It is difficult to know when something has become a true success, or when it has reached worldwide appeal. A common tool is to measure how fast something reaches 50 million users worldwide. Once this figure is reached you are certainly not unheard of anymore. It is interesting to note that for important technologies the 50 million figure is increasingly being reached at a faster rate.
The telephone undoubtedly changed the world. It allowed person to person communication to take place across large distances. It increased the sharing of information between countries at an incredible rate. Yet it took 75 years for uptake to reach 50 million. The reasons why are clear. The infrastructure required took time to build, the speed of communication at the time was incredibly slow and many people didn’t feel they needed one. The radio another amazing innovation although arguably less significant than the phone took just 38 years. This had lower costs to build and communication speeds were already a lot faster. Looking at the television, it took just 13 years. The ground had been laid by technology before it and so it has continued. The rate of technology continues adoption to get faster.
If we fast forward to modern day we see a clear step change in the rate of acceleration. While the internet took 4 years to reach 50 million users after it was widely adopted nothing would be the same. Facebook took 2 years, YouTube 10 months, and the Pokemon Go app, just 19 days.
The level of information sharing between people is now so fast that something people enjoy or hate is spread at an incredible rate. It also reflects a change in people’s behavior. Today people want everything quickly and are not willing to wait.
This rate of change will certainly continue and it will not take long for a new amazing app to be released that will reach 50 million users in less than a day. The demands of the modern population continue to advance and technology must keep up.