Viewfinder: Do You Know Who You Are?

Readers of special interest magazines have a few things in common. You are all seeking enlightenment. You want the latest information so you can make excellent decisions and become more proficient in your pursuits. As a result, you are extremely well informed about matters within your area of affinity. Readers of special interest magazines tend to be really good at what they do.

The people that you encounter look to you for video leadership. They know how well informed you are. They know that you study the market and purchase the most appropriate products to achieve your goals. You learn about the latest technology before most other people do. Once you purchase these new technology products, you become an "early adopter," a phrase coined by Everett Rogers in his 1995 book, Diffusion of Innovations. In the book, he theorizes that the early adopters of an innovation profoundly influence the innovation-decisions of later adopters.

Early adopters are willing to take risks on purchasing innovative products that are new to the market. Occasionally, this leads to frustration, such as when a product category fails to mature into a solid market niche (e.g. Beta format VCRs). This risk is what thrills you and is also what scares away the faint of heart.

Many of you purchased a DV camcorder in spite of the fact that no one you knew had one yet. You read about the merits of the DV format in this magazine months before the products were available on the market. When the first DV camcorders came out, you purchased one because you wanted all that DV camcorders had to offer. When your friends and associates saw you using your new camcorder, they asked lots of questions. And you had lots of answers. Once they became comfortable with the new product category, perhaps years later, they too may have purchased one.

What you may not have been aware of is that they may never have purchased a DV camcorder if it hadn’t been for your pioneering purchase. You proved that the new product category was valid.

The latest category for early adopters is DVD production. The newest and most exciting thing about DVD production is the unique authoring opportunities to create a non-linear, tape-free video experience. This can be something as simple as six chapters in a linear video presentation, but the real challenge is producing a DVD that is not linear at all. In these types of DVDs, the viewer must navigate through the video content and interact with the media.

I encourage you to experiment with producing a highly interactive DVD. As early adopters, I am sure that you’ll be the first one on your block to do so. Just remember that you’re doing more than creating a DVD. You’re also leading your peers to try something new.

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