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Want to know what's hot in tech? Listen to the teens

Analysts underestimated how popular the Wii would be

Analysts underestimated how popular the Wii would be among teens. (Getty) Credit: Analysts underestimated how popular the Wii would be among teens. (Getty)

We're just passing Halloween. And that means it's time to look forward to the extended, painful shopping season between Black Friday and Christmas.

So what's going to be hot?

The Apple iPad Mini? The Microsoft Surface RT tablet?

I have strong opinions on each of these products, among many others. However, I'm going to leave them out and encourage you to seek your own answers.

But from whom should you be seeking wisdom?

The answer is simple - kids, preferably teenagers.

This is because, aside from the occasional stringent nonconformist, most teens just want to fit in and get what's popular.

So if large groups of teenagers determine that a certain item is standard operating equipment, a virtuous circle of sales is created.

On the flip side, the one group you should absolutely ignore is serious techies.
They just know far too much about tech for their own good.

Techies obsess over specifications and have difficulty viewing the world from the perspective of average consumers.

Case in point: Look at how big the Nintendo Wii blew up between 2006 and 2008. The 'smart' guys insisted it couldn't win because the Wii was underpowered relative to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

But out in the real world, hipsters in bars and Grandmas in nursing homes went gaga over Wii bowling.

And the Wii blew the competition out of the water. We can also go back to 2007, when the original iPhone was released. IT guys routinely told me that it would never succeed in the enterprise, where BlackBerry was the de facto standard.

And we all know how that one turned out.

Michael Comeau is a columnist and buzz editor at

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