Revolutions Take Time

An infinite number of works which very few students could have consulted in Paris, or Athens or in the libraries of other great university towns, are now translated into all languages and scattered abroad among all the nations of the world.

Werner Rolewinck, circa 1474

Revolutions take time. 

Profound innovation occurs more slowly than our imaginations, once we are excited by the possibilities.

Take the printing press. 

Gutenberg’s invention first appeared around 1440 but took more than 50 years to spread through Europe

Here’s a map depicting its physical adoption over the 2nd half of the 15th century: 

It took much longer to scale production — 100 years to double the number of books printed from the 16th to the 17th century and another hundred to double from the 17th to the 18th.

The Adoption Curve Is Accelerating

Technology adoption curves are steepening as real-time communications and global travel become ubiquitous.

In the US, 90% of households adopted the telephone in 80 years. This visual from Harvard Business Review shows that and how mobile phone adoption is occurring even faster.

Today, 4.66 billion people are online. If the internet was invented in 1983, then we have almost 60% of the world population using it in less than 40 years.

Blockchain Adoption

Earlier this year, we drew a Bitcoin adoption curve, Here it is:

We never labeled the X Axis with specific dates.

Like Yogi Berra once said, It’s tough making predictions, especially about the future.

We do know that over the past 5 years, the number of crypto users has increased 20 fold from 5 to 101 million.

(via Statista)

That’s a lot of people, but still less than 2% of the global population.

While we expect adoption to occur much faster than the printing press, it’s still going to take time.

Here are some related links:

Ideas, Technology, and Economic Change: The Impact of the Printing Press

How A Gutenberg Printing Press Works

How Print Has Changed The World