3-D printers, the blockchain and drones
New technology demands something important to move from early-adopter novelty to widely embraced tool:
Examples and stories and use cases that describe benefits we can't live without.
The beauty of examples is that they can travel further and faster than the item itself. The story of an example is enough to open the door of imagination, to get 1,000 or 1 million copycat stories to enter the world soon after.
Email had plenty of examples, early and often. Stories about email helped us see that it would save time and save money, help us reach through the bureaucracy, save time and cycle faster. It took just a few weeks for stories of email to spread through business school when I was there, more than thirty years ago.
On the other hand, it took a long time for the story of the mobile phone to be deeply understood. For years, it was seen as a phone without wires, not a supercomputer that would change the way a billion people interact.
Most of the stories of Bitcoin haven't been about the blockchain. They've been about speculators, winning and losing fortunes. And most of the stories of 3-D printers have been about printing small, useless toys, including little pink cacti. And most of the stories about home drones have been about peeping toms and cool videos you can watch after other people make them.
Choose your stories carefully.