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Leonardo Montini for This is Learning

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Exploiting the Hype Cycle in Tech

Hold on a second, it's called Hype Cycle, but actually... it's not a cycle. I mean, there are 5 stages and when a technology reaches the final one, it does not go back to the first one.

Anyway, The Hype Cycle.

If you want a simple definition, it's a graphical representation of how much expectation a technology has at a given time.

And what is the purpose, you might ask? Well, being able to locate your favourite javascript framework in one of the 5 stages is a way to understand if it's the right time to use it in production or maybe you should wait a bit more or mostly use it in side projects. Which is always fine.

I recently purchased an RGB light for my background which is a valid reason to go watch the video I just recorded about the Hype Cycle. You can watch it here, or keep reading as this article is exactly the script I wrote and recorded :)

The 5 stages

So what are those 5 stages? Let's look at them one by one.

Innovation Trigger

This is the first stage. A new technology is born.

It's usually a research project or a prototype, absolutely not ready for production and it's not even clear if it will ever be.

It's that new thing, your colleague always informed on trends might have mentioned at the coffee break, but that's pretty much all you know about it.

Peak of Inflated Expectations

A few weeks have passed since that conversation at the coffee break and at this point you've heard about that technology a few more times.

Someone is already doing some experiments with it and wow, it looks really promising!

It's definitely faster than the current standards, easier to use, more reliable... it's just better! In theory.

Trough of Disillusionment

Remember those promising experiments? Well, they didn't scale.

Theoretically, the new toy was better under any circumstance, but in practice, it started showing out some flaws and limitations.

People are now more skeptical then ever and the technology is deemed as a failure.

Slope of Enlightenment

Most of the people have already forgotten about the new technology, it's a thing of the past that just did not work.

However, there's still a small group of people looking at the bright side and trying to overcome the limitations.

More applications are built, some flaws are identified and fixed and you know what, for some specific use cases, it's actually becoming a viable solution. Even for production!

Plateau of Productivity

If a technology gets all the way to this stage, which is not guaranteed, it means that it has found its place in the market.

We learned how to use it, which problems it solves and which ones it does not.

In case you have a problem that can be solved with that technology, it is indeed one of the cards you can play.


To wrap up, do all technologies go through each and all of the 5 stages? As I briefly mentioned for the last stage, no, not necessarily.

Some technologies might just die at any of the stages, but also among the ones reaching the plateau of productivity, some can go faster and some others might take a bit of time.


If you're curious about who came up with this concept, it's from Gartner, a research and advisory company. Every year they publish a new update but the full research is only for paying customers.

Regardless of that, I think it's a very interesting concept and it's a good way to understand how to approach new technologies.


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Top comments (2)

fyodorio profile image

Interesting, didn’t think anyone would dissect this shite in a scientific way but it sounds reasonable 👍

valvonvorn profile image
val von vorn

This sounds much too positive in reality AI, Web3 etc. lol of hypes are nothing but fads with very little value but great deception potential sadly