S-Curves can explain growth in PCs and mobile phones : Planet Money : The Indicator from Planet Money A lot of things grow slowly, then fast, then slow again. From the growth in smartphone users to the rise of vaccinations, the s-curve explains a huge part of technological, scientific and economic change.

Technology brought to you by the s-curve

Technology brought to you by the s-curve

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Liz Hafalia/San Francisco Chronicle via Getty
APPLE 2/C/05JAN99/BU/LH-- SAN FRANCISCO EXHIBIT/ ELETRONIC SHOW / Five collors of iMac's were on display at the Macworld Expo floor.
Liz Hafalia/San Francisco Chronicle via Getty

There's a shape that explains the growth of everything from forests to iPhone users. It's called an s-curve. Growth starts out slow, and then ramps up as success breeds success. Finally that fast growth hits a wall, and growth is slow again.

Technology analyst Benedict Evans says the s-curve can be seen in the rise of cars, planes, computers and smartphones. Not every technology will grow like an s-curve — jetpacks are still mainly a gimmick sadly. But if you start seeing s-curve patterns, this shape could provide a lens to see the future.

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