Once You See a Bandwagon, It’s Too Late
Bandwagon; when a small number of people make a success out of something and everyone else jumps in, trying to get a piece of the action.
The problem with bandwagons, though, is that the success has already been had. To make anywhere close to what those first lucky few made is damned near impossible.
The Goldrush was one of the very first bandwagons. A miner struck gold at a Californian sawmill, prompting thousands to flock to the area trying to get some of the same. The first few managed somewhat, finding a bit more gold, but as word got out hundreds of thousands started flocking and quickly realised there wasn’t anything left.
Let’s look at the Bitcoin bandwagon, for example.
Since its inception around 2008 and until the 3 year-ish mark, Bitcoin was trading between $0.01-$20 per coin. Only a small amount of people took notice. It was new, small and seemingly quite complex, many didn’t bother to learn more, some thinking it was a fad and most simply not knowing or understanding it.
Fast-forward to December 2017 when the value of one Bitcoin jumped to an eye-watering $17,549.67. This made a lot of Bitcoin holders rich.
Many, many ears pricked up and took notice and then tried to get involved in the action. What they didn’t realise though, was that the main short term gain had already been had and it was too late to obtain the same ludicrous magnitude of success. The Bandwagon was formed.
The Bitcoin bandwagon is still in full force today, whilst you read this there are countless cryptocurrency trading platforms opening up, existing platforms aggressively pushing bitcoin as an investment and many other different cryptocurrencies forming.
We are creatures of trend, social proof and social in-grouping. Our instincts push us to be part of social groups because, in our evolution, it gave us the best chance of survival.
As a result our evolution has left us with the need to be part of the group which also means we have a tendency to follow each other and follow trends once they’ve formed. We have a particular pull to follow successful members of our species.
Fashion is an example, fashion trends are cyclical. Styles go in and out of fashion because the many follow the few.
Economies also have discernible trends which tend to repeat themselves.
Once a trend has repeated, like when prices in housing markets fall and people in-the-know start buying up property, many others take notice and then start trying to benefit from what others have already benefitted from.
They jump on the bandwagon.
In this example, when most people see other people buying property cheaper than it should be, prices have already begun creep up because of rising demand. The time to act has already passed.
The price actually increases in a large part due to the bandwagon.
Bandwagons are full of speculators; people trying to get in on the action. This fact itself pushes prices back up and chances of success way down because of the increasing level of demand, making it incredibly difficult for anyone who didn’t make a success in the first place to actually get anywhere.
Speculators make prices rise and successes hard after the fact.
There are people who make short term profit off of bandwagons, and those are the ones who create a way for other people to jump on the bandwagon. Like the plethora of crypto currency trading platforms that have sprung into existence since the explosion in Bitcoin’s value.
This is where a few people offer the means to others to jump on a bandwagon to try and get a bit of that success which is already far gone, charging people along the way as they do it, whereas in reality most people will not make anywhere near the success that created the bandwagon in the first place.
Another example of this is the FX trading market, mostly full of speculative traders, two thirds of whom are in loss.
One of the biggest problems with bandwagons is that they can actually be dangerous. Many people burn time, money and resources chasing a success which has already long-passed, and most people end up losing.
The best time to act, to obtain that success is before the bandwagon comes into existence.
When you see one, don’t jump on it, leave it behind and let everyone else get on.
Instead, look at current trends to figure out which direction your particular industry, movement or whatever you’re looking at is headed in next. If you can predict where the trend is going, and if you can align it with your passions and a way of helping people, you’ll be one of the first to ride it and make that initial success that everyone afterwards will so sorely desire.
This, of course, is easier said than done. We are creatures of social proof and social in-grouping. To go against what the majority believe is not an easy thing, but you have to stick to your guns.
Blaze your own trail, then other people will be the ones following you, jumping on the bandwagon that forms behind you whilst you’re long gone, riding your success into the distant sunset.