Holiday Reading Part II: Inside the Tornado

Crossing the Chasm was just the beginning. We must now find our way through the rest of the technology adoption curve. The first challenge we face when we go beyond the Chasm is the Bowling Alley.

In the bowling alley, you have a proven product and thus you are 'for real'. However, you are yet to be defined by your product. You are defined by the application of your product.

To cross the chasm, we targeted a ncihe market. To get beyond the bowling alley, one must now attack other niches. In other words, our product has to be generalizable. Your priorities are to make money NOW and grow the business.There are two strategies Moore recommends here.
1. Pick a competitor your size
2. Now you are targeting the early majority. You must now get sponsorship from the economic buyer.Its no longer the Technical buyer.
Many fail in the bowling alley as they get complacent and get a reputation for 'not working'. Others are enamoured by the recurring sales and the niches that they stagnate in their infatuation. The ones that succeeded in the Bowling Alley include Lotus Notes and People Soft.

If you are out of the bowling alley, Moore calls the next destination the Tornado.(Utterback's dominant design has just surfaced.) The clue for this stage is the arrival of the 'killer app'. The Tornado is the arena of deploying and maintaining the support system. It is time for the IT departments that a Tornado is imminent and that it is time to m0ve. The rule here is very simple. Ship it! Dont bother customizing it. Increase your distribution channel and ignore the customer. The market jungle in yoiur segment includes a giant Gorilla, a couple of smaller chimps and many monkeys, each with different motivations. The Gorilla can be benevolent or cruel and both these roles are acceptable. The chimps have a smaller base that they will defend at all costs. The monkeys merely target the distribution channel and the purchasing agent.In the Tornado state, resist the tempation to control the market and NEVER add discontinuity. One must take lessons from Oracle and Intel.

Suddenly your stock takes a downturn. Your revenues drop, your executives leave and your customers hate you. You have now moved to mainstream. We use the whole product +1 approach. We differentiate our commoditized product by throwing in a secondary feature or two. Your existing customers are free. Seek out new ones.

The last sections of the book suggests methods for using strategic partnerships competitive advantages, positioning and organizational leadership in all the stages described above. I found both books informative and well written (again).

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