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Crossing the Chasm, 3rd Edition: Marketing and Selling Disruptive Products to Mainstream Customers (Collins Business Essentials) Paperback – January 28, 2014
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover,"" illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Pre-order today
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From the Inside Flap
In Crossing the Chasm, Geoffrey A. Moore shows that in the Technology Adoption Life Cycle - which begins with innovators and moves to early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards - there is a vast chasm between the early adopters and the early majority. While early adopters are willing to sacrifice for the advantage of being first, the early majority waits until they know that the technology actually offers improvements in productivity. The challenge for innovators and marketers is to narrow this chasm and ultimately accelerate adoption across every segment.
This third edition brings Moore's classic work up to date with dozens of new examples of successes and failures, new strategies for marketing in the digital world, and Moore's most current insights and findings. He also includes two new appendices, the first connecting the ideas in Crossing the Chasm to work subsequently published in his Inside the Tornado, and the second presenting his recent groundbreaking work for technology adoption models for high-tech consumer markets.
From the Back Cover
Praise for Previous Editions of Crossing the Chasm:
"Crossing the Chasm truly addresses the subtleties of high-tech marketing. We have embraced many of the concepts in the book and it has become a 'bestseller' with Unisys."
- James A. Unruh, CEO, Unisys
"Crossing the Chasm is no longer just the name of a great book - it has become a very effective management process. In venture capital, chasm management is a widely used boardroom tool for emerging technology companies. It works!"
- Joe Schoendorf, executive partner, Accel Partners
"Crossing the Chasm has contributed more to the art and science of high-tech marketing than any other book in the last decade. If you are not one of the thousands of businesses and universities incorporating the chasm insight into your operations, you have to be worried about your future."
- Tom Kendra, vice president, Worldwide Data Management Sales, IBM Software Group
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The "chasm" to which Moore refers is a metaphor for this phenomenon: "the rapid acceleration in market development followed by a dramatic lull, occurring whenever a discontinuous innovation is introduced - [one that] drives all emerging high-tech enterprises to a point of crisis where they must leave the relative safety of their established early market and go out in search of a new home in the mainstream. These forces are inexorable - they will [begin italics] drive [end italics] the company. The key question is whether management can become aware of the changes in time to leverage the opportunities such awareness confers."
In other words, "The chasm is a drastic lull in market development that occurs after the visionary market is saturated and pragmatists will not buy into a discontinuous technology unless they can reference other pragmatists, thus the catch-22. Pragmatists dependent exclusively on references from others in their own industry and are highly support-oriented."
Many business plans are based on a traditional Technology Adoption Life Cycle, a smooth bell curve of high tech customers, progressing from Innovators, Early Adopters, Early Majority, Late Majority, and finally Laggards. In turn, this model becomes the foundation for a high-tech marketing model which says the way to develop a market is to work the curve from left to right, progressively winning each group of users, using each "captured" group as a reference for the next. Moore demonstrates that in fact, there are cracks in the curve, between each phase of the cycle, representing a disassociation between any two groups; that is, "the difficulty any group will have in accepting a new product if it is presented the same way as it was to the group to its immediate left." The largest crack, so large it can be considered a chasm, is between the Early Adopters and the Early Majority. Many (most) high tech ventures fail trying to make it across this chasm.
The core insights in the two previous editions remain but Moore updates the companies that serve as exemplars, for better or worse. The successful chasm negotiators include Aruba, Documentum, Infusion, Lithium, Mozilla, Salesforce.com, VMware, and Word Day. They are juxtaposed with companies that include Better Place, Motorola Iridium, Segway, Solyndra, and Webvan. One of the most valuable lessons to be learned from these companies is expressed in the form of an analogy: "Trying to cross the chasm without taking a niche market approach is like trying to light a fire without kindling."
These are among the dozens of business subjects and issues of special interest and value to me, also listed to indicate the scope of Moore's coverage.
o The Technology Adoption Life Cycle (Pages 11-17)
o Discovering the Chasm (25-26)
o First Principles (34-37)
o The Dynamics of Early Markets (48-53)
o The Dynamics of Mainstream Markets (63-67)
o The Perils of the Chasm, and, Fighting Your Way into the Mainstream (75-80)
o Successful Chasm Crossings (89-91)
o The Simplified Whole Product Model (137-150)
o Partners and Allies (150-152)
o The Competitive Positioning Compass (167-171)
o The Positioning Process, and, Passing the Elevator Test (183-188)
o Customer-Oriented Distribution (198-206)
o Financial Decisions: Breaking the Hockey Stick (216-220)
o Organizational Decisions (225-228)
o The Whole Product Manager (231-234)
Thoughtfully, Moore provides a "recap" section at the conclusion of Chapters 4-7. he also adds two appendices to the third edition. In my opinion, all by themselves, they are worth far more than the cost of the book. In Appendix 1, he provides an overview of the process by which markets develop end-to-end, from the Early Market across the Chasm through the Bowling Alley into the Tornado and on to Main Street. "The challenge is to get your company aligned on the right approach by reaching consensus about current market state."
In Appendix 2, "The Four Gears for Digital Consumer Adoption," he explains why online adoption is best characterized in terns of these activities: acquisition of traffic, engagement if users, monetizing their engagement, and enlisting "the faithful." He adds, and I agree, "Tipping points are as key to consumer adoption as they are to B2B. Prior to reaching one, all efforts to scale require pumping in additional fuel -- if you cut off the fuel supply, the system will revert to its original state. But after you pass the tipping point, the system restabilizes around a new status quo, and actually pulls you forward to get you to your new 'right' position. You can still screw this up (just ask the investors at Myspace and Groupon), but it takes some real effort to do so."
Congratulations to Moore on his trilogy of business classics (i.e. Crossing the Chasm, Inside the Tornado, and Living on the Fault Line). Albert Einstein once explained that he always asked the same questions on his final examinations at Princeton because "every year the answers are different," Geoffrey Moore continues to revise and update his thinking and his work because, although chasms, tornados, and fault lines remain, the strategies and tactics needed to negotiate them must be continuously evaluated and, when necessary, modified or replaced.
I first became aware of Moore’s book “Living on the Fault Line” (see my review of this and “Escape Velocity”) when at CSC Consulting where I also started to hear about his concepts such as the “Technology Adoption Life Cycle.” Given increased recent interest in such topics, it was heartening to discover that Moore had issued a new edition of his initial book which drew me to examine this version. and the book for the first time.
The book consists of two parts. Part I is about “Discovering the Chasm” the need to gain support for a disruptive innovation vs. just expecting The Field of Dreams (if you build it they will come) can be realized. Part II is about Crossing the Chasm using an analogy to the WWII D-Day invasion where the group has to: target the point of attack, assemble the invasion force, define the battle, and launch the invasion. A conclusion discusses the financial, organizational and R&D aspects of approaching and leaving the chasm behind. Helpful appendices summarize the high-tech market development model (which is business to business and the subject of Moore’s second book “Inside the Tornado”) and a four gears model for engaging consumers in adopting digital innovations (business to consumer).
At the time of this writing, I was doing some work with a non-profit organization advocating treatment and research advances related to mental health issues. I was struck by the notion that Moore’s model could apply in such non-profit sector situations as well (see my review of Daniel Siegel’s “Mindsight" based on recent neuroscience). It also appeared to me that these ideas could relate to career entrepreneurship (see my review of the book “Value Proposition Design” by A. Osterwalder et al and another of their books, “Business Model You”).
Because of my background and interests at the time, my favorite parts had to do with the parts on basic definitions of the technology adoption life cycle and marketing elements such as the diagrams showing “the simplified whole product model” (page 137) and “the competitive positioning compass” (page 167, 189). I was impressed that the revised edition had pertinent references to then current developments such as the evolution of SaaS (Software as a Service) with groups such as when the founders of PeopleSoft overtaken by SAP and Oracle initiated Work Day and contributed to the rise of Cloud Computing. Other cases sited that were particularly relevant to me included the one on Documentum (use in Pharma Regulatory & Safety matters), early targeting of the Mac computer at Corporate Advertising/Art Departments and the graphic appeal of these machines. Moore’s proposed definition of chasm crossing transition roles such as target market segment manager and whole product manager as well as the compensation/reward considerations between them and pioneering salespeople and technologists also stood out for me.
So, for an update on chasm crossing for disruptive innovations (and its broader application), take a look at Moore’s most recent edition of his excellent first book.
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Chapter 3 to 6 are just brilliant.Read more