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Author Topic: Hype cycle or Bubble Mania?  (Read 5182 times)
Spekulatius
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October 18, 2012, 02:12:07 PM
 #1

Hi B-People,

After reading about the Gartner Hype Cycle and bubbles in general, I was asking myself whether Bitcoin price will just form a classic Hype Cycle chart or whether there will be one bubble after another.

This is the classic shape of a Hype Cycle:




The hype is caused by hightened expectations of what the new technology/company is capable of and exceed by far its current and possibly future value. After the resulting bubble burst the technology either dies with it, in case it was nothing more then a fad, or rises again if real value persists and the market now humbly explores the true capabilities and price of that technology.

I think bitcoin has shown beyond doubt that there is real and novel value behind the idea of a crypto currency. The question remains whether this is the end of the line, once we reach the plateau of productivity or whether we will start a new bubble soon.

Here is an example of a company that managed to start one bubble after another:



As you can see, every positive change in fundamentals (like the introduction of top selling products) delays the plateau of productivity and triggers a new hype. If we could bring about such fundamental changes, bitcoin would be drastically overvalued again and again till an equilibrium of its true near term capabilities and expectations is accomplished. Such disruptive change could be very successfull applications like Silk Road is. Possible candidates are US poker sites that use bitcoin for that vast untapped market, megabox (if it would be successfull and bitcoin its only currency) or the secondary market for online game articles. Also further feautures that may increase bitcoin's value once implemented may have such effect, like the capabilities for smart property, smart contracts, voting, decentralised financial instruments markets and so on.

For further reading I suggest Mastering the Hype Cycle by Jackie Fenn and Mark Raskino. A very insightful book about how to spot, manage and learn from hype cycles. It is such a common and easy to apply concept that you can find it in almost every new technology that creates a stir. Also ways to predict what will happen to bitcoin can be found here, as the Gartner Hype Cycle very well applies to what we have seen so far with bitcoin
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October 18, 2012, 04:05:06 PM
 #2

Interesting ideas.
But i have to disagree on using apple as an example.
Apple really does create astroturf bubbles and so i'm not sure their products are actually related to the success they have. Steves head sold more iphones than the technology driving these devices.

This is a problem for a decentralized system like bitcoin.
It actually needs grassrootin to get a good hold of the ground.
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October 18, 2012, 04:23:31 PM
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Interesting ideas.
But i have to disagree on using apple as an example.
Apple really does create astroturf bubbles and so i'm not sure their products are actually related to the success they have. Steves head sold more iphones than the technology driving these devices.

Apple may engage in astroturfing or not (i have no idea if they do). In any case what drives the hypes are those over inflated expectations that cristalize in stock/exchange rates. If they do fuel the hype by astroturfing it only leverages the hype that is caused by the increase in fundamental value (by the introduction of a new product for example). With every hype there is a core of truth, like a new product that maybe overhyped and may not live up to its expectations, but at least has the potential to change fundamentals. In apples case not all new products have had the anticipated success, but some (like the ipod, iphone and ipad) really made a killing for apple. So their products are related to their success and every new product is met with equal high expectations, triggering a bubble.

The compare with bitcoin is not too remote either. Any news (good or bad) is met with overly exaggerated reactions as well (GLBSE, BTCST, Silk Road,..) mainly because speculation makes up for the main part of bitcoin price atm imo. Also we have a very active and zealous community that will astroturf the living shit out of any announcement that may be in all kinds of channels (reddit, youtube, blogs, somethingawful.com,.. you name it).

Quote
This is a problem for a decentralized system like bitcoin.
It actually needs grassrootin to get a good hold of the ground.

Agreed. Its also the strenght of it.
$ Grassrooting process in progress and counting..
mobodick
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October 18, 2012, 04:59:31 PM
 #4

Interesting ideas.
But i have to disagree on using apple as an example.
Apple really does create astroturf bubbles and so i'm not sure their products are actually related to the success they have. Steves head sold more iphones than the technology driving these devices.

Apple may engage in astroturfing or not (i have no idea if they do). In any case what drives the hypes are those over inflated expectations that cristalize in stock/exchange rates. If they do fuel the hype by astroturfing it only leverages the hype that is caused by the increase in fundamental value (by the introduction of a new product for example). With every hype there is a core of truth, like a new product that maybe overhyped and may not live up to its expectations, but at least has the potential to change fundamentals. In apples case not all new products have had the anticipated success, but some (like the ipod, iphone and ipad) really made a killing for apple. So their products are related to their success and every new product is met with equal high expectations, triggering a bubble.

The compare with bitcoin is not too remote either. Any news (good or bad) is met with overly exaggerated reactions as well (GLBSE, BTCST, Silk Road,..) mainly because speculation makes up for the main part of bitcoin price atm imo. Also we have a very active and zealous community that will astroturf the living shit out of any announcement that may be in all kinds of channels (reddit, youtube, blogs, somethingawful.com,.. you name it).

Quote
This is a problem for a decentralized system like bitcoin.
It actually needs grassrootin to get a good hold of the ground.

Agreed. Its also the strenght of it.
$ Grassrooting process in progress and counting..

I dont think apples products are successfull because of technological reasons.
I think most apple users care more about having a better featured phone than the people in their direct environment.
Siri is something most people show to their friends once or twice and then never use it again.
As a hardware company apple of course needs a product to make money at all, so that is their main motivation for releasing hardware., duh.
But their bubbles are artfully crafted media devices that create a sense of appleness that people want to buy into en mass.
They need to spend good monies in getting this right and i dont think the bitcoin community can expect to get the same kind of result.

The exageration you see in bitcoin is because we have a very small community and you can see a more personal view of the users reacting to changes. That'll become less when the community grows.
Apple deals with large aggregates of statistics to decide their strategy.
Astroturfing by some anonymous bitcoin users is one thing, astroturfing by Steve Jobs's head is completely another level.
For one, if apple fails with a product they can peddle another and maybe unrelated product to make up for it.
In bitcoin bitcoin is the main 'product' and the only way for it to succeed is by actually being used. In fact, it is more like a utility than a product. This implies that it can only grow by expanding dependance. And people really need a good reason to become dependant on something new and lots of security that society will not let it fail.
With apple, the product is what apple thinks up for the season and they can swap it out once the bubble fails or what ever.Those products don't realy have roots. Bitcoin requires roots to become embedded in society and people need to trust it enough to let themselfs become dependant on it.
With apple, well, almost noone depends on a smartphone to get food on their table. There are lots and lots of alternatives, tho usually not that shiny.

Grow those roots!
Smiley
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October 18, 2012, 05:11:00 PM
 #5

What about this one? (courtesy of Something Awful  Cheesy)
Spekulatius
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October 18, 2012, 05:51:12 PM
 #6

What about this one? (courtesy of Something Awful  Cheesy)


yep, about to burst any minute  Roll Eyes
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October 18, 2012, 05:55:50 PM
 #7

What about this one? (courtesy of Something Awful  Cheesy)


yep, about to burst any minute  Roll Eyes

You think that is what it means?
Nah I rather think this graph stands on it's own. I guess the star on top will turn out to be Atlas.
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October 18, 2012, 06:14:06 PM
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In bitcoin bitcoin is the main 'product' and the only way for it to succeed is by actually being used. In fact, it is more like a utility than a product. This implies that it can only grow by expanding dependance. And people really need a good reason to become dependant on something new and [...]
With apple, the product is what apple thinks up for the season and they can swap it out once the bubble fails or what ever.Those products don't realy have roots. Bitcoin requires roots to become embedded in society and people need to trust it enough to let themselfs become dependant on it.

I disagree to some extend. Bitcoin is not necessarily the product. Its more like "the company" that issues "products" and provides "services" if you will. Much like Apple produces iPhones and iTunes, bitcoin facilitates "products" like blockchain.info, Silk Road or services like remittances. Those "products" can fail or succeed like Apple's products can, but if they do the "company" doesnt die or prospers with it necessarily. Are you still with me? To get back to my OP, every new use case or service that provides real value can change the fundamentals of bitcoin just like a successful product increases Apples value. If however a service fails (like GLBSE, Bitcoinica) it may drag bitcoins image (like Foxcon does with Apple), but it doesnst wreck the whole project.

Quote
But their bubbles are artfully crafted media devices that create a sense of appleness that people want to buy into en mass.
They need to spend good monies in getting this right and i dont think the bitcoin community can expect to get the same kind of result.

Bitcoin could become as sexy as Apple among the frustrated masses that wish for an alternative to the failing financial system. If we leveraged the David vs. Goliath kind of image bitcoin could be as appealing as Apple is/was to the early followers opposed to Windows, only to a much broader audience.
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October 18, 2012, 06:54:54 PM
 #9

In bitcoin bitcoin is the main 'product' and the only way for it to succeed is by actually being used. In fact, it is more like a utility than a product. This implies that it can only grow by expanding dependance. And people really need a good reason to become dependant on something new and [...]
With apple, the product is what apple thinks up for the season and they can swap it out once the bubble fails or what ever.Those products don't realy have roots. Bitcoin requires roots to become embedded in society and people need to trust it enough to let themselfs become dependant on it.

I disagree to some extend. Bitcoin is not necessarily the product. Its more like "the company" that issues "products" and provides "services" if you will. Much like Apple produces iPhones and iTunes, bitcoin facilitates "products" like blockchain.info, Silk Road or services like remittances. Those "products" can fail or succeed like Apple's products can, but if they do the "company" doesnt die or prospers with it necessarily. Are you still with me? To get back to my OP, every new use case or service that provides real value can change the fundamentals of bitcoin just like a successful product increases Apples value. If however a service fails (like GLBSE, Bitcoinica) it may drag bitcoins image (like Foxcon does with Apple), but it doesnst wreck the whole project.

Quote
But their bubbles are artfully crafted media devices that create a sense of appleness that people want to buy into en mass.
They need to spend good monies in getting this right and i dont think the bitcoin community can expect to get the same kind of result.

Bitcoin could become as sexy as Apple among the frustrated masses that wish for an alternative to the failing financial system. If we leveraged the David vs. Goliath kind of image bitcoin could be as appealing as Apple is/was to the early followers opposed to Windows, only to a much broader audience.

Yeah, you could look at bitcoin like that, but what i think makes it realy different is that there is no central body deciding the future. There is no 'company'. It is carried by its users and can only prosper if it is functional enough all by itself.
The services you name are a direct consequence of the features bitcoin has. So i consider it very much the 'product' as that is the base of everything else in bitcoinland. And that is what makes it a utility too. It's like infrastructure. Thik of it as a different form of electricity. Apple would not exist if there was no electricity. And likewise GLBSE would not exist without bitcoin.
I agree that failing services build on this infrastructure won't nessesarily break the system.

Bitcoin will never become as shiny as a new apple product.
The BEST place for bitcoin to be is as a quiet companion to peoples financials. That way it will embed itself and become more usefull for more people.
I'm not saying that advertisement won't work, but we should not consider it a product that can be taken off the market if it doesn't meet expectations. It should be alowed to float freely so people can find their own niches of use.
Very unlike the people in apple adverts showing you how to best position your body to fully enjoy the product.

The hype cycle is an informational phenomenon if anything.
It's about how human interaction works.
I think it's even more basic than expectations about a new product.
It's part of our social system.
Joe finds a good place to get berries and is an early adopter. Emma sees joe with lots of berries and he shows her where he got them. Free juicy delicious berries! Emma is now excited and tells all her friends. In no time the whole block is picking berries.
They eat their bellies full and are satisfied with berries. Also, someone got belly ache from eating them.
Now the whole block is talking about how boring the taste of berries has become.

But then some time after the frenzy everyone starts to realize that berries, like most things, have some value in siciety and consumption commences again at a normalized rate.

And you can apply this to most new ideas that are introduced to our culture.

Doing it the apple way (triggering hype after hype) requires bitcoin to be in apples market position first. Then you can start acting like apple and get the same results.
People are not interested in bitcoin to see a new product coming up and falling down every couple of months. In fact, quite the opposite, i would think. Most people would look for security and stability in a currency or value store. And that makes for prety boring advertisement Smiley
So thats why i think bitcoin should stand on its own and only then will it become viable for expansion.
Otherwise it will be an endless juggling act.
Or do you expect apple to be able to continue this trick for ever?
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October 18, 2012, 07:03:53 PM
 #10

I just posted about this in another thread but I didn't post the link. For those who don't think Bitcoin has a possibility of bringing huge innovations in waves(kinda like the Apple graph), you might not have heard of some of the interesting things built into the Bitcoin protocol. "Smart Property" and "Contracts" are the ones that I am most interested in. Here Mike Hearn explains...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mD4L7xDNCmA

Successful trades with bels, misterbigg, ChrisNelson, shackleford, geniusboy91, and Isokivi.
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October 18, 2012, 07:18:21 PM
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Joe finds a good place to get berries and is an early adopter. Emma sees joe with lots of berries and he shows her where he got them. Free juicy delicious berries! Emma is now excited and tells all her friends. In no time the whole block is picking berries.
They eat their bellies full and are satisfied with berries. Also, someone got belly ache from eating them.
Now the whole block is talking about how boring the taste of berries has become.

But then some time after the frenzy everyone starts to realize that berries, like most things, have some value in siciety and consumption commences again at a normalized rate.

..now imagine Charlie finds a way to bake delicious berry pie from those berries! The whole process starts over again.


Quote
Or do you expect apple to be able to continue this trick for ever?

No, unless they come up with even more awesome products every time, they will crash just like any other hype cycle. What they will achieve however, is to build some buffer from the value already generated by their earlier products, that have climbed the plateau of productivity already. The total value of AAPL shares is comprised of all Hype Cycles, old and new ones:



All the different hype cycles add up, so when the newest one fails, it falls soflty.
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October 18, 2012, 07:39:25 PM
 #12


Joe finds a good place to get berries and is an early adopter. Emma sees joe with lots of berries and he shows her where he got them. Free juicy delicious berries! Emma is now excited and tells all her friends. In no time the whole block is picking berries.
They eat their bellies full and are satisfied with berries. Also, someone got belly ache from eating them.
Now the whole block is talking about how boring the taste of berries has become.

But then some time after the frenzy everyone starts to realize that berries, like most things, have some value in siciety and consumption commences again at a normalized rate.

..now imagine Charlie finds a way to bake delicious berry pie from those berries! The whole process starts over again.
Not so sure. Not everything about the pie is related to berries.
It's quite possible the pie is less tasty than just the berries or that it can be tasty without tehe berries.
This will only partially affect berry value and the berry value will never reach the same peak as with the original discovery.
That doesnt take away from the posibility of the pie making a whole hype hump all of its own. It's more a queston of how much influence that has on the berries themselfs.

Quote

Quote
Or do you expect apple to be able to continue this trick for ever?

No, unless they come up with even more awesome products every time, they will crash just like any other hype cycle. What they will achieve however, is to build some buffer from the value already generated by their earlier products, that have climbed the plateau of productivity already. The total value of AAPL shares is comprised of all Hype Cycles, old and new ones:



All the different hype cycles add up, so when the newest one fails, it falls soflty.
Well, apple is pretty special in the way they can build hype on hype.
They were really in the right place at the right time with a star figure as a CEO.
And they worked that opportunity very well.
Bitcoin misses a lot of the properties that apple possessed at the end of the 90's.

So i think we need a different strategy instead of hoping some of the success of apple wil rub off.
For one, upholding the kind of 'buffer' you refer to is a task that has to be attended to.
It would require a (hopefully democratic) body that regulates parts of the community.
Now go and see how that will be received by the majority of bitcoin users Smiley
And of course the lack of this kind of regulating body is a major stumbling block for bitcoin growth.
FIAT will have to come down a lot more before people will look for alternatives en masse. Most people are heavily invested in the fiat economies and moving out is usually out of the question.
Bitcoin is more like Linux than like Apple.
Most people dont like it because it has too many features they don't understand, but anyone who understands comuters realy well will tend to like it for those same features.
So in a way you would be preaching to the choir.
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October 18, 2012, 07:42:47 PM
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I agree with the last poster. A character like Steve Jobs does marketing that cannot be bought with any amount of money.

Bruce Wagner tried.....
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October 18, 2012, 07:45:31 PM
 #14

I agree with the last poster. A character like Steve Jobs does marketing that cannot be bought with any amount of money.

Bruce Wagner tried.....
It was fun for a while, too bad it blew up.

Drama was worth it though.
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October 18, 2012, 08:12:04 PM
 #15


Joe finds a good place to get berries and is an early adopter. Emma sees joe with lots of berries and he shows her where he got them. Free juicy delicious berries! Emma is now excited and tells all her friends. In no time the whole block is picking berries.
They eat their bellies full and are satisfied with berries. Also, someone got belly ache from eating them.
Now the whole block is talking about how boring the taste of berries has become.

But then some time after the frenzy everyone starts to realize that berries, like most things, have some value in siciety and consumption commences again at a normalized rate.

..now imagine Charlie finds a way to bake delicious berry pie from those berries! The whole process starts over again.
Not so sure. Not everything about the pie is related to berries.
It's quite possible the pie is less tasty than just the berries or that it can be tasty without tehe berries.
This will only partially affect berry value and the berry value will never reach the same peak as with the original discovery.
That doesnt take away from the posibility of the pie making a whole hype hump all of its own. It's more a queston of how much influence that has on the berries themselfs.

Given the pie is a success that creates demand for all its ingredients in order to bake it, it also creates additional demand for the berries thus raises their value.



Quote
Quote
All the different hype cycles add up, so when the newest one fails, it falls soflty.
Well, apple is pretty special in the way they can build hype on hype.
They were really in the right place at the right time with a star figure as a CEO.
And they worked that opportunity very well.
Bitcoin misses a lot of the properties that apple possessed at the end of the 90's.

The icon leader? Maybe. (Saint Satoshi??)
Apple combines available technologies to make easy to use products.
Bitcoin combines those as well. Easy to use? On its way.

Apple lowered to barrier of entry to having a home computer back in the day.
Bitcoin lowers the barrier for fund raising, remittance, investing/speculating, money transfers, selling drugs,..

Apple had aggressive, creative advertisement
Bitcoin has the financial crisis that advertises alternative currencies on its own, combined with an ardent community that spreads the word

Apple was at the beginning of the age of computer mass production
Bitcoin is at the beginning of the age of mass mobile/digital payments

Quote
For one, upholding the kind of 'buffer' you refer to is a task that has to be attended to.
It would require a (hopefully democratic) body that regulates parts of the community.
Now go and see how that will be received by the majority of bitcoin users Smiley
And of course the lack of this kind of regulating body is a major stumbling block for bitcoin growth.

I strongly disagree. Bitcoin needs no central planning. Its decentralization is its strenght. It may not channel all available resources as efficiently as a central steering committee, but is much more innovative and resilient against wrong decisions due to its multitude of contributers and pillars.
No central committee needed, only good applications.

Quote
Bitcoin is more like Linux than like Apple.

Agreed for its open source mentality, but also many parallels to what Apple does can be drawn (see above).
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November 04, 2012, 12:25:17 AM
 #16

So, next topic: Where are we and where will we go from here?

This is how I see it:





I think we will oscillate between 10-20$ while on the plateau and skyrocket with the next big positive fundamental change to relive the hype cycle once more (probably a bit dampened).

Thoughts?
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November 04, 2012, 04:50:52 AM
 #17

Apple is like that south park episode with the prius drivers generating too much smug. Eventually people wise up. Bitcoin does not allow huge amounts of smug and therefore will not gain mass appeal until a superstar sensation makes it cool. If only justin beiber's fan club made dues paid in btc mandatory bitcoin would be cooking with gas. Until then sheldon says neiner neiner.

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November 04, 2012, 09:32:31 AM
 #18

Actually, I think we should not draw a line that relates to 'visibility' over a graph that relates to 'price'. The described cycle has more to do with development and spreading of new technology than the price of controlling a single Bitcoin in the blockchain.

Bitcoin still has some years to go through before getting mainstream.

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naima53
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November 04, 2012, 11:12:25 AM
 #19

Interesting topic ...
Add my 5 cents: Why not, for example? That is like a corkscrew Tongue ...


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November 10, 2012, 05:11:28 PM
 #20

Actually, I think we should not draw a line that relates to 'visibility' over a graph that relates to 'price'. The described cycle has more to do with development and spreading of new technology than the price of controlling a single Bitcoin in the blockchain.

Its both true, the graph stands for visiblity in the media, as well as it relates to expectations which in case of bitcoin translates to price (based on its make up that consists in large parts of speculation). They also state that relation in their book "Mastering the Hype Cycle", see OP.


Interesting topic ...
Add my 5 cents: Why not, for example? That is like a corkscrew Tongue ...



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