Hype Cycle: How Long Can A Product Stay Cool?


As an MBA student I learned about the product life cycle, explaining how the context in which a product is sold changes over time, moving through a succession of stages.

What about things that are trendy or cool? What does that life cycle or hype cycle look like?

Pardon the poor art:


You can see the main axis correlation between time and impact.

The longer a product can keep its status of cool, the more of an impact it can make on a large scale. The Lindy Effect is interesting here.

Figuring out how to make something cool or viral is really the perfect storm, or a series of storms coming together at just the right time.

One thing to notice is that the sustainability of a cool product is much shorter than that of a normal product. You can see I have also included a period for rapid decline or decay — since in our modern era of information abundance coolness can be dethroned at a much faster rate.

Also: how well does a product offered for free sustain its coolness factor vs. a product that say is priced extremely high (luxury goods)? Is it more difficult for free products and services to sustain coolness?

I would argue, yes, because aspirational goods that fewer people can afford likely serve as a sort of moat, allowing products to hold their coolness longer.


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