The Hype Cycle

If you play a game of darts and let everyone play then you will get many darts closer to center, few around the edges and few far away from the board. That is called a normal distribution.

And this exists in many places. For example, take random 100 books. About 80 percent of them will have similar page length and 20 percent will be scattered around the edges.

The distribution of who likes new idea is similar to normal distribution. Eighty percent of the population likes thing when it has been proven. 10 percent tries new things, and the remaining 10 percent doesn’t want change.

The 80 percent market drives value for technology, corporation, and culture.

Consider this- media is written for people who are early adopters. And because of this the percent of early adopters have increased and also partly because of status.

What Does Early Adopter Want

You won’t be an early adopter in everything – you might be one in meme or shoes or type of music but probably not in all of them.

Often an early adopter want something to share with others so her status will get increases, something to make an impact or simply get happy because of owning something new.

What Do Masses Want

They want something that works. That’s it.

Technology companies bring the new thing to early adopter hoping that they talk about it so the masses wants it too. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

iPhone was bought initially because it was new. And the early adopters shared their experience and slowly the masses bought it too because it worked.

Another example, memento movie was for early adopters because it wasn’t what masses were looking for. Hence, the initial response was less in terms of viewership. Slowly when the masses adapted to it, the movie became a classic hit.

The Hype Cycle

There are four stages of the cycle. Let’s consider bitcoin as an example. First is the technology trigger when something new comes. Then media companies starts to write about it and makes it the next big thing.

And more and more people are buying into this. Then there comes inflated expectation because of many new companies trying to make the next big thing. All of this speculation but still early adopters get enrolled.

In the case of bitcoin, it’s value kept on increasing. If you are lucky to see the hype cycle before, you might cash in.

The hype cycle will continue until it hits it peak value. And there is drop coming – almost always.

And then people start to go away and only about 5 percent of people remain. At this moment, if you don’t know about the hype cycle, then you will see it as a disaster and done deal.

But at this time, you can start making things, work hard and quietly because there are no media. The next and final stage is coming, and that is a plateau. And then because of their work, the middle of the normal distribution gets to enroll and adapt to it.

Authors Journey

Let’s understand the hype cycle in the journey of getting your book out.

  • Writing book and putting it in public
  • Hyping about book
  • And mostly walking away
  • But other times, you are still hyping and working your body of work slowly – and slowly it becomes part of the culture

The Dip is the part where most people quit when no one is paying attention.

Another way is to anticipate the dip and then work hard. So if you want to change the culture, you need to focus on the slope of enlightenment and not on the hype.


  • How to approach the difficult issue like climate studies?

People have a strong belief and are eager to argue. It doesn’t matter if your idea aligns with the scientific method, they will be difficult to change because of their belief.

Personal experience is one way to get the message out. Encourage people to experience ground reality.

People don’t like to be proven wrong. So you can approach with new data then the chances of them being triggered is less.

Sometimes people are choosing to fit in. When the culture changes, people like us do things like this. And thus there are new things which people do, so their belief shifts too.