It's Official: Early Adopters Are Jackasses

A new study by Mindset Media and Nielsen Online has created a better profile of gadget lovers who tend to buy new technology early and often—and it’s no longer believed that they’re just “wealthy young males.” Instead, the early adopter type tends to score high in leadership and assertiveness, but low in modesty.

Avid tech consumers were also likely to be low in modesty and may be perceived as conceited or arrogant by others.

Low levels of modesty also correlate with what Welch calls “badge-buying”, or a tendency to buy luxury brands. “So there’s an element of pride in being able to have the latest and greatest, not just in the realm of technology, but in all other areas.”

The researcher behind the study said it could have implications for technology companies looking to attract new consumers. Coming soon: a gadget with the tagline, “You’re better than everyone else. Now prove it.”

“Gadget buyers more assertive, even arrogant” [Reuters via ZDNet]
(Photo: Getty)

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  1. DjDynasty says:

    I prefer “Your dick is smaller than everyone else, now prove it!”

  2. Bladefist says:

    It’s true. I’m gonna buy an iPod as soon as they come out.

  3. legwork says:

    No surprise. Those qualities, along with the persistence that often accompanies them, can be useful when beating new tech and its developers into submission.

  4. ConsumptionJunkie says:

    Retailers love EA’s. At Best Buy they are called “angels.”

  5. laserjobs says:

    @DjDynasty: DUDE!!! Let’s not get personal here. ;-)

  6. Dakine says:

    I guess I’m one of those people. I always have state-of-the-art computers, phones, gizmos, etc…. I have the biggest truck in a 5 square mile radius. 2 giant dogs. Giant overpriced house i can’t afford. I’m covered with tattoos from neck to fingertips. Not one, but three big widescreen tvs hanging on the walls. It seems to be a recurring theme in my life. Out-do the neighbors always and at any cost.

    But those types of personalities and attitudes reflect in other areas of life too. This does translate to business and leisure as well. Business because of the unrelenting drive to be the best and crush your competition. It shows up in leisure time as the guy that parties till sunrise and never admits to being ill for 3 days afterwards.

    My doc told me the name of this once….. it’s called being bipolar.

  7. madanthony says:

    early adopters may be jerks, but if there weren’t people out there who always had to have the latest and greatest, a lot of cool technology would never get off the ground. People like them give companies a reason to develop stuff, which eventually gets cheap enough (and gets the bugs worked out) for us low-self-esteem underachievers to buy and enjoy

  8. RodAox says:

    Well, if you pull out a mac book air out of a vanilla envelope at the airport i am pretty sure you are in this group

  9. Dakine says:

    Or it could be the “Fake it till you make it” theory.

    If you wear a $1k suit and carry/drive the latest toys, people will think you’re successful. Do it long enough and you will be. A theory with some merit because obviously if you look and smell like you’re homeless, you’re not going to get that sweet position with the 6 figure income.

  10. 12-Inch Idongivafuck Sandwich says:

    So an Early Adopter is a leader and assertive, while being somewhat arrogant…

    /don’t see the problem here at all

  11. sven.kirk says:

    I wouldn’t say jackass. I think they more of a dumbass.
    Blu vs. HD a prime example. Just about everyone knew that one format WILL die. Just when.
    Why waste $600 on a player that “might” survive the format wars.

  12. yagisencho says:

    While I was the first person I knew to buy an HD CRT television, I still haven’t bothered getting one of those huge wall-mounted LCD/Plasma displays. And since the CRT is only 34″, there’s no point in buying a Blu-Ray player.

    Not that I don’t perpetually lust after the newest and greatest gadgets…I just don’t always buy them. I must be mellowing in my ‘old’ age.

  13. TPK says:

    How does this correlate with the record attempt by Firefox for downloads of a brand new version today?

  14. AMetamorphosis says:

    What I want to know is do early adopters shop @ Walfart & if so do they mind shrinking sizes or prefer higher prices ?

  15. Dakine says:

    @AMetamorphosis:

    I consider myself an early-adopter, and i do not ever set foot inside wal-mart. Actually, most everything i buy is online, except groceries (ever since Web Van died)…. and i get the vittles at a local mom & pop store.

  16. dakotad555 says:

    I am sometimes an early adopter, sometimes not. I got an LCD HD TV back in 2003. I upgrade my computer every other year. However, I don’t have a blue-ray or HD player, don’t have a massive stereo system, or fancy car, etc… I buy things that I will enjoy using, and it just so happens that I enjoy awesome technology more that most other things. I spend my money on what will provide me the most entertainment. It’s not about modesty, it’s about priorities.

  17. Blackneto says:

    I never have been an early adopter.
    But I do appreciate those idiots that spend their money to be such.

    It saves me a lot of time fussing with a device since they have already paid to beta test it.

  18. Alex Chasick says:

    I don’t care; standing in line in DC for an hour after work to get an overpriced iPhone on June 29th was worth it, and I’ll be doing it again on July 11th. Thanks to Apple limiting supply of the first-gen iPhones and our nerdy brother’s advice, I ended up making a profit when I factor in the $100 Apple credit.

    [/assertiveness, even arrogance]

  19. dequeued says:

    Screw early adopters!

    I used a treo 650 for three years, when it died I upgraded… to a treo 680.
    The used 680 was $100 on craigslist.
    It is all I need in a cell phone, and more, and I am not getting a new phone until openmoko becomes available.

    I have also been using the same fourth generation ipod since I brought it in 2004, I have replaced the battery and the hard drive once, at a total cost of about $90.

    It annoys me that people think that we should be impressed because they are more willing to open their wallets.
    If anything, it has the opposite effect, I usually just think “wow, what a gullible moron”

    A few years ago, one of my classmates was showing off his sony portable music player, bragging about how expensive it was and how much better it is than anything else… and it turns out the damn thing can only play music in sony’s proprietary atrack drm format.
    What a retard.

  20. backbroken says:

    So, what you’re saying is that the 200 people who slept on the sidewalk so they could have the priviledge of spending $$$$ on the iPhone, did so mostly so they could come to work the next day and tell everyone about their new iPhone?

    Who knew?

  21. JDAC says:

    Doesn’t surprise me. This guy I used to work with always has the latest crap delivered to the office. Wii, delivered on launch day. Windows Vista Ultimate? On launch day.

    And true to this article, he was a fucking cock.

  22. spinachdip says:

    @madanthony: Amen to that. Early adopters are our living, breathing debuggers, who make sure that version 2.0 (or 1.0.1) is fit for human consumption.

    They are our feasibility testers. They are our reviewers. They cut through the marketing talk and let us know if a product is horrible or make you look like a jackass for using it.

    Early adopters may be dicks, but they serve a very important purpose. They are the most honorable of people, making the ultimate sacrifice so that we can live freely. I hate to use the word “hero” casually, but that is what they are. They might be fucking dickheads, but I cannot think of any role more noble than early adopter.

  23. rpm773 says:

    @Bladefist:

    Phht. I heard the Creative Nomad Jukebox, for a cool $495, is much better than that Ipod.

  24. Scuba Steve says:

    Good for them. The only time I’d be an early adopter is with Video Game Consoles and exotic supercars.

    Still working on that last one.

  25. simplegreen says:

    Everyone who purchases any apple product within the first 3 months, this headline is for you (ehem v1 Iphone buyers)

  26. BuddhaLite says:

    I’m generally not one of those people. My home computer is 7 years old. My TV is a widescreen but it’s a CRT and I bought it used. I always went with the free cell phones. But now I’ve gotta have the newest Blackberries when they come out. I wouldn’t camp out for one like people did with the iPhone though.

  27. sarcastibitch says:

    @RodAox: Manila, not vanilla. Although that’s not a bad idea, a vanilla envelope.

  28. PHX602 says:

    There’s a sucker born every minute, and everyone has their role in life.

    Some buy the latest and greatest gadget because they need to overcompensate for either confidence problem, getting the shit kicked out of them in high school, or basic hatred by the opposite sex. Hey, it keeps the economy running!

    As for me, I’m just a humble motherfucker with a big-ass dick.

  29. thelushie says:

    Arrogant? But by whose standards? There are people who see assertive, successful people (particularly assertive, successful women) and call them arrogant because they are jealous, threatened, etc. Granted, some early adopters are complete jerks. But probably alot of them are just successful and it is easier to attempt to tear someone down than to live up to a high standard.

  30. thelushie says:

    @DjDynasty: Those are the men who drive those stupid enormous pick-up trucks with no mufflers and a tiny pair of blue balls hanging off the back. These are not normal pick-up trucks. Seriously, how small does a dick have to be for a guy to want a truck that takes up two parking spaces.

  31. Dakine says:

    @thelushie:

    I resemble that remark.

    My truck is massive. Dodge Ram Quad Cab lifted 3 times. Some people prefer to put their money into something flashy like a Mercedes, Jaguar, Bentley…. whatever…. or possibly something cheap and easy on the gas. I prefer to ride 7 feet over everyone else. Crash into me, you may be killed in that Merc, but my bumper won’t even be scratched.

  32. arl84 says:

    This is so true!

    All the people I know who always have the latest and greatest gadgets are all douchebags.

    Sure there’s exceptions to the rule, as a lot of commenters here have pointed out that they camped out for the new iphone but they are not a douche.

    They are, however, a necessary evil. I’d rather they get frustrated with the new iphone and the new vista so that I can use the one with all the bugs worked out of it.

  33. Snarkysnake says:

    Phones
    Cars
    Air Conditioners
    Refrigerators
    Dishwashers
    TV
    Electricity

    All made “mass market” by early adopters.That means that we enjoy these things now for cheap because they at one time were playthings of the truly rich.

    Thank you, early adopters.

  34. Dakine says:

    @arl84:

    Vista is junk. Nobody should be using that anyway.

  35. Joey_Brill says:

    Thank goodness I’m poor and slow. Hell, I didn’t even catch a virus until XP.

    This apple shit isn’t about early adopters; it’s about addiction. They caught me with a white macbook and it eased my mind regarding viruses. Then I needed a macbook pro. Then I needed an iPhone. Then I needed an iMac. Then I needed an appleTV.

    Steve looks ill, I’m worried and my bank account is chanting while sticking pins in his voodoo doll.

  36. DjDynasty says:

    @Dakine: I’m indian, I’ll move next door to you, I’ll always be better than you. My neighbor is white, your neighbor is an Indian!

  37. DjDynasty says:

    @PHX602: Are ya single? Just how big :-P

  38. DjDynasty says:

    @thelushie: Not just a guy, I know of a woman who would take 3 parking spots at a tanning salon in her H1 Humvee. She owned a biker bar, was a real bitch, tanning people could time when she would come, and they would always keep a dirty bed, act like they were doing her a favor and give her double time for free cuz she was so nice, while all the customers who also hated this woman, would go outside and key her shit.

  39. DjDynasty says:

    @Joey_Brill: I switched to Mac BECAUSE of vista! Nothing I owned worked with it, and the machine was so top of the line, XP wouldn’t install correctly. Finally said screw it, got an iMac, VMWare Fusion, and I run XP pro, and my copy of Quicken I’ve been running forever.In fact it’s the only PC software I use, except for IE to get access to equifax’s site, it doesn’t like macs!

  40. PHX602 says:

    @DjDynasty:

    OK, I ain’t all that humble.

  41. induscreed says:

    How about:
    Some people just like owning cool stuff and can afford that lifestyle without breaking a sweat unlike you, and/or have different budgetary priorities.

    Why does how and where you spend your money have to define who you are, or prove that you are somehow trying to compensate for something that’s lacking in your life. I am sure for some that’s true, but I can probably find tons of people who are assholes who drive old cars, use cell phones that were cutting edge in 1999, still use google maps and think GPSs are a waste of money, cut coupons and professionally represent different parts of the corporate pecking order. Again that doesn’t mean a thing, I wouldn’t judge them just as much I wouldn’t judge a Hummer owner or someone who wants an iphone so bad that they are willing to camp out. Different people like different things are willing to trade something off to fulfill that need. Needs and wants being interchangeable to an extent.

    There a lot of other trucks, SUVs and luxury cars that have crappy gas mileage like the Hummer, and it’s somehow the Hummer whose reputation is so maligned. I guess going by this logic Prius,Yaris,Versa and other gas sipping, 4 banger econobox drivers are hung like moose.

  42. Not Alvis says:

    I want to think I’m not a jerk, so I’d like to throw in another category of early adopter: the geek/hacker/DIY guy

    We want the latest and greatest, but don’t care about sleekness and luxury brands; we’re after new and interesting tech, whether it’s consumer-ready or not.

    This is the guy who, before tiny all-in-one navigation systems, rigged an external antenna to a GPS receiver and laptop in his car. He buys a Blu-ray drive before there’s PC software available to play movies, just to poke around at the hardware. In general, he’s fascinated with technology and wants to use cutting-edge stuff for his own enjoyment, rather than being seen as an “early adopter”.

  43. timmus says:

    And the pope is Catholic.

    Can’t believe people actually get paid to make these conclusions.

  44. Trai_Dep says:

    Wouldn’t you have to be something of a leader and confident to be an early adopter? Seems obvious, really. Tech, food, movies, clothes: we’re all early adopters in some fashion. I hope.
    And they’re fine. So long as they don’t whine when the 1.1 version comes out. THOSE guys bug me. But thankfully, most only shrug.

  45. Lambasted says:

    Early Adopters aren’t jackasses. They are beneficent guinea pigs. I applaud their leap before look; storm the heavily fortified castle to rescue the Princess who, unbeknown to you, just sent you a Dear John letter; and “I’ll take two” attitudes. If it weren’t for them charging ahead to shell out top dollar for overpriced electronics, who else would test products so manufacturers can work out the kinks for the rest of us?

    Early adopters, you have my fondest gratitude.

  46. First adopters are jackasses only to the weak weenies who aren’t getting laid.

    It’s funny how the assertive, arrogant leader types always seem to end up with the hottest chicks and those who settle for last years tech or car or clothes always end up with a crimson palm.

    Alpha males will always be first. They will always have better stuff than you, be more charming and funny and confident than you are and while you may call him some sort of jackass, you are secretly jealous. It’s a classic case of sour grapes.

    How many times have you asked yourself, “Why do women always end up with these jerks?” You ask yourself but you never ask the women they’re with. The reason you don’t is because you don’t want to know.

    If you know one of these “jackasses” just hope he has his sights set on your sister and not your girlfriend as his next plaything.

  47. @Lambasted:

    Somebody has to be adventuresome. Some men go out into the world looking for new and exciting places and things to discover.

    If you’re happy traveling the interstate, good for you. Some of us would rather blaze new trails be it in the wilderness or in the tech jungle.

  48. MisterE87 says:

    Just my two cents: I’m single with a high disposable income. I love getting the latest and greatest stuff, because it’s what I like. My car is so teched out, When I trade it in a few years from now it will probably still be better equipped than most.

    As for phones, that’s the business that I’m in so it’s partly for the fact that I’m interested in staying on top of my game that I will always be getting the latest models. The Blackberry Thunder can’t come fast enough!

    I don’t know why early technology adopters always seem to catch a bad rep. No one frowns on the elderly neighbor who goes out and buys a boat or RV, so what’s wrong with spending my money on things I want now, rather than later? I’m not going to scrimp pennies my whole life so I can buy what I want when I’m 60. I’d rather enjoy the ride too, than just the pie-in-the-sky idea of being that much richer when I’m wrinkly.

  49. aka Cat says:

    Sometimes I’m an early adopter, sometimes I’m not. It depends on how big of an improvement the gadget is over the previous technology.

    * VCR? Huge improvement over no control over the TV schedule.
    * TiVo? Enormous improvement over the VCR.
    * DVD? Ditto.
    * HD DVD? Meh. My vision is 20/40 and my (LCD) TV is 32″, I’ll buy one when it gets difficult to buy/rent regular DVDs.

    Lather rinse repeat for every gadget in my life.

  50. Lambasted says:

    @The Rude Bellman: As I said, “You have my fondest gratitude.”

    Although, I scoff at the romanticizing spin men have put on what really amounts to snatching up the first sucker bait Microsoft, Samsung, and Sony dangle in front of you. Paying $500 for an iPhone is not assertive, alpha dog, love ‘em-and-leave ‘em, wham-bam-thank you-ma’am, behavior. It boils down to grown-up boys wanting more toys to play with once Atari and Coleco weren’t exciting enough.

    No wonder this country is losing its high stature around the world if American men are now measuring their manhood with being the first to watch TV (on 50″ LCD), play video games (on PS3), and talk on a picture phone (on an iPhone). “Hide the silver ma! We’re gonna get invaded soon! The real men are busy playing video games on their widescreen HDTV.”

  51. They also tend to have more money than brains. If you buy something as soon as it comes out, you end up with a obsolescent relic within a year or two, one that you spent way too much money on. Today’s Sony Betamax, bag phone, or Intel 8088-based PC will show up in garage sales and thrift stores fast enough to really piss you off.

  52. Dakine says:

    @induscreed:

    In my opinion, (and many other war vets like myself) the Hummer got a bad rap from the jump not because of lousy gas mileage, but because it’s a pretty rich boy wannabe version of a true military vehicle. I busted alot of knuckles and shed alot of blood working on those things in Iraq.

    And then some mama’s boy comes along with his silver spoon and decides he needs to have one, but with spinners, a yellow paintjob and 50 Cent blaring out of it. Retarded indeed.

  53. Dakine says:

    By the way, for those that didn’t know…. “Hummer” was what we called them in the military. It’s slang for it’s real name which is HMMV. Or “Hum Vee”.
    It stands for: High Mobility Military Vehicle.

  54. CaptainConsumer says:

    Yes, yes, early adopters, I think I saw some of them showing their true colors in the news and on TeeVee acting like crybabies after the original iPhone dropped in price

  55. @Bladefist: iSheep

  56. flyingphotog says:

    @RodAox:

    Vanilla envelope? Om nom nom nom!

  57. crabbyman6 says:

    @Lambasted: I completely agree, I’m glad someone out there is willing to field test high price gadgets for me so in a few months I can decide if I really want it and all the bugs are worked out. I hold no ill will towards early adopters, once I’m through grad school and have more disposable income I’ll probably be one myself. However, for now I’m content to be a fashionably-late adopter to see all the kinks worked out before I plunk down my cash.

  58. @DjDynasty:

    YES.

  59. Trai_Dep says:

    Wow, such resentment towards people that like being first. Bitter, much?

  60. DaisyGatsby says:

    “In chess,the pawns go first.” –Magneto, X-Men The Last Stand

    Pawns = Early Adopters

  61. LynxWinters says:

    I love how so many people here seem to be equating buying things with sexual prowess and frequency. I’m no psychologist but that really does scream “feelings of inadequacy” to me, regardless or if they’re valid feelings or not.

    I have nothing against early adopters who get new things to see how they work or compare them hands-on to older models or anything like that. I’d be a hypocrite in that case, since if I can buy a brand-new whatever that I really really want and can easily afford, I do it. I have nothing against early adopters who just like having new things. However, I do have a thing against people that are obnoxious assholes who use buying the shiny new toy as a way of getting attention the percieved admiration of their peers. It’s nothing to do with jealousy over their new toy because most of the time I really don’t care about whatever they bought. It’s the fact that they’re being an obnoxious asshole about the fact that they went to a store and spent money.

    Chances are, if they weren’t being an asshole about new tech, they’d be an asshole about something else. Someone who’s going to go on and on about how they’re “better than you” will find a way to do it regardless of income, property, beliefs, physical attributes, etc. Assholes are assholes.

  62. @The Rude Bellman: “Alpha males will always be first. … How many times have you asked yourself, “Why do women always end up with these jerks?” You ask yourself but you never ask the women they’re with. The reason you don’t is because you don’t want to know. If you know one of these “jackasses” just hope he has his sights set on your sister and not your girlfriend as his next plaything. “

    Oh please. Hot chicks prefer nerds. These “alpha males” of whom you speak make excellent sugar daddies, but rotten husbands, and intelligent, talented women with just as much going for them as these self-consciously alpha “alpha males” can do SO MUCH BETTER than that kind of asshole.

    Money, toys, and a flashy asshole personality gets you needy, gold-digging, social-climbing partners. Intelligent, attractive, talented people who are secure in themselves a) have their own money and b) don’t need to flash it around to compensate for personality flaws. They can afford to wait for someone with some substance to them instead of glomming on to the first asshole with money who comes down the pike.

  63. mthrndr says:

    @RodAox: “Vanilla envelope” hahahahahaha! Though for all intensive purposes, I understood that you meant a whole nother thing by that. Irregardless, you could of just been suffering from oldtimer’s disease, so I can’t hardly make fun.

  64. mthrndr says:

    @PHX602: THE BUNK!

  65. gliscameria says:

    Booo…

    Being an ‘early adopter’ of one or two things is acceptable if they are things you use and gain from, but if you have the latest and greatest of everything, even crap you don’t need, then you are probably a major dick.

  66. Hammerfall10 says:

    @Eyebrows McGee:

    Yeah, go on, thats if you want to get married. Im sure you will find someone like that, and Im sure the alpha male will too eventually. But while both do, the alpha male will have more fun along the way.:)

  67. LynxWinters says:

    Also, who the hell other than assholes actually describes themselves as “alpha males?”

    Other than Brucie, of course. GENETICALLY DIFFERENT!

  68. revmatty says:

    One thing I haven’t seen mentioned as a side benefit of the early adopters: cheap refurbs. OK, that’s not just a result of early adopters, but they contribute significantly to the supply of refurbed geek toys that I then buy 6-9 months after it comes out at a deep discount. In general I like to be one iteration behind the cutting edge for computers and related items, outside of that I don’t care how far behind I am as long as it works for what I want it to do.

  69. BytheSea says:

    I don’t see how these characteristics don’t describe “wealthy young males.”

  70. Zephyr7 says:

    Early Adopters, BMW drivers and blog commenters…

  71. PHX602 says:

    @mthrndr:

    Thank you! Perhaps one of the greatest lines in television history. A close runner-up is Bunk talking about his cologne…pussy!