The endowment effect, the 9X problem and collaboration:
Nice summary from HBS. "the "endowment effect" [is when] we value items in our possession more than prospective items that could be in our possession, especially if the prospective item is a proposed substitute. We mentally compare having the prospective item to giving up what we already have (our 'endowment'), but because we're loss averse giving up what we already have (our reference point) looms large.
And Gourville points out three factors that make the situation worse for product developers who want their offerings to succeed. First is timing: adopters have to give up their endowment immediately, and only get benefits sometime in the future. Second, these benefits are not certain; the new product might not work as promised. Third, benefits are usually qualitative, making them difficult to enumerate and compare. ..
Because of all of the above, Gourville talks about the '9X problem' -- "a mismatch of 9 to 1 between what innovators think consumers want and what consumers actually want."1 The 9X problem goes a long way to explaining the tech industry folk wisdom that to spread like wildfire a new product has to offer a tenfold improvement over what's currently out there...
Email is a channel technology. It creates a private conduit between the sender and receiver. Other parties don't know that the email was sent, and can't consult its contents. Wikis, del.icio.us, Flickr, Myspace, Facebook, and YouTube, on the other hand, are all platform technologies. They accumulate content over time and make it visible and accessible to all community members. [They also foster emergence, where structure emerges rather than being imposed by "groupware" products.] .. So the new tools are not direct substitutes for email; instead, they're intended to provide capabilities that email can't. Will they succeed? It depends heavily, I believe, on whether companies and their managers want technology platforms for collaboration. This desire will be an important factor in solving email's 9X problem. " 1:44:26 PM