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Do you recognize the trends behind a hype?

I totally get it: hypes are cool. They are new. Exciting even. Their shiny brightness makes them impossible to resist. Hypes will make you lose yourself. And consider them untapped quick fixes for major challenges.

Bitcoin promised to make banks obsolete. We would no longer require bank accounts to store our money safely. The blockchain would put an end to the corrupting power of the financial industry.

NFTs promised creators an opportunity to capitalize on their digital art. The metaverse promised to bring us all together without the boundaries of space and time – or the fear of contracting another exotic virus.

And AI… Well, AI has been promising us a lot of things.

And because we’re constantly bombarded with all these promises, we tend to overestimate their importance. Everybody is talking about AI, so AI must be relevant.

Don’t get me wrong. AI could be relevant, but it doesn’t have to be. Nobody at Gartner ever promised that each hype would make it through the Trough of Disillusionment…

That’s why I like Jeroen Kraaijenbrink’s addition to the Hype Cycle: the Trench of Temporary Hypes – where bright, shiny objects go to die.

In his LinkedIn post, Kraaijenbrink highlights a few critical differences between hypes and trends:

New and excitingBoring and seemingly repetitive
with too much attention
and potentially going unnoticed
Short-lived peaks
with little impact
Creating lasting impact
and real change
and risky to rely on
Relatively predictable
and reliable
Asking for a fast
and first-moved reaction
Asking for a solid
and fundamental response
Seized by “experts”
popping up everywhere
Seized by few competent experts
gaining position
A potential source
of temporary peak success
A potential source
of longer-term consistent success

While hypes and trends are clearly different, I do believe there’s a connection between the two.

I think each hype is an attention spike for underlying, converging trends.

In the case of AI, one of these underlying trends is the staggering amount of data we’ve been generating in the past few years. Data that is used to train machine learning models.

Another one, is the vast computing power that is now available to process all that data in nanoseconds.

And the trend that we see technology as a solution to many of our problems. Without really considering the less beneficial side effects. Such as the environmental impact of data centers – to name but one.

Be wary of hypes. Look for trends behind each hype. These trends require a fundamental response (i.e. change), but can lead to consistent success in the long-term.

Hope this helps!

Thank you for reading MBD Boost #006, sent to marketers and business developers on March 26, 2024.

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