Tuesday, May 26, 2015

It's Still About "Crossing the Chasm": Startup Founder's Bible
Tuesday, May 26, 2015

It's Still About "Crossing the Chasm": Startup Founder's Bible

If you're a startup founder and haven't read Mr. Geoffrey Moore's Cross the Chasm:Marketing and Selling High-Tech Products to Mainstream Customers classic bible for technology marketing and sales, you're missing out. shame on you!

Available at Amazon or other fine book retailers.

This past week was another frustrating attempt to explain to the sales executive of a startup team that, coming to the team meeting and presenting every single complaint that a potential target customer group makes, and then, expect us to implement all of these features into the product for them was basically missing the point; at best, potentially costly and at worst, would likely sink the current enterprise. (In a previous two posts, I'd talked a little bit about the dangers of blindly listening to your target audience. See Getting Out of the Building Part 1and Part 2).

Beware of making the mistake of selling a disruptive innovation to the masses. It's not going to work. This was the mistake that the account executive of said team was making. We are reminded by Mr. Moore's astute insight from 1991 (Still applicable even after nearly a quarter of a century!) that not everyone is going to be your audience; especially, if you're marketing disruptive products. In the beginning, you should be seeking only about 10% of your target audience. These are the visionaries and early adopters, NOT the early/late majority.

Blackberry Torch 9800
available on Amazon

I can honestly say that I'm pretty much a laggard when it comes to technology, having held onto a blackberry way past it's prime, especially after most had already switched to Apple, Samsung or some other product (God, I loved that keypad!). That said, if yours is a disruptive technology of some sort, or even a new take on a commodity product (see Nike or Starbucks), you need to find your digital heroes first, before trying to appeal to the masses.

Latte from 3 Owl Cafe, Taipei

Hey, when it comes to Taiwan of 20 years ago, and some entrepreneur would trying to tell you that they were going to sell coffee to Taiwanese people, you'd probably think they were crazy. I mean they drink tea in Taiwan! Coffee was for rich people who drank the stuff out of a bowl with a spoon. Now fast forward to 2015 and there's a freaking Starbucks on nearly every corner of Taipei, plus the vast array of Cama Coffee, Louisa Coffee as well as a host of other chains and small independent coffee houses. Sure, now they can, but I'm certain they couldn't start out marketing to the masses. Rather, they got early adopters first.

So, let's all take a moment. Go back to reading a classic such as Crossing the Chasm, and remind ourselves that our disruptive innovations are for visionaries and early adopter first, rather than for your general audience, who still doesn't get it. Be sure to check out the Chasm Companion, which is a field guide of how to apply the theories from Crossing the Chasm.