I can easily recall the first time I learned about the idea of ‘activation energy’ during a chemistry class in school. While rooted in chemicals, reactions and catalysts, the same metaphor works so well for describing human nature. We understand the final state is better than the current one yet don’t like the effort involved in getting there. Crossing over the activation ‘hump’ is not necessarily the biggest problem a system will face but it’ll certainly be an early one.
Techniques that reduce the height of, and therefore effort needed to overcome, the hump can be easly evaluated. For example, as a business owner I’ll happy provide a potential customer with a discount coupon since I’ll recoup that loss and still make a profit on the rest of their business.
By how much can the hump be reduced? Finding an arrangement that can make this hump zero, negative, or at least perceived that, results in potential customers/users ‘sliding up the hill’ towards adoption. What an enviable position to be in!
(This post was inspired by my discovery of Github gists, a low effort, high reward mechanism for sharing snippets of code.)