In today’s digital world, building a tech product means extreme competition is almost always a harsh reality. Whether you’re in e-commerce, SaaS, mobile extensions, or anything else, building a product doesn’t mean “they will come.” In fact, according to EU-Startup, the number 1 reason that startups fail is that there “is no market demand for the product.” With this tough competition, you need edges that push you ahead of the curve. Being an early adopter can be one such edge, because adopting new technologies and methods will mean you’re the first bringing those unique-selling-advantages to the market.

Rogers’ Bell Curve (image credit) discusses the technology adoption lifecycle.

The problem, of course, is that you’re probably not hearing about the tools and technologies that haven’t yet been widely adopted. However, one largely untapped new marketing method is “digital Word-of-Mouth (WOM).” One social platform early-adopter of WOM is YEAY, an app using the WOM Protocol. If you’ve heard a lot of startup pitches, and someone pitched a new social platform to you, you’d probably instantly predict that it wouldn’t get many downloads at all. That’s because social platforms, in particular, are so outrageously competitive, especially considering that platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn are already dominating.

However, YEAY was able to amass around 800,000 downloads. These users provide honest recommendations for products and services they love, incentivizing brands to come on-board as well and boost that content. Clearly, being an early adopter to new technologies can have great benefits, if done correctly.

You don’t have to look far to find countless failed social platforms. These platforms failed to adapt to changes in user behavior, but also to updates in technology. New tech provides new opportunities for added value to users, and the early-adopters become the winners.

At a high level, social platforms, in general, were all early-adopters of technology. Sites like MySpace and Friendster took advantage of the rise of the Internet to connect people digitally. However, every social platform today is obviously using the Internet, so it’s no longer a competitive advantage. However, other technologies exist, such as the blockchain (which WOM Protocol is using to establish trust in content) that can provide added-value.

Time will tell which technologies provide the greatest added-value, but it’s up to platforms to experiment and figure out where they can become early-adopters, lest they go the path of Google Plus. Other technologies like Virtual Reality are being used by Facebook in a new VR-based social network. If Facebook placed its bets correctly, and VR does take off, then Facebook will be perfectly positioned in that market. And if VR doesn’t take off, well, they’re successful regardless. Of course, this risk is inherent to being an early-adopter, but it’s part of a risk-reward strategy for any social platform looking to increase the value it’s bringing to its users.

So what do you think? What technology is ripe for early-adopters to take over? Leave your thoughts below.