Early Adopter or Slow Processor

Chad Wakefield
2 min readNov 13, 2021


I suppose we are all a little of both. Something grabs us early before those around us pick up on it, while another gets to us after it’s passé because we’re in a slower headspace.

I think of myself as a slow processor. Not because I’m waiting for proof or I’m doing my own clinical trials. Just the way it is.

Yet, I often find myself in roles where I’m on the spot to respond without much time to prepare. I’m an easy one to get on an island also.

Of course these are two different things. But I see them as related. They are traits.

Early adoption is tied more to new tech, music. The geek who’s actually the coolest kid around because they see the genius of the iPhone immediately or saw the Smells Like Teen Spirit video on Head Bangers Ball months before their friends did and knew it would change the course of music. There’s a spirit to it, as early adopters I think are mostly on the hunt, hyper alert. Not necessarily gathers. Early adoption is a much more aggressive mindset.

Slow processing is about how the brain works processing information, ideas, and ultimately a response. It’s not about needing more information necessarily. Not about urgency (even though I suspect slow processors are viewed as not having much urgency). Just longer to arrive.

Challenge with being a slow processor and being put in a position to need to adopt an outlook quickly is getting ahead of your comfort zone and natural position. Sure pushing, or being pushed, can be good. But the down side is getting in a spot where you have to walk things back. Challenges credibility.

So if your a slow processor pushed to adopt early, you have to develop some other tools. Political skills. Advising up front that the position may change after more consideration or collection of more information.

Progressive elaboration is probably a better fit. Build on, redo some stuff, add features.

Not sure where I’m going with this. It’s Saturday morning and something just struck me.