I did it again: early adapter, early adopter, damn! I hate it when that happens. In my last post, I called myself an early adapter but should have written early adopter. So, under the premise that if literate good-speller/good-writer me makes this mistake, then others must, here’s a correction and clarification from Simon Cooke at Accidental Scientist:

Folks, please, don’t make the mistake that one head of marketing at Sierra I used to know did (and fought me tooth and nail on it, insisting that they were correct), and call the people you’re relying on to buy your product early in the game early adapters. The phrase you are looking for is early adopter.

Note the ‘O’.

This is someone who is part of the first vanguard of people to ever use a new thing. They adopt the thing early on. (Adopt meaning “to take up and practice as one’s own”). An early adapter, however, is someone who takes something early on and, like McGuyver or the A-Team, adapts it to their own nefarious purposes. This usually involves and/or incorporates duct tape somewhere in the process, a pocketknife, and potentially a Sharpie permanent marker. Big difference.

So I stand corrected. Better late than never. Thanks Simon (and Eve, at Entrepreneur.com, who caught it first.)

Tim BerryTim Berry

Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software and Bplans.com. Follow him on Twitter @Timberry.