As an MBA student I learned about the product life cycle, explaining how the conditions in which a product is sold changes over time as it moves through a succession of stages. While I didn’t have time to make a pretty graphic, I thought I’d take a crack at what the lifecycle of â€œcoolâ€� might look like.
You can see the main axis correlation between time and impact. The longer a product can keep its status of cool, the more of an impact it can make on a large scale.
Figuring out how to make something cool or viral is really the perfect storm, or a series of storms coming together at just the right time. One thing to notice is that the sustainability of a product or service crowned cool is much shorter than the in the traditional product lifecycle. I have also included a period for rapid decline since our modern, more prolific flow of information, means that an anti-cool meme can result in a product being dethroned at a much faster rate.
One thought that also occurred to me is how the â€˜free’ business model works into all this.
Is it more difficult for free products and services to sustain cool? I would argue yes because customers have less buy-in. At the same time, free may also result in a cool product having a much more rapid growth period.