Everything is a fad

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You don’t know how many times people have told me that this or that product/service/trend was a fad and therefore there was no reason to try it for themselves. The latest tech trend that people are calling a fad? Twitter.

After hearing this excuse for the umpteen time, I realized today that everything is a fad. Yep. Just look at all the things around you which are fads.

People often focus on the temporal nature of things as permission to call something a fad. Think about this though. How long does something have to exist before it’s not a fad? Five years? Ten years? Blogging has been around longer than that and people still tell me it’s a fad.

By this criteria, all restaurants are fads. How many eateries do you know that last five years? Ten? or more? Not many. Therefore, restaurants are fads. No reason to eat at them I guess.

And how many businesses really last that long. Not many. And of those that are fortunate to last over several decades, how many skip from one new thing to the next? By changing are they accepting the fact that the way they used to be was a fad, and that now they are on to the real thing? Guess so.

Take the airplane industry for instance. Was barnstorming a fad? Biplanes? Flying without electronic guidance? Beds on a plane? Eating a full meal on a plane? Checking in two bags of luggage? Must be.

Of course, this is all absurd. These aren’t fads. They’re more like things that were once viable and pragmatic given the realities at the time. And since things change, well, more things change. That doesn’t mean these things were fads. There might have been tremendous value in the way things were at the time.

Show me something who’s long term value is not proven or self-evident, and I’ll show you something that may or may not be a fad. You can’t tell. But be clear, that’s not what most people mean when they label something as a fad when you’re explaining something new to them. No. They’re just telegraphing to you that they’re not an explorer. So be it.