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IT Pros: How to Know When You’ve Jumped on the Hype Train

IT Pros: How to Know When You’ve Jumped on the Hype Train

All aboard the hype train—departing soon!

I think most people love to have the latest and greatest thing. Lines outside of Apple stores waiting for each new product is proof enough.

I’m terrible for it myself, like a magpie drawn to a shiny object. If something is new and exciting, I tend to want to check it out. And it doesn’t just apply to tech products, either. I like to read up about new cars as well… but I digress.

So, what’s the purpose of my article here? HYPE! Hype is the bane of anyone’s life whose job it is to identify if a new tech product has any substance to it. I want to try to help identify if you’re looking at marketing hype or something potentially useful.

Does any of this sound familiar?

  • Everything will move to the cloud; on-premises is dead.
  • You don’t need tape for backups anymore.
  • Hyper-converged infrastructure will replace all your traditional three-tier architectures.
  • Flash storage will replace spinning disk.

The above statements are just not true. Well, certainly not as a blanket statement. Of course, there are companies with products out there to help move you in the direction of the hype, but it can be for a problem that never needed to be solved in the first place.

The tech marketing machines LOVE to get a lot of information out into the wild and say their product is the best thing since sliced bread. This seems to be particularly prevalent with start-ups who’ve secured a few successful rounds of venture capital funding and can pump it into marketing their product and bringing it to your attention. Lots of company-branded swag is usually available to try and entice you to take a peek at the product on offer. And who can blame them? At the end of the day, they need to shift product.

Unfortunately, this makes choosing products tough for us IT professionals, like trying to find the diamond amongst the coal. If there’s a lot of chatter about a product, it could be mistaken for word-of-mouth referrals. You know, like, “Hey Jim, have you used Product X? I have and it’s awesome.” The conversation might look more like this if it’s based on hype: “Hey Jim, have you seen Product X? I’m told it’s awesome.”

The key difference here is giving a good recommendation based on fact vs. a bad recommendation based on hearsay. Now, I’m not pooh-poohing every new product out there. There are some genuinely innovative and useful things available. I’m saying, don’t jump on the bandwagon or hype train and buy something just because of a perception in the marketplace that something’s awesome. Put those magpie tendencies to one side and exercise your due diligence. Don’t buy the shiny thing because it’s on some out-of-this-world deal (it probably isn’t). Assess the product on its merits and what it can do for you. Does it solve a technical or business problem you may have? If yes, excellent. If not, just walk away.

A Little Side Note

If I’m attending any IT trade shows with lots of exhibitors, I apply similar logic to identify to whom I want to speak. What are my requirements? Does vendor X look like they satisfy those requirements? Yes: I will go and talk to you. No: Walk right on by. It can save you a lot of time and allows you to focus on what matters to you.


Ian is a Technology Solutions Specialist for virtualization specialist SITS Group in northeast England. He has 11 years’ experience in the IT industry, with a focus on virtualization technologies for the last 8 years.