I love this chart which speaks to how nascent technology is perceived over time, the so-called “hype cycle.” Expectations shoot through roof, then nosedive like a bad day on Wall Street and eventually level out once the true potential is established and bought into. The cloud has followed this path during the past year and is closing in on “slope of enlightenment” in my opinion.

I found the chart at author Seth Godin’s blog in which post says technologies labor for years in obscurity before they even reach the “technology trigger” stage. He thinks the hype cycle, might, well, er, be hype!

 “Just about every innovation I know of has to make it through the wilderness before it gets anywhere close to a hype cycle. The wilderness is the term for the years (or decades) that a founder/entrepreneur/artist/technology must spend being ignored and unfunded before the breakthrough of overnight success occurs.”

In other words, a technology innovation has just about made it when it reaches the “technology trigger” stage.  

The chart, according to Wikipedia, was developed by Gartner in 1995 to track emerging technologies as they were heavily flogged by PR firms, vendors and analysts…and yes, we the media. No other other industry is more hyped than technology. Need a hype detector? Then click here to read the top 100 technology hype terms. Beware when you see these terms!

Of course, the hype cycle shown here isn’t very useful by itself. So it comes out on a annual basis and shows where the various technolgoies are in the cycle. Click here for 2011 and here for 2010. There’s also a hype cycle that notates funding stages and where technologies are in their development.

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