The pattern that I've observed repeatedly is that of a visionary who thinks in large terms of how Things Could Be Better. In order to gain support, funding, etc., the visionary feels obligated to make grand promises to sell the vision. Hype and bandwagoning follow. The hard work to realize the desired benefits takes more attention span than the hypesters and bandwaggoners, who were hoping for a Quick Win and a Big Payday. Their enthusiasm turns to frustration, and The Bubble Bursts. The trade press consensus is that the the vision is unrealistic, and attention turns to The Next Big Thing After That.
Meanwhile, seeds continue to germinate (and to interact with other contemporary big ideas in unexpected ways). After sufficient time, the true long-term benefits of the original ideas begin to emerge into routine practice, although in specific forms that nobody - including the original visionary - predicted.
I still don't have a flying car, but our 'Net connected cell phones and Blackberries far surpass the capabilities of Dick Tracy's "2-Way Wrist Radio".
Joel Neely on LtU: