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February 2020

Beware of falling for the hype machine

It’s no accident that Gartner, one of the biggest market research companies covering the IT industry, has developed something called “the hype cycle”. Whatever you may think of the accuracy of the cycle as Gartner portrays it, the fact it exists says a lot about the nature of the industry we operate in. What does hype represent? To me, it’s an exaggerated promise of something amazing – spectacular, even. It represents the successful promotion of a feeling of excitement about a new technology or product that’s due to be released at some point in the future. Excitement is a great way to sell the potential of technology, but it doesn’t often survive the first contact with reality – or rather, the level of excitement or enthusiasm generated by the hype often fails to be matched by the product or technology when it arrives. So there’s a balance to be struck in managing the hype, between making it exciting enough for people to be engaged and interested in the technology, and ensuring the promotion is not so hyperbolic that customers ...

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