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The benefits, and drawbacks, of being an early adaptor

I'm an early adaptor. That means that as soon as something is invented, I want to play with it. And I mean that literally. This is a playful attitude. The benefit of thinking like this is that it has always given me an edge professionally, and it has meant that I am always up-to-date on the subjects that I teach.

The drawbacks, however, are considerable. I find that the vast majority of people out there are not early adaptors, they are "going kick and screaming into change". And since I'm not one of them, I just don't seem to be able to fit in with that kind of conversation. And, of course, while everyone seems to be complaining about some new technology that they just heard of, I want to complain about the number of changes on version 5.1.2. And the worst of it is when someone excitedly tells all about something that they have just discovered, only to find that I got bored with it months ago and have long since moved on to something new.

I was an early adaptor to Google+, back when you needed an invitation to get in. And at first, everyone there, of course, was an early adaptor. But Google+ has been around for a while now, and has settled in a bit. I have to admit the shininess is rubbing off, and I am already wonder what new thing is around the corner. But I still like it, as it continues to change and shift around constantly.

In the meantime, playful early adaptors like me become the first experts (or "gurus", if you prefer!) on a piece of technology. If you're an early adaptor, and have the patience to teach and train, you are very valuable. It's actually a rare combination, as it requires you to understand both being a master and being a novice. It's a blend of wisdom and humility. Knowing a bunch of stuff and doing something is great, but not if it means making other people feel stupid. If you're a guru that needs to massage your ego by making other people feel foolish, please stay away from training and teaching. There are already way too many people like that.

But if you can early adapt, and know how to share, you are gold.