D.C. Denison reports on Watts Wacker and his new book The Deviant’s Advantage: How Fringe Ideas Create Mass Markets. Wacker (and coauthor Ryan Mathews) claim that deviants are the source of all innovation. Similar to Geoffrey Moore’s stages of adoption, they define five very specific stages in the progression from deviant to mainstream.
The “Fringe,” where the idea is hatched in the mind of the deviant; the “Edge,” where it starts to gather a small following; the “Realm of the Cool,” where trendsetters adopt it; the “Next Big Thing,” where it is celebrated on a much wider scale; and “Social Convention,” where your parents get on board.
The trick, Wacker said, is to capture a product or phenomenon in its deviant stage, ride it into the mainstream, and reap the profits – although there’s money to be made in all the stages.