is new…


Michelle: …too new.


JoyGenea: You would think that wasn’t a thing?


Michelle: It is a thing. It’s totally a thing. Something is released and the world isn’t ready for it yet.


JoyGenea: I will use Google Glasses as a great example of this.


Michelle: It is a good example.


JoyGenea: I was so excited. I’m like, “This is fabulous.” They disappeared within… I don’t know, what was it? Four, five years?


Michelle: Yeah. If that.


JoyGenea: I think. And really what they decided was people…it was too big a step from what people know…


Michelle: Yep.


JoyGenea: …to a new thing. So, the early adapters will do this. They’ll be like, “Okay. Yeah.” But then you can’t. It just doesn’t bridge over to the mainstream.


Michelle: Right. Right.


JoyGenea: Starbucks had…they had a gentleman that invented instant coffee that was amazing. But for them to make it, it was gonna be really expensive. They actually never released it until…


Michelle: Like 20 years later.


JoyGenea: Right. Because that’s when people cared enough about coffee. They would pay for instant coffee at that level.


Michelle: Right. Well, I was actually thinking about… Do you remember Zima?


JoyGenea: No.


Michelle: Okay. So, Zima was…it was sold as an alternative to beer that was lighter, more refreshing…


JoyGenea: When?


Michelle: …not as heavy. In the late ’90s. I believe the late ’90s, early 2000s. Somebody will correct me I’m sure. But it was in a clear glass bottle, longneck like a beer.


JoyGenea: Okay.


Michelle: And it was opaque, fizzy. It was seltzer. It was seltzer.


JoyGenea: Did you try it?


Michelle: It was… Yeah. It was good. Well, no. Not in the late ’90s when I wasn’t old enough.


JoyGenea: Oh, sorry.


Michelle: Shh.


JoyGenea: Sorry.


Michelle: Don’t get me in trouble.


JoyGenea: You’re past being in trouble.


Michelle: Yes. As we established in a previous episode, I’m firmly in middle age. But it was White Claw before White Claw was White Claw. And it came and went. It was around for maybe a year. People who loved it loved it, but people just didn’t try it. It just never reached the tipping point. And that’s the thing. There’s the early adopters, and then it has to break over that threshold. And early adopters as a group of people will try just about anything.


JoyGenea: Yes.


Michelle: So, this isn’t necessarily people that are only early adopters in one sense or another, it’s more of a personality type.


JoyGenea: Typically, yes.


Michelle: Yeah. And so…


JoyGenea: They’re a little more adventuresome, they’re a little more risk-taker, they’re…


Michelle: Maybe have a little bit more extra income, which is not a personality type, but still.


JoyGenea: Yeah. It helps.


Michelle: But all of those things. But then it just never crossed over into the mainstream just like you said.


JoyGenea: Yeah. It just can’t quite make the leap.


Michelle: Right. Right. And there are things like that. And then there are… There are things that better things replace, but there are things that just don’t cross over the threshold. Laser discs were one of those things.


JoyGenea: Yeah. Didn’t make it.


Michelle: Well, and I don’t know if that was because they were too new or because they were just really big and unwieldy.


JoyGenea: They were that, I’m just freaking sure.


Michelle: And the machinery never got really cheap enough to make it.


JoyGenea: Well, and so this is the thing. You might have an amazing product, that’s why we brought it up, is because for a couple of reasons. One, you might have an amazing product that’s just too early.


Michelle: Yeah. Just too new.


JoyGenea: People aren’t quite ready. So, what you typically have to do, actually is reverse engineer it and dumb it down to help people…


Michelle: Yeah. And then step people back up into the…


JoyGenea: Yes. And step people back up to bridge them to going there.


Michelle: Yeah.


JoyGenea: It’s taken us a long time to have cars that are autonomous. That wasn’t an overnight type of thing. It’s taken us a long time to evolve to that.


Michelle: And the cars that are… The vehicles that they’re making now, perfectly capable of being completely self-driving. But what they’re finding is that it actually scares consumers. And so the idea is to make them… Like my car, actually will brake for me if I don’t brake fast enough behind somebody that’s… It happened the other day. Scared the crap out of me. There was somebody in front of me who was turning right very slowly, and I slowed down but I didn’t brake. And I didn’t brake hard enough, I didn’t brake fast enough. And the cameras caught me too close and braked for me.


JoyGenea: Wow.


Michelle: And then the little display thing flashed brake with the big and the thing, you know.


JoyGenea: All the things.


Michelle: And it scared the hell out of Nathan and it scared me. But that’s the kind of thing that will get us to the point where we can be comfortable in self-driving cars…


JoyGenea: Correct.


Michelle: …are these kinds of steps into.


JoyGenea: And that’s what they figured out. They’re like, “There’s a group of people that will early adapt and will do this.” But then the majority of people, we have to lead there. That’s the only way that’s really gonna happen. And so that’s a great example. There are other things that come along, and there’s not a step to it and so it just dies.


Michelle: Well, in some things, some things are disruptions. Some things are a disrupt in the industry because of the industry’s pain points. I think about something like Uber and Lyft. I think about what it was like to call a cab before Uber and Lyft where you would have to… First of all, if you lived in a smaller town, you might not even have a cab option.


JoyGenea: Right.


Michelle: If you did, it was like one guy in his basement in a car that smelled like Marlboro reds. And so in larger cities, it was pretty, especially if you were a tourist, the cabs were everywhere. But if you lived…if you just needed a ride to the airport from say a small town in western Wisconsin to Minneapolis, or if you needed a ride from your house to the airport, shuttle at a hotel in town, it would be a $40, $50 trip and you’d have to call ahead and you’d have to schedule it, and maybe they’d come on time, and maybe they wouldn’t. And it was like a whole thing. Right?


JoyGenea: Yeah.


Michelle: And it’s different now because the pain points were so prevalent that the industry was disrupted by something new that everybody wanted.


JoyGenea: Yes.


Michelle: And that’s the difference. I think when you’re talking about something new that other people are developing and then pushing out into the market versus something that disrupts an industry and solves ubiquitous problem within that industry, those new things tend to get adopted really quickly by everybody. And the thing that comes out as new does not because people are scared of it.


JoyGenea: Yes. That’s perfect examples of new going well, new going not so well. Right. Disruptor new is a little bit different than brand new over here. Software. So, a big world that we live in marketing, social media, those types of things. We’ve dealt with a lot of new. I know I still have clients that ask me, “Oh, this new social media platform is coming out, should I get involved?”


Michelle: Should I get on this?


JoyGenea: And I usually… This is what I typically tell people, “Yes. Go out and create an account. Post one or two items on that, and then wait and see. Start to use it, but claim your space.”


Michelle: Claim your IP.


JoyGenea: Claim your IP.


Michelle: Claim your intellectual property. Absolutely.


JoyGenea: Claim your IP, but then sit back.


Michelle: Especially if it’s free.


JoyGenea: Right. If it’s free, claim your IP, but then sit back, watch. If it’s something you really like, engage. I remember when Instagram first came out, I had a couple of clients that were really drawn to it. I’m like, “Use it. If you love it, start to use it. Incorporate it in.” And then as Facebook bought it…


Michelle: I’m doing a presentation later today about social media, and one of the points that I’m making is the path that is correct is the path that you’re willing to commit to because social media is so much about its usage. And so it’s less about which one’s right, which one’s wrong, how many times you’re supposed to post or the day, you just have to do it. And so the right platform is the one you’re going to use.


JoyGenea: Yes. Continuously.


Michelle: Yeah. So, if you’re the kind of person that’s excited about something new and wants to start up with something new, then absolutely engage, use it, troubleshoot it, get it down. But if you’re like, “Well, you know, I’m not sure if my customers are really there yet,” then you’re not gonna engage in it. Why bother starting?


JoyGenea: Right.


Michelle: But claim your IP. I like that little rhyme that you made. If it’s free, claim your IP.


JoyGenea: Yep. Which can be helpful. But don’t be surprised if it gets absorbed by another social media conglomerate, don’t be surprised at the same…


Michelle: Or the rules change or…


JoyGenea: Yes. Clubhouse right now is a good example. They’re trying to figure out. I don’t know how they’re going to make it if they’re gonna be absorbed or not. They’re right now in the middle. And that was…


Michelle: They’re in the… Yeah. And we don’t know. We don’t know.


JoyGenea: Those types of softwares, I find really interesting at the beginning because they’re figuring it out. So, they change a lot, they evolve. They’re kind of… I enjoy dabbling in those a little bit on the side. But at this point, I know who knows exactly where that’s gonna go.


Michelle: Right. And you know, I’m answering a lot of questions about Meta and augmented reality and virtual reality right now and people are saying, “Well, when virtual reality space and all of these…” Walmart, I read an article about Walmart buying land and buying their IP and Nike and Gucci and all of these big brands are buying up space in these virtual reality landscapes and I’m like, “You know, I think that’s great. And if you wanna do some of that, that’s fantastic.” But we don’t know which one or two or three is going to garner the audience. We don’t know. So, if it costs money, you’re gambling. They have capital to gamble. Gucci has capital. They can buy their…


JoyGenea: Yeah. All most venture capital.


Michelle: Yeah. They can buy their IP, they can buy land, virtual land in a virtual reality landscape across a thousand options because the risk of missing out on that is so high for them that they almost have to spend their capital that way. But a small business, you can wait. You can wait till it goes from a thousand options to five. You can wait until something starts to rise above the pack. I remember back with Blu-ray.


JoyGenea: Oh, gosh. Blu-ray.


Michelle: Do you remember Blu-ray?


JoyGenea: Yes.


Michelle: And I had to buy all movies again, I was so mad. Anyway. And I didn’t. I didn’t because I had done the VHS to DVD swap. And then again, Blu-ray players came out and people didn’t adapt them early enough. And so what they did was they released a player that was backwards compatible with a DVD. And now all of a sudden, it made sense and people would start to make the switch and they’d buy their new movies in Blu-ray. But do you remember that there was a different option?


JoyGenea: Yeah.


Michelle: It was two at the same time.


JoyGenea: Yes.


Michelle: I think, was it Samsung?


JoyGenea: I think so.


Michelle: Yeah.


JoyGenea: That had the big…


Michelle: No. They were the same size. But there were two digital disk formats that came out at the same time.


JoyGenea: Oh, it didn’t live long.


Michelle: And Blu-ray won.


JoyGenea: Yeah.


Michelle: Blu-ray won.


JoyGenea: Well, that’s just there used to be two streaming radio stations.


Michelle: Right.


JoyGenea: Sirius and XM and they became one. We used to have two different devices back in the early days of that. And it’s been fun to watch.


Michelle: Two different devices?


JoyGenea: Yeah. Because they were two separate…


Michelle: Oh, that’s right.


JoyGenea: They were two separate things.


Michelle: Oh, my gosh. What a pain.


JoyGenea: Yeah.


Michelle: But anyway.


JoyGenea: And evil. Well, look at Bitcoin. There’s a great example. That came out and then it tanked, and then it came out. It had early adaptors.


Michelle: Yeah. We’re gonna stay out of the NFT mess. Y’all can do what you wanna do with NFT mess, but we’re not gonna be a part of that.


JoyGenea: Oh, yeah. But is definitely a new… it was new and now it’s not a new.


Michelle: It’s kind of new. I remember back in MySpace when people would sell the rights to their pictures.


JoyGenea: No.


Michelle: Yeah. People would sell the rights to their pictures and they would say, “Okay. If you buy, if you send me money, then you now own this version of this picture.” And that was a thing on MySpace. And they would put the person’s name in the caption of the picture and the person would be like, “Look, I own this particular version of this particular digital file of this particular picture that I can’t access that isn’t really a thing at all.” But again, we’re staying away from NFTs.


JoyGenea: Right. I’m already far away from it.


Michelle: But yeah. It’s been a thing before.


JoyGenea: Yes.


Michelle: A lot of things have been a thing before and I think one of the things that we don’t always realize, even fashion.


JoyGenea: Oh, God.


Michelle: As fashion cycles in and out, nothing new is new. But when we talk about things being too new, I really do think that if it’s so unfamiliar, that it scares people, especially when you talk about consumer products because consumer products have to find enough of a market. And I also think about the challenge of adopting the new. So, there are things that are hard to change, especially. So, on a consumer side, habits are hard to change. Am I gonna buy something different? Am I gonna buy this new flavor of coke, or am I gonna buy the thing I know I like? And that’s pretty simplistic. But if you’re talking about a business, maybe it’s a new technology or a new way of doing manufacturing or a new machinery technology, you could be talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars, millions of dollars and capital investment to make the switch. The benefits of that have to be proportionate.


JoyGenea: Yes.


Michelle: The benefits of the new solution have to be proportionate to the pain of adopting the new solution. I think about how hard it is to change banks. And I don’t mean it’s hard. Banks make it as easy as possible, but it’s a giant pain in the butt.


JoyGenea: Oh, it’s a pain.


Michelle: It’s a million piddly little things that you have to do. And then you always forget about your Disney Plus subscription, and you have to go back and change that one with the non-payment. It’s just a pain in the butt. And so when I think about what stops the new from taking on, I think, either it’s so new that the benefits aren’t clear.


JoyGenea: Yes.


Michelle: And if the benefits aren’t clear, then there’s no reason to adopt it. And if there’s a reason to adopt it, why would I take the risk?


JoyGenea: And also, for me, a lot of times it’s the longevity.


Michelle: Sure.


JoyGenea: Do I know that this is… I’ll use the music industry. When that went digital, it was at a point where I had hundreds of CDs. It went digital. There were two paths, WMA or MP3. There were these two paths and I had to pick one. And I wasn’t a fruit person, so I went the other way, which luckily has played out okay for me in the long run. But it was interesting because for a while there were just…


Michelle: Wasn’t a fruit person. You’re too funny.


JoyGenea: But there were two major paths and you couldn’t even participate. They could not …


Michelle: They didn’t cross over.


JoyGenea: They didn’t cross over, so I had to stay on that path until now. It’s taken 20 years for it to circle all the way back around where I can now have all of my music on the internet, it can all be played and it can be in the two types of formats. But oh dear Lord. And that was a spot. And longevity wise, it’s like, “Well, I got to pick a path.”


Michelle: Yeah. You got to pick a path.


JoyGenea: Got to pick a path.


Michelle: Got to pick a path. It’s really interesting because I still have friends with CDs. It feels like a giant CD player, five-disc changer, towers of CDs that they have to fuss with and organize. And I look at it and I think, “What a pain. I don’t want all that stuff in my house.” But the thing is that it really hasn’t been that long.


JoyGenea: No. It hasn’t been that long.


Michelle: It really hasn’t been that long since that was…


JoyGenea: No. That has evolved. And now even for me to say that I converted that music over, most people would probably be like, “Why?” You can just buy it, you can stream it, you can… It’s so accessible, it’s like why?


Michelle: I didn’t convert mine.


JoyGenea: And I don’t know that I would now if the same situation came along.


Michelle: But it’s true because at the beginning it wasn’t that accessible.


JoyGenea: No.


Michelle: And it was super expensive. And not everything was available that way.


JoyGenea: It can disappear.


Michelle: And yeah. And it could just… Yeah.


JoyGenea: It could just disappear. “Oops, we updated our software. And sorry, everything that you bought is no longer available. Please have a nice day.” That’s when new…


Michelle: Terms and conditions.


JoyGenea: For me, that was new was too new. I dabbled in it, I got the Apple account. I bought $10…


Michelle: A fruit account.


JoyGenea: Yes. But I bought $10 worth of items streaming. I bought downloads, I was so excited. And then they updated the software and they ate my music and I went, “Oh.” And just that experience alone I was like, “Oh.” And they did that three more times while they were evolving.


Michelle: Yeah. Well, yes. They did. Yes, they did.


JoyGenea: So, I was dabbling in something that was new that was almost too new until they got it. Now they’re fine. I knew that.


Michelle: Yeah. Of course. That doesn’t happen.


JoyGenea: They would never do that.


Michelle: No.


JoyGenea: They’d lose so many people, but it was really, really new. So, that’s how new… If you dabble in new, new is clunky.


Michelle: I think about it like Kickstarter.


JoyGenea: Oh, yeah.


Michelle: If you support something on Kickstarter, and I don’t know, a lot of people don’t. A lot of people don’t understand how this works.


JoyGenea: I’ve done.


Michelle: But supporting something on Kickstarter, especially a product, they do give you something for your money. And at different levels, you get something different. Sometimes it’s merch or swag, and sometimes it’s a video shout-out. So, whether or not you find value in the things that they’re giving you equal to the amount of money that you’ve given them is your own thing. But when they do that, usually there’s a promise of a product. So, most people who give, especially at certain levels will get a product when it’s fully funded and complete. But the thing is that not all projects complete. And so it’s a gamble. You’re taking the gamble of if I give them $500, maybe I get this super cool 3D printer for 500 bucks or I don’t get anything.


JoyGenea: Or it’s the… Literally, I’ve gotten some things, I’ve done Kickstarter. Their first runs. Anybody that’s had a first-run or something, it’s not always the best.


Michelle: No. It’s not always the best.


JoyGenea: It falls apart.


Michelle: I do like games and stuff on Kickstarter and sometimes the mechanics don’t work right or the cards are really weird, or the box isn’t putting it… You know what I mean? It’s very obviously a test. But that’s what you’re paying for. You’re paying to be part of the research and development part of the innovation of something.


JoyGenea: And I’ve seen something come out. I’ve participated in something and it actually went to full market.


Michelle: It’s super cool.


JoyGenea: And it was. It was really cool when I see it.


Michelle: You feel like you’re part of this really cool thing. And the other side of it is when it goes to market, then everybody who supported on Kickstarter becomes like an ambassador for the brand because it’s like, “Hey, I supported this thing. It’s pretty darn cool, isn’t it?”


JoyGenea: It’s pretty cool.


Michelle: But yeah, this concept of when new things are just too new to take off, it’s really interesting.


JoyGenea: So, we’re encouraging you. Don’t be afraid of new, but understand playing with new is just…it’s like investing, it’s like anything else. It’s risk-taking. You need to be in an explorer mode about it. Understand that it’s new. It is, like we were saying, it’s good to claim your IP if it’s free. It’s also…


Michelle: I’m totally stealing that.


JoyGenea: It’s perfect. And it’s also if you’re creative, if something excites you, dabble in it.


Michelle: Yeah. Why not?


JoyGenea: Google Glasses looked really cool to me, but then I decided I just wouldn’t go that far and I wouldn’t spend the money. The technology was too expensive for the… Return on investment, it was like, oh, not quite there yet. But they’re coming back around.


Michelle: They’re coming back around. Now, with Ogulus doing its thing…


JoyGenea: It does.


Michelle: …and with augmented reality and virtual reality, I think the concept of wearing the headset is just so much more. So much more ubiquitous. And people just have a lot more. And the thing is that I do think that the Google Glass, it’ll be great when something comes out that you can just put on your regular glasses.


JoyGenea: Oh, yeah.


Michelle: Like clipping on a headset or putting your pods in.


JoyGenea: We’re not far from then, I would say.


Michelle: No. I don’t think we were far from that then. That’s the point. The technology exists already.


JoyGenea: It does.


Michelle: It might not exist in a way that makes it consumer-friendly in terms of its cost.


JoyGenea: True.


Michelle: But all of these technologies already exist. Can it be done? Yes. It can be done. Can it be done commercially for a profit? Probably not. And if it can be done commercially for a profit, is there enough of a market for it? So, it’s a really interesting conundrum there. So, think about the next time something comes out that’s new. When you’re trying it out, it’s like, “Is this good enough to replace what I already did? Is this good enough to set a new habit, or is this going to go the way of the dodo and then come back in 20 years, raspberry flavored?”


JoyGenea: There we go. Thanks for joining us on “If These Heels Could Talk.” We hope you’ve learned a little something, been slightly inspired. And we look forward to chatting with you next week. Have a great…