|Niles Crane (Frasier TV Series) on a|
Segway. Full original picture link
Recent discussions reminded me of this.
Did you go to a 10 year celebration of the Segway? Complete with the 10th Anniversary Edition launch? What? No? Was there even a PBS documentary on life before Segways?
I remember the hype, do you? For months we were teased by this device that would revolutionize transportation and all that. It was a hush hush secret. Nobody would need a car or public transportation in the cities, etc.etc. Perhaps because the originals cost $5K, or you had to stand, or there was no protection from the elements, or perhaps all three and then some ... but the Segway never did really even catch on as a trendy gadget or status symbol, let alone change transportation in our time.
By all objective measures, the Segway was a dud. I don't know a single person (in real life) who owns one -- or at least who will admit they do! I've never seen any "private" person using one. By that I mean that nowadays you will see them in use, but not by ordinary people in the course of doing their ordinary personal business. Who uses these? Well, I've seen them fairly regularly used by ... mall security guards and parking meter attendants.
There are many more examples of the point I'm getting at. Solar powered homes and electric cars come to mind. These are even heavily subsidized and incentivized by government. And yet relatively nobody still wants them. The Segway bombed because no amount of hype and pomp and circumstance could convince the public they had to have one. And yet despite knowing that the latest fill in new phone/computer/gaming-device here will likely cost a mere fraction of the launch price within months, people still flock to buy it ... camping out overnight for even just a chance to do so.
Marketing. Advertising. It only works if they give you what you want.