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Holiday Reading Part I: Crossing the Chasm


A recurring theme in many courses at MIT, is the Technology Adoption Curve. I first saw the curve in 'Crossing the Chasm', a book I bought and read about a decade ago. Today, I pulled out this work almost impulsively and began to absorb its theme.

The differentiating factor between the Moore's curve and some of the others I've seen is the gap or Chasm that exists between the Visionaries and the Pragmatists. (Some professors have passionately argued that the existence of the Chasm is pure fiction.)

However, as a technologist, I intutively believe that the Chasm does exist based on anecdotal evidence from my own experience. (No hard data.) Atleast, the book does offer a lot of food for thought.

The keys to crossing the chasm are the following:
Part I
Applications, Moore agures are more advantageous over platforms for crossing the 'Great Divide'. If your application solves platform issues, camoflage these solutions as benefits of the application.
Some anecdotes Moore uses are:
1. Apple's use of desktop publishing to become the 3rd largest PC maker in 1986.
2. Oracle's theme of portability across platforms to win the database war wit Ingres in the mid 80s.
3. Sun's use of the Open Architecture to other vendor participation. Sun's properitory SPARC microprocessor, that was licenced to Fujitsu and Cypress led to the standardiaztion of System V.


Part II
1. Find and attack a niche.
2. Think through and address your customer's challenges through their entirety
3. Create a sales pitch/ elevator speech that identifies your competition.(If you dont have any create them.) Then demonstrate your superiority.
4. Finally, use direct sales and price your product effectively as you move to invade the market.

Moore masterfully uses the Battle of Normandy as an analogy to bring forth a mainstream product.Enter a segment with alliances, if necessary, corner a part of your competitor's market and then infiltrate other segments.

A criticism of Moore's work is that crossing the Chasm may not lead to profit. (See the Wikipedia link below.) It is also possible that the existence of the chasm may be limited to Technology segments.




Related links
An excellent summary of the book
http://www.ericsink.com/Act_Your_Age.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crossing_the_Chasm
http://www.testing.com/writings/reviews/moore-chasm.html

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