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    Nobody pays me to write any of the copy on my blog, and should I ever have the good fortune that they do, I will declare it. My main employment is as the owner and principal of The Future Place consultancy. The Future Place provides two key services 1) training and services to industry and academic bodies and 2) consultancy services to companies. The details of the companies I work with are a private matter, but if I blog about any company who has paid The Future Place more than expenses recently (approx. two years) I will mention that they are a client. I hold equity in Virtual Surveys and provide consulting services to them from time to time. I am paid to run courses for a number of trade bodies and over the last few years clients have included ESOMAR, AMSRS, MRS, and MRIA.

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Great post, Ray. In an earlier life, I often applied the Gompertz function to historical data to create market forecasts. I'd change the parameters until the formula aligned with the historical data, then use that for future years.

Of course, reality rarely maps a nice mathematical function. One reason is what Tom points out -- because of differences between early adopters and the early majority, adoption sometimes stagnates in what consultant Geoffrey A. Moore called "the chasm" in his book, "Crossing the Chasm".

Still, using adoption curves provides much better results than simply predicting next year's sales based on last year's sales.


Excellent summary Ray!

I'd add another myth, though I probably see it more among commentators than among researchers. It's the idea that how the innovators and early adopters use a thing predicts how the majority will use it. (Or, more broadly, that early adopters will have the same attitudes towards something that the majority and laggards do.)

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