Remember a year ago when everyone was falling over each other to be one of the "cool kids" who got a wave invite? Well, today Google officially announced the death of Wave. Apparently no one actually used it. Even though I was one of those "cool kids", and even though I too could not find a way to integrate it into my life, I think this is a shame. Wave WAS really innovative. And Wave did have remarkable potential as a collaborative tool / platform.
The lesson should be clear. Even the best inventions backed with tons of resources and hype don't necessarily catch on. The reason I never used Wave was that no one I knew ever used it. If I started a Wave (and in the beginning I started quite a few), chances were other people wouldn't notice. What's more, the people I am referring to gave similar reasons for their not using Wave. Think how similar this predicament is to any new form of currency. And our economic habits are much more deeply ingrained than our email habits.
Collective behavior changes do happen. Today they are happening very rapidly. But what drives this collective behavior modification is still as mysterious as ever. I'm not saying we in the new economy movement should give up. Indeed I see many reasons for optimism. I am saying that we need to be aware of the challenges ahead.