Sunday, April 15, 2007

Crossing the Chasm

The book "Crossing the Chasm and Inside the Tornado by Geoffrey A. Moore" focuses on marketing and selling high-tech products to mainstream customers.

According to Moore the landscape of technology adoption life cycle is as follows ::

From the book's preface -->
"Our (high-tech) marketing ventures, despite normally promising starts, drift off course in puzzling ways, eventually causing unexpected and unnerving gaps in sales revenues, and sooner or later leading management to undertake some desperate remedy... 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. A successful crossing is how high-tech fortunes are made; failure in the attempt is how they are lost."

Here the author gave a nice framework for marketing a high-tech product.We can cross the chasm if we are abe to give right solution to a right problem at the right time.You can appreciate this if you see the following famous picture.I would call it irony of software development.

A Software Development Life Cycle involves
(1)Requirements(+feasibility+time-to-Deliver+Complexity) Analysis -->(2)Design-->(3)Development-->(4)Testing(at every phase+test the compatibility with Requirements)-->(5)Marketing (deployment)-->(6)Maintenance

Marketing depends on his ascendants as well as descendants in the above cycle.I feel that (1)Requirements Analysis determines marketing a lot.My stint as an IT professional made me realise that 99% of the projects fail due to lack proper requirement analysis.I remember a game we played in a softskills training program.Hundred people are asked to sit in a haphazard manner.
The instructor mumbles 2-3 sentences to some one in this maze.He/She should pass on the message to his/her neighbour.Then the neighbour to his/her.Like this the chain reaction continues.But surprisingly it produced such a rippling effect that if the instructor says something about "Rama killed Ravana" the outcome was about "Arjuna killed Karna".Thank God atleast the outcome is also a fact in this case.But many a times it will be wierd.

I guess that this is what happening in the very first stage of SDLC.Why is this happening?May be weak soft-skills.But this discussion is more relevant to what effect does it produce?Marketing failures.According to Philip Kotler "Human activity directed at satisfying needs and wants through exchange processes".So when we are not clear about needs and wants how can we market the product.Once we cross this chasm we can adopt Moore's framework for business leverage.

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