When it comes to implementing or even inventing new technology how does the High-End industry react? Are we pushed, pulled or dragged?
It is different for each company.
For example, pushing the latest technology is something PS Audio and a few other forward thinking companies do - we are in the minority. The mainstream high-end companies implement new technology only when there's enough customer demand to pull it through the system; they represent the majority. Traditionalist companies add technology only when forced into it by lagging sales and are dragged along - they too are in the minority. So we have a nice bell curve that represents the tech implementation trend with the majority in the "wait and see" camp.
I bring this up not to pass judgment, but to point out there are both benefits and pitfalls to each company's strategy for implementing new technology. Being first isn't always a good idea, nor is being one of many making the same product - but sometimes it's exactly what you want. So this begs the question for both customers and manufacturers alike: what's your strategy and why?
As a customer, what's your buying strategy? Do you always go to the latest greatest, wait for everyone else to buy in, or go into something only after being dragged by circumstances?
And the the same question applies to manufacturers: do you create new, go along with new only after it's safe, or wait till there's no other choice?
These questions are not new, they actually describe a well known curve about early adopters, but I do think this is a subject not explored enough in high-end audio circles.
I certainly don't have any magic answers but I do think this is a topic worthy of further discussion. In the next few posts, we'll take a look at some of the history and perhaps a few case studies to get you thinking.