I seem to be doing this a lot lately. I started commenting on Paul Kedrosky's "Is Nothing Viral Anymore?" and then it got really long. So I stuck it here.
I tend to agree -- cool isn't enough anymore. But part of it is the role of early adopters, I think. We've been suckered too many times, stuck in systems which at first blush seemed cool, but then betrayed us somehow. And not just us, but all the non-techies we convinced to come on board.
I seriously regret the series of YASNs that I foisted on a handful of friends. And I won’t make that mistake again. As Jeremy, Jon, and Mark point out – we want an exit strategy.
So, viral still works. But it has to be truly compelling/cool, not too complicated/different, and consistently useful. Oh yes, and all those adjectives have to apply to the regular user, after the geeks have been through and dubbed it worthy.