While a bevy of bestsellers, Ted Talks, and business school curriculums will tell you how to pitch your next big idea or product, you might do just as well to spend a few minutes reading a simple framework two farm researchers developed back in the 1950s.
The researchers, George Beal and Joe Bohlen, were interested in how farmers came to adopt or ignore the newest technology of their day—hybrid seeds—and developed a framework that can still help you market new products, pitch new ideas, or build coalitions.
Beal and Bohlen’s first big insight was to realize that people adopt technology at different rates. They identified five broad groups of people—innovators, early adopters, early majority, and late majority—that adopted technology at different periods and created a list of characteristics for each group.
Innovators pick up on new tech first and are responsible for discovering and testing new ideas on behalf of the group. They’re likely to have a relatively high net worth, a “large..