Fear of the New

This is a list of various ways that folks frame up their fear of the new (the innovative?).

  • These new things, they are just trifles.
  • They are a threat to the established order.
  • Typical Nuevo Riche behavior!
  • Their novelty is transient.
  • Go ahead sink you money into that. But beware, it’s not going to come to anything.
  • Stuff like this, well, it always suffers from exaggerated claims.
  • This is just disruptive.
  • Oh, this could be very destablizing.
  • Don’t be impulsive!
  • This is going to lead to disaster!
  • It’s Eve’s apple all over again! Run away.
  • This will lay waste to our entire ecology.
  • Snort. People into that stuff? They are just status seeking.
  • Conspicuous consumption, that’s what’s going on here.
  • They just think they’re happy.

The list is descended from one in Albert Hershman’s book Shifting Involvements, all his stuff is a hoot.

If your against something, say SOAP, Rest, Axis, cell phones, … you name it … then you can just pluck one of these off the list and write up another blog posting.

I laughed out loud when I read that one about “status seeking” since that’s the default diagnosis of what’s going on in open source by the fearful outsiders.

This list is analogous to the list Michael Porter pulled together back in the 1970s that enumerates the risks faced by new or emerging businesses. Porter’s list is more useful if your inside the new thing and struggling to make it survive or think thru what the nature of your customer’s objections are.

  • Erratic Quality
  • Customer Confusion
  • Raw Material Risks
  • Perceptions of Obsolescence
  • Regulatory Climate
  • Image & Crediblity with Funders
  • Absense of Standards
  • High Costs
  • Immature Infrastructure
  • Mobility Barriers
  • Subsidy of traditional solution
  • Short Time Horizon
  • First-Time Buyers
  • Spin Offs
  • Strategic Uncertainty
  • Technology Uncertainty

I seem to have lost source of this last one. This list’s audience are people who are trying to pull a new initiative out of the skunk works phase and start to actually change the organization around them. It enumerates five fundamental wells of resistance that you encounter at that step.

  • Existing assumptions about what’s key.
  • The current strategy.
  • The consensus about what the future goals are.
  • The background of the current management.
  • The social network of managerial relationships.

Those remind me of this marvalous quote: “It’s not ignorance does so much damage; it’s knowin’ so derned much that ain’t so.” — Josh Billings

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