Cutting Edge vs. Tried and True Technology: Which is Better?


As a web developer, I have to keep up with technology all of the time. There are new things coming out everyday. With so many new things coming out so quickly, it can be hard to know what is good and what is not. We need to know when to go after the latest thing and also know when to use something that has always worked. So how do we know when we should get the latest thing or just stick to what we already have? That is the goal of this article. I will give you my thoughts on what to look out for when it comes to new technology. I will also tell you when it is better to stay with something reliable that has always worked for you.

What is Cutting Edge Technology?

This is a common term used to describe brand new technology that is new and exciting. There might be claims that this cutting edge technology is either faster than what already exists out there. Or even easier to implement and maintain, saving you time and energy. How do I know if all of this is really that good? Is this too good to be true? Maybe, let us take a look at how to research brand new technology.

Look At How Long the Technology Has Been Out For

If something has just come out just a month or two ago, it is still pretty new. You need to make sure that this is something that has had time to mature and actually does what it claims. So take some time to look at the release or launch date because the time does make a difference in whether technology is ready to use or not. The next section will talk about adoption rate and how it determines the success of a technology.

Is the Adoption Rate High?

I mentioned in the previous section that if something was just released, then it might be too early to use it. However, you should consider the adoption rate of the technology after release. The adoption rate is the rate at which people are learning and understanding the technology at a point where they are comfortable using it. 

A high adoption rate indicates that people accept it and feel it offers value to them. Even though it might take time for people to assimilate the technology, it will take as much time as it needs. Society cannot possibly integrate new technology overnight. Rather, it takes time to build trust and confidence in people so that they feel that they are being provided with something that is actually worth something to them.

Building Trust, Confidence and Value With Your Users

Just like with anything in life, anything brand new will be met with some skepticism and doubt. People need to know if what this is, is truly better than what they already have. If this is something that is too weird or too hard to use, then maybe it is just not the right time. Sometimes new stuff is great, but is too early for society to accept. Timing plays a large role in whether brand new technology is welcomed whole-heartedly or given the cold shoulder. People will let you know if the time is right. These things can be difficult to time right depending on shifts in the market and society. If you deliver the right technology at the right time, then it will flourish.

What If the Timing is Just Not Right?

Your technology might be met with a cold embrace because it is taking longer for people to understand the value in it. This is very common and it means that you must spend a lot more time and effort in properly educating your users. The more complex and complicated your stuff is, the more out of your way you must go to show users the value in what you are offering. 

One way to do this is to relate your technology to something popular and common that people are already familiar with. Then you state how your’s is better than the status quo and what benefits it offers. This requires you to be very clear and direct because you face an uphill battle in proving that what you have is something that people want.

Once people start to warm up to you, then they will give you support that will make it easier to show others how good your technology is. 

Receiving Support is Crucial for New Technology

You need a lot of support from users to get your new technology off the ground. I already mentioned a high adoption rate but support is important too. Adoption rate is just people using your technology. Support is where you get a lot of buzz and people are praising your stuff all over the place. I feel that using your technology is one thing, but having people spread it all over is another. Sometimes these things can sell themselves and you do not have to put so much effort into it. The beginning is the hardest part because you have to make something with nothing. As you gain momentum, then things should get easier.

This is how it is with new technology, exciting but very very unstable. I mean no one likes to be a guinea pig and be the first one to dive head first.

Being a Guinea Pig: Someone Has to Go First

Have you ever had that feeling when you wanted to try something brand new but you were not sure of it? You were worried because you do not know what will happen or if it is even safe for you. Imagine if there were a lot of curious people who just stood around waiting for someone to go first. Then nothing would happen and we would all be left wondering. I feel that we all like that with new technology. Someone has to be the first one to use it and tell everyone if it is good or not. What is holding people back? Not only is it unknown of new technology, but what about the price?

New Technology is Very Expensive and Therefore Inaccessible to the General Public

People do not want to have to spend money if they do not need to. If possible, people will spend the time to look for free options because with a little hard work, you can find it. I mean, look at this blog. I have articles showing you free alternatives for a lot of things, like Microsoft Office, web development, and PhotoShop. Free is great because it is in most cases just as good as its paid alternative.

When something new comes out, it is just too expensive for people to afford. Only a few people will be available to afford it while the rest of us have to wait for the price to come down. For those of us who are patient, we will definitely benefit from just waiting for the price to drop. Besides, what is so important that we need to have as soon as it comes out. The latest phone? Why? They seriously have just become some kind of status symbol since we always have them out in public.

The high cost of newly released technology means that its high price places a wall between it and many people in society. What this means is that this situation can foster a slower adoption rate because people do not have easy access to it. This is just a consequence of something that is both new and expensive. Also, you might be paying to become a tester for a brand new product that has not been fully tested. Are you ready for bugs?

Have I Mentioned That Newly Released Technology Is Riddled With Bugs?

Sometimes stuff gets released so fast in order to make a profit that they have not been fully tested. This makes some product launches failures with all of the bugs being unleashed onto the populace. Careful, you early adopters. You guys are guinea pigs paying a lot for something that is brand new and could possibly have bugs in it. This just comes with the territory because companies need to turn a profit off their products as soon as possible for either two things to happen. One, competition comes around the corner and two, people lose interest waiting for a product to come out.

There seems to be so many issues with cutting edge technology. Is new really better? Let us contrast that with stuff that is tried and true.

What is Tried and True?

Tried, true and trusted right? These are things that have always worked and should continue to work in the foreseeable future. People like these kinds of technology because they generally have been fully adopted into society and people already understand the value in them. So there is no curiosity or doubt on whether this is something that you should use. Just ask anyone. More often than not, you will find someone who has already used what you are asking about.

Boring But Safe: At Least You Know That It Works

Tried and true, sticks to you like glue. Do you like that line? It is true though. If you know that something already works, you are more likely to go to it when you need something right away that just works. There is no need to spend time researching and wondering if this is the right choice for you. Researching is a time consuming process and even then, you can only learn so much about something before you become tired and just want to get it already. We have a million things going on in our lives. So we need to finish what we are currently occupied with and move onto the next thing. This is why tried and true technology is great for people who just want something for now and want to move on.

Mature Technology Faces a Short Shelf-Life

Everything has both a start and an end. Nothing lasts forever and that is the one thing about tried and true technology. If you use something that has been out for several years, then you might be getting into something that will eventually hit the end of life. So in this case, you might have considered getting something newer that will last longer even though it is more expensive. Staying with something old means that you will have to replace it eventually. Replacing things is hard because we might not be able to find an exact alternative and will have to settle for the next best thing.

Older Technology Has to Be Replaced Sooner

Typically, old technology means that it will someday stop working. When that day comes you will have to replace it. Even the most reliable of products will reach their last day also. The goal is to find something that you feel will last you a long time so that you really get your money’s worth out of it. This is not always easy to do because sometimes things break and the unexpected happens. In general, older technology means that it is closer to its end.

What is the Difference Between the Two?

The main difference between the two is they serve different groups of people who are looking for different things. cutting edge technology is great for those who want to invest long-term in something that they expect will last long. Think big-ticket expensive items like homes, cars, electronics. Things that you know you will keep for a long time and will not be giving up anytime soon.

Long-Term Versus Short-Term Ownership

I started off already talking about new technology being good for long-term investments. These are things that are essential to your life and cannot compromise on their quality and safety. So in the case of products that are already naturally expensive and not as disposable, then cutting edge is the way to go.

For cheaper items that you will just spend a few dollars one and will dispose and replace whenever it breaks, then tried and true technology is great. These are purchases meant just for the short-term and something that you want to have now with little research. These products do not warrant much thought when it comes to their purchase because short-term ownership means that you will not keep it for long anyway.

Which One is Better?

Both cutting edge and tried and true technologies are important for the value that they offer. This means that you need to balance between the two and need to know when to choose one over the other. In some of my articles, I provide you with a clear choice and what I prefer. In this case however, both are good depending on your own individual needs.


Knowing the difference between cutting edge and tried and true technology is important as we navigate in a world that is advancing at a highly alarming rate. Technology is changing so fast that we almost cannot keep up with it everyday. Good thing that adoption rates tend to be slow because not everyone can pick up or even afford brand new stuff to use anyway.

Cutting edge technology is great because it is new and exciting. Sometimes brand new means that things are coming out too fast before people even afford them. No one wants to be a guinea pig to pay a lot of money to try something out that was rushed with bugs. New stuff takes time to raise its adoption rate and gain support. Building trust and confidence in people is hard when there is stuff out there that people are already using.

This contrasts with tried and true technology that people have already been using for several years. Old technology has its issues too. Stuff that has been around for too long might be boring for some and people might go and look for something new. Also, old stuff will eventually reach the end of life and have to be replaced.

The goal here is to know if you will keep the technology for long-term or short-term. More expensive items that you have to keep in good condition for a long time are better to be newer. Stuff that you will only have for a short while can be older.

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