Nordic Track Book Club Review: Crossing the Chasm

It’s easy to say a book is a classic, but Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore is one of them.  Chasm was originally published in 1991 and is as insightful today as it was 17 years ago.  5 out of 5 stars.  Excerpts from the first 100 pages below.  Many more in the remaining 100 pages.


p.5 The point of greatest peril in the development of a high-tech market lies in making the transition from an early market dominated by a few visionary customers to a mainstream market dominated by a large block of customers who are predominantly pragmatists in orientation. The gap between these two markets heretofore ignored, is in fact so significant as to warrant being called a chasm.  And crossing this chasm must be the primary focus of any long-term high-tech marketing plan.

p.10 In academic terms, such change sensitive products are called discontinuous innovations.  A contrasting term, continuous innovation, refers to the normal upgrading of products that does not require us to change behavior.

p.14 Companies must use each “captured” group as a reference base for going on to market to the next group.

p.19 Simply put, the early majority is willing and able to become technologically competent where necessary; the late majority much less so.  When a product reaches this point in the market development, it must be made increasingly easier to adopt in order to continue being successful.

p.21 By being the first to implement this change in their industry, the early adopters expect to get a jump on the competition. By contrast, the early majority want to buy productivity improvement for existing operations.  They are looking to minimize the discontinuity of the old ways.

p.31 As key influencers, early adopters want the truth, and without any tricks. Whenever they have a technical problem they want access to the most technologically knowledgeable person to answer it.  Third, they want to be first to get the new stuff.

p.43 If pragmatists are hard to win over, they are loyal once won, often enforcing a company standard that requires the purchase of your product, and only your product, for a given requirement.

p.47 Conservatives like to buy pre-assembled packages, with everything bundled at a heavily discounted price.

p.53 The key lesson is that the longer your product is in the market the more mature it becomes and the more important the service element is to the customer.  Conservatives, in particular, are extremely service oriented.

p.56 By isolating the psychographics of customers based on when they tend to enter the market gives clear guidance on how to develop a marketing program for an innovative product.

p.66 Crossing the chasm by targeting a very specific niche market where you can dominate from the outset, force your competitors out of that market niche, and then use it as a base for broader operations.

p.68 The sole goal of the company during this stage of market development must be to secure a beachhead in a mainstream market–that is, to create a pragmatist customer base that is referencable.  People who can, in turn, provide us access to other mainstream prospects.  The consequences of being sales-driven during the chasm period are fatal.

p.94 The place most crossing-the-chasm marketing segmentation efforts get into trouble is at the beginning when they focus on a target market or target segment instead of a target customer.


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A long time developer, I was an early adopter of Linux in the mid-90's for a few years until I entered corporate environments and worked with Microsoft technologies like ASP, then .NET. In 2008 I released Sueetie, an Online Community Platform built in .NET. In late 2012 I returned to my Linux roots and locked in on Java development. Much of my work is available on GitHub.