Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Formalizing Next-Big-Thingism

Various time in various posts, I've complained about Next-Big-Thingism, often in conjunction with ddulites and the growth fetish, but while I've defined the latter two, I don't remember ever laying out the fundamentals of NBTism.

It's basically an "End of Days" belief system found widely among investors, journalists, policy makers and other 'thought leaders.' (I'm sorry, but I can't bring myself to type that term without the scare quotes.). It goes something like this:

The new order is about to emerge. All will change;

The bringer of creative destruction is already among us;

Only those who embrace the bringer will save themselves and their portfolios.

Over the past few years, personal computing, the internet, social media, mobile, the sharing economy, and the internet of things have all been, at least briefly, the new messiah. All have had or will have a major impact, but none, including the internet, have been what their adherents hoped (anyone who says the internet surpassed the hype doesn't remember the hype).

My main main complaint with Next-Big-Thingism, other than the annoying part, is that it leads to bad thinking and worse investments and that means that a great deal of money and man-hours get diverted to obviously bad ideas just because they might be part of the new order (yes, I'm looking at you, Groupon).

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