“Crossing the chasm” by Geoffrey A. Moore

Crossing the chasm” is an interesting read for people that wish to understand why some high-tech startups succeed entering the mainstream market while others miserably fail. This book provides insight on what the author considers critical stages a high-tech company must face to achieve a mainstream entrance.

Acting more as a manual than a theoretic outlook of the problem, his book focuses on the analysis and revision of the “Technology adoption lifecycle” as he adds gaps to different stages of that cycle. The value I believe is that the knowledge acquired by this book can be extrapolated to any technological product (inc. financial products) or services that need to be launched and reached to a retail market. More specifically there are various intriguing concepts and explanations detailed in the book which helps us understand what is happening and needed during the whole process. The book is divided into two main sections (general overview, detailed analysis) using an analogy of the WWII D-day and study cases of different organizations such as VMware, Salesforce.com.

Since this is a blog post, I will limit myself on the ideas that stood out the most.

The whole “Technological adoption lifecycle” can be divided in 5 psychographic groups, each with their own needs and reactions to a new technological product and representing a unique market.


Most of the author’s insight is on the strategies on how to reach “the pragmatics” market (« big fish, small pond strategy ») and how to deal with this crucial period of transition. What he stresses is that informed intuition rather than analytic reason is the most trust worthy decision-making tool into deciding the “target customer” segment to tackle on. He develops the notion of “whole product marketing” necessary to reach the mainstream market as he understands as there are gaps between the marketing promise and the actual product delivered. Equally, by creating competition and setting our positioning into the target customer’s head of the “best buy of this type of situation” is an important notion to develop when different choices become available. In a Sung Tzu way of philosophy he also mentions the importance of “defining the battle” in an mainstream competiton environement as quoted :

“The fundamental rule of engagement is that any force can defeat any other force — if it can define the battle”

Added to that I enjoyed is the test of “Can you explain your product in the Time it takes to ride-up an elevator?” as it demonstrates the importance of simple statements for a successful word of mouth marketing. Further on, I remembered learning the power distribution had when selling a product as this author arguments that during the chasm the number one concern of pricing is to motivate the channel of distribution and we should aim an customer-oriented distribution with distribution oriented pricing.

Finally a point can be forgotten is the events after the chasm has been crossed. What I personally took out from that chapter was to learn that a post-chasm enterprise is bound buy commitments made by the pre-chasm enterprise (It may seem obvious but, living such a critical period may lead to promises that can de disastrous later-on) and the fundamental importance of keeping the same management style in that period of transition.

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