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265 Geoffrey A. Moore: Crossing the Chasm

The book explains the challenges that tech startups face when they try to scale up and cross the “chasm” to reach mainstream customers. It provides a framework for understanding the different customer segments and their adoption patterns.

Geoffrey A. Moore: Crossing the Chasm


In "Crossing the Chasm," Geoffrey A. Moore argues that the high-tech industry has a unique set of challenges that traditional marketing techniques cannot address. He explains the gap, or "chasm," that exists between the early adopters of a new technology and the mainstream majority of customers. The book provides a framework for identifying the different customer segments and understanding their adoption patterns. It also outlines a specific marketing strategy, including tactics for identifying and targeting the early adopters, and methods for successfully crossing the chasm to reach mainstream customers.


Title: Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling High-Tech Products to Mainstream Customers

Author: Geoffrey A. Moore

Publishing Year: 2012

Publisher: Harper Collins

Length in hours: 9 hours and 45 minutes

5 main ideas

  1. High-tech companies face unique challenges in marketing and selling their products due to the differences in adoption patterns between early adopters and mainstream customers.
  2. The adoption process for high-tech products follows a bell curve, with five distinct customer segments: innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards.
  3. The chasm exists between the early adopters and early majority segments, and crossing it requires a unique marketing strategy that addresses the concerns of the mainstream customers.
  4. High-tech companies must focus on a specific target market, or niche, and then expand from there.
  5. Successful high-tech companies create an ecosystem around their products, including third-party developers, complementary products and services, and other partnerships.
Geoffrey A. Moore: Crossing the Chasm

5 funny quotes

  1. "As proof that there are no truly new marketing insights, I offer the following: The Wharton School of Finance ran a study of the best performing companies in the Fortune 500 and concluded that the only thing they had in common was that they were the best in their respective categories. ("The Irrelevance of Market Share," Journal of Business, 54 [October 1981], pp. 485-502.) Duh!"
  2. "AltaVista was first out with a search engine, yet Google owns the category. Why? Google got the algorithms right. AltaVista didn't. Google delivered a better product, and better is better even when it's not perfect."
  3. "Good news, bad news: the technology industry has gone through a shakeout, but the survivors are stronger, more capable, and ready for another round. Bad news: the next round is coming."
  4. "If a train station is where the train stops, what's a workstation...?"
  5. "Marketing communications should be helping you, not hurting you. If you can't measure the value of what you are doing, then you're not doing PR or marketing, you're just entertaining."

5 thought-provoking quotes​

  1. "Without a strong move upward, efforts to cross the chasm will be doomed to failure, regardless of their intrinsic merit."
  2. "The ultimate determinant of whether crossing the chasm proves successful or not is the degree to which the target customers in the bowling alley feel a "whole product" has been created for them."
  3. "You must know the specifics of the entire decision-making unit and then know the role that each member of the unit plays in bringing about the purchase decision."
  4. "The customer is not interested in your technology except insofar as it solves their problem. And if your technology doesn't solve their problem, they don't care."
  5. "The key to success is not to worry about being a market leader, but to worry about getting enough market share to stay in business, and then to grow that share at a rate that will not attract new competitors."

5 dilemmas

  1. The dilemma of choosing between focusing on a specific niche market or broadening your product appeal to a larger market.
  2. The dilemma of how to effectively market to the early adopters without alienating the mainstream market.
  3. The dilemma of choosing between innovating rapidly to stay ahead of the competition or focusing on improving existing products and services.
  4. The dilemma of how to balance the needs and desires of the end user with the requirements of the decision-making unit in a business-to-business market.
  5. The dilemma of how to effectively communicate the value proposition of a new technology product to potential customers who may not yet understand the technology.

5 examples

  1. Apple's iPod and iTunes revolutionized the way we buy and listen to music.
  2. Google's search algorithms allowed them to dominate the search engine market and become one of the world's largest companies.
  3. Salesforce.com pioneered cloud-based CRM software and became a leader in the industry.
  4. Amazon.com started as an online bookstore and has since expanded into a massive e-commerce platform.
  5. Microsoft's Windows operating system dominated the PC market for years, but struggled to adapt to the mobile market with Windows Phone.

Referenced books

  1. "The Innovator's Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail" by Clayton M. Christensen
  2. "The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses" by Eric Ries
  3. "Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion" by Robert B. Cialdini
  4. "The Art of the Start: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything" by Guy Kawasaki
  5. "Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant" by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne

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"If a train station is where the train stops, what's a workstation...?"

Geoffrey A. Moore: Crossing the Chasm
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