I often hear people saying you shouldn't rush into adopting new technologies until they have become stable, tried and tested. There is even a joke on how it takes 3 versions to get it right. This might be the voice of real-life experience, but at least sometimes such posture is the result of complacency, resistance to change and effort necessary to learn new skills.
In my opinion however, it is crucial for success in software industry to keep the pace with the innovation. While big companies have whole departments dedicated to R&D, in smaller companies it's the development teams that have to keep up. Embark on the new technology even before it is officially out - this will give you some head-start and will help you keep up with the rest.
Here is the strategy that I try to follow whenever possible:
Be aggressive in adopting new technologies
Use early betas for experimenting and prototypes and RCs for development
Address any last minute changes to the product when official release of technology you adopted early comes out
Do not rely on some obscure open source project with 0 activity
Be sure to study but take with a grain of salt official product roadmap.
So far, I never paid the price of being too zealous to jump on some new technology train, still I reaped the benefits. I wonder if this is just a coincidence or maybe being early-adopter is not so dangerous after all?
More than inviting to a discussion on the subject early-adoption, since such issue is surely to be contentious and subjective, I would like to hear real-life experiences where adopting early new technology proved to be a serious mistake and dire price had to be paid.