The Pace of Technology Adoption

Columbia business professor Rita McGrath has a brief blog post at Harvard Business Review demonstrating that technological innovations are being adopted more quickly than in the past. For example, “it took decades for the telephone to reach 50% of households, beginning before 1900.  It took five years or less for cellphones to accomplish the same penetration in 1990.”

Furthermore, “it took 30 years for electricity and 25 years for telephones to reach 10% adoption but less than five years for tablet devices to achieve the 10% rate.”


McGrath concludes, “It’s clear that in many arenas things are indeed speeding up, with more players and fewer barriers to entry.” Just one more reason I’m optimistic about the future of living standards.


1 thought on “The Pace of Technology Adoption”

  1. Well, the numbers would be a little more even if you took that anomaly called WWII out of the equation. But, I do agree that we are more accepting of new tech now than we were even ten years ago.

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