Crossing the Chasm – Geoffrey Moore

Crossing the Chasm

Crossing the Chasm – Geoffrey Moore – Contents

  • Geoffrey Moore – Big Idea:
    • Crossing the Chasm
  • Crossing the Chasm Terms
  • StartUps Crossing the Chasm
  • Geoffrey Moore Biography
  • Interesting Facts and Insights about Geoffrey Moore
  • Career Advice Quotes by Geoffrey Moore
  • Business Advice Quotes by Geoffrey Moore
  • Leadership and Management Advice Quotes by Geoffrey Moore
  • Geoffrey Moore Inspirational Quotes
  • Books by Geoffrey Moore
  • Questions about Geoffrey Moore
  • Crossing the Chasm – Geoffrey Moore – Videos

Crossing the Chasm

Crossing the Chasm” is a marketing theory that was made accessible by Geoffrey A. Moore in his best selling book “Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling High-Tech Products to Mainstream Customers” in 1991. In 2006, the director of the Stanford Technology Ventures Program, described it as “still the bible for entrepreneurial marketing 15 years later”.

“Crossing the Chasm” focuses on the specifics of marketing high tech products during the early start-up period. Moore’s exploration and expansion of the diffusions of innovations model has had a significant and lasting impact on high tech entrepreneurship.

“Crossing the Chasm” is related to the technology adoption lifecycle in which five main segments are recognized:

  • Innovators,
  • Early Adopters,
  • Early Majority,
  • Late Majority, and
  • Laggards.

The “Crossing the Chasm” model argues there is a chasm between the Early Adopters of the product, who are the technology enthusiasts and visionaries, and the Early Majority. The model describes visionaries and pragmatists as having very different expectations and suggests techniques to cross the “chasm” successfully. The methods for crossing the “chasm” include:

  • choosing a target market,
  • understanding the whole product concept,
  • positioning the product,
  • building a marketing strategy,
  • selecting the most appropriate distribution channel and,
  • deciding the proper pricing.

Crossing the Chasm Terms

  • Innovators: Innovators are customers that are prepared to take a risk with new products. They seek innovation and are the first to buy a new product.
  • Early Adopters: Early Adopters refers to individuals or businesses who use a new product, innovation, or technology before others. Early adopters may pay more for the product than later adopters but accept the higher cost to improve efficiency, reduce costs, and increases their market share.
  • Early Majority: The Early Majority are customers who purchase new technology after the innovators, and early adopters have proven the benefits.
  • Late Majority: Late majority is the second to last segment of customers to adopt innovative technology. The Late Majority is typically older, less affluent, and educated than the early segments in the technology adoption lifecycle.
  • Laggards: Laggards are consumers who avoid change and do not adopt new technologies until all traditional alternatives are no longer available. The group is mostly concerned with reliability, low cost, and easy to use.
  • Technology Adoption Life Cycle: The technology adoption lifecycle is a model that describes the adoption or acceptance of new innovation, according to characteristics of defined adopter groups. The process of adoption over time is typically illustrated as a classical normal distribution or “bell curve.”

According to the “Crossing the Chasm” model, marketers should focus on one group of customers at a time, using each group as a base for marketing to the next group. The most challenging step is making the transition between the chasm of early adopters and the Early Majority.


StartUps Crossing the Chasm

Crossing Growth Chasm

Successful startups with disruptive or discontinuous innovations need to create a bandwagon effect in which enough momentum builds, so their new product becomes a de-facto standard. The adoption of continuous innovations is described by the technology adoption lifecycle.


“There is something fundamentally different between a sale to an early adopter and a sale to the early majority, even.”

– Geoffrey Moore

Geoffrey Moore Biography

Geoffrey Moore (born 1946) is an organizational theorist, management consultant, and author. Moore is best known for his work “Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling High-Tech Products to Mainstream Customers.”

After teaching English, Moore began a career in high tech as a training specialist. Over time he transitioned into sales and then into marketing, finally becoming a marketing consultant working first at Regis McKenna Inc, then with the three firms, he helped found: The Chasm Group, Chasm Institute, and TCG Advisors. Today he is chairman emeritus of all three.

Geoffrey Moore

Interesting Facts and Insights about Geoffrey Moore

  • Born: Geoffrey Moore was born in 1946 in Portland, Oregon, U.S.
  • Degree: Moore received a bachelor’s degree in American literature from Stanford University in 1967.
  • Doctorate: Geoffrey Moore received a doctorate in English literature from the University of Washington in 1974.
  • English Teacher: Moore began his professional life as an English professor at Olivet College in Michigan
  • Trainer: Geoffrey Moore moved to California, where he took a job as a corporate trainer and executive assistant at a technology company.
  • Sales: Moore became a sales and marketing executive at Rand Information Systems, Enhansys, and Mitem.
  • McKenna: Geoffrey Moore working with the McKenna Group, helping to introduce many of the ideas that are now part of the mainstream in technology marketing.
  • Geoffrey Moore Consulting: Moore started up his own consulting firm, Geoffrey Moore Consulting,
  • Author: Geoffrey A. Moore’s book “Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling High-Tech Products to Mainstream Customers” was published in 1991. The book’s success led to several book sequels.
  • Speaker: Moore is a professional speaker and has been delivering between 50 and 80 speeches a year.
  • VC: Geoffrey Moore is a venture partner with Mohr Davidow Ventures and Wildcat Venture Partners.

“Chasm Crossing is not the end, but rather the beginning, of mainstream market development.”

– Geoffrey Moore

Career Advice Quotes by Geoffrey Moore

“There is something fundamentally different between a sale to an early adopter and a sale to the early majority, even.”

“Entering the mainstream market is an act of burglary, of breaking and entering, of deception, often even of stealth.”

“Chasm Crossing is not the end, but rather the beginning, of mainstream market development.”

“Customers often bend over backward to give market share leaders second and third chances, bringing cries of anguish from their competitors who would never be granted such grace.”

“As a buying group, visionaries are easy to sell but very hard to please. This is because they are buying a dream – which, to some degree, will always be a dream.”

“The single most important difference between early markets and mainstream markets is that the former are willing to take responsibility for piecing together the whole product (in return for getting a jump on their competition), whereas the latter is not.”

“To enter the mainstream market is an act of aggression. The companies who have already established relationships with your target customer will resent your intrusion and do everything they can to shut you out.”

“The danger is to cling to comfort and custom at a time when events demand breaking away from both. But it is also foolish to jump at every startling moment. Darwin selects primarily for prudent fast-following.”

“Don’t think you have to be the disrupter to win. A fast-following disrupter will do very well if you can bring your existing customers and ecosystem along with you.”

“The biggest problem is typically overly ambitious expectations combined with undercapitalization.”


“As a buying group, visionaries are easy to sell but very hard to please. This is because they are buying a dream – which, to some degree, will always be a dream.”

– Geoffrey Moore

Business Advice Quotes by Geoffrey Moore

“Without big data, you are blind and deaf and in the middle of a freeway.”

The increasing presence of cloud computing and mobile smartphones is driving the digitization of everything across both consumer and enterprise domains.

“The first mistake is believing that transformational initiatives can be accomplished through normal channels and means. This cannot be done because there are too many conflicting interests that are competing to impede.”

“The second is mistaking incubation for transformation and concluding that failure to achieve escape velocity is due to lack of innovation. It never is. It is always due to a lack of leadership focus and, especially, fortitude.”

“Sustaining innovation is the lifeblood of any enterprise. It is the time when we capitalize upon, and recover from, all the disruptive change prior.”

“Most of the operating profits in the world come from sustaining innovation. Much of the market capitalization gains, on the other hand, come from disruptive innovations.”

“Stairs are pesky little devils that crop up everywhere, and Segways do not handle them well at all. That’s what we call a showstopper.”

“The only way an established enterprise can dramatically increase its stock price is by adding a net new high-growth earnings engine to its existing portfolio.”

“Try to learn as fast as you can from the wizards and then steal what you can appropriate from them and use it to modernize your existing business model (without disrupting it).”

“I think there is a potential for backlash from the open-source community against companies that do not play according to the aspirations or ethics of that community.”

“The number-one corporate objective, when crossing the chasm, is to secure a distribution channel into the mainstream market, one with which the pragmatist customer will be comfortable. This objective comes before revenues, before profits, before press, even before customer satisfaction. All these other factors can be fixed later – but only if the channel is established.”


“Without big data analytics, companies are blind and deaf, wandering out onto the Web like deer on a freeway.”

– Geoffrey Moore

Leadership and Management Advice Quotes by Geoffrey Moore

“You simply cannot spend your way into the hearts and minds of technology enthusiasts and visionaries.”

“To get an early market started requires an entrepreneurial company with a breakthrough technology product that enables a new and compelling application.”

“Thus, at a time of greatest peril, when the company was just entering the chasm, its leaders held high expectations rather than modest ones, and spent heavily in expansion projects rather than husbanding resources.”

“Sustaining innovations are the key to consistent performance, whereas disruptive innovations are the key to dramatic changes in power.”

“To fix the business, to bring it back to health, you must assimilate enough of the disruptive innovation to modernize the operating model without jettisoning your business model. “

“The most common misunderstanding of disruptive innovations is to overestimate their impact in the short term and underestimate it in the long term.”

“Another common misunderstanding is to associate disruptive with good.”

“Pragmatists are more interested in the market’s response to a product than in the product itself.”

“You get installed by the pragmatists as the leader, and from then on, they conspire to help keep you there.”

“When pragmatists buy, they care about the company they are buying from, the quality of the product they are buying, the infrastructure of supporting products and system interfaces, and the reliability of the service they are going to get.”

“The single greatest business opportunity that is now emerging in the global marketplace is the ability to analyze digital log data to trace digital actions and from those traces to develop algorithms that can predict future outcomes with greater accuracy.”


“Most of the operating profits in the world come from sustaining innovation. Much of the market capitalization gains, on the other hand, come from disruptive innovations.”

Geoffrey Moore

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“Pragmatists are more interested in the market’s response to a product than in the product itself.”

– Geoffrey Moore

Geoffrey Moore Inspirational Quotes

“One of the most important lessons about crossing the chasm is that the task ultimately requires achieving an unusual degree of company unity during the crossing period.”

“If you ask why start-ups outperform established enterprises when it comes to catching the next wave, the answer is that they are not conflicted. Everyone is rowing in the same direction.”

“The company may be saying “state-of-the-art” when the pragmatist wants to hear “industry standard.”

“Technologies from a prior era, once the focal point of innovation, now become the scaffolding upon which next-generation innovation will build.”

“Marketing has long known how to exploit fads and how to develop trends.”

“Surround your disruptive core product, the thing that got you to the dance, with a whole product that solves for the target customer’s problem end to end. That will keep you on the dance floor for a long time to come.”

“Big enough to matter, small enough to lead, good fit with your crown jewels.”

“Smart mobile phones connect you with 1 billion users worldwide, basically for free – you don’t pay for the phone, you don’t pay for the Internet, you don’t pay for the wireless connectivity. Social networks let you add a new customer or a new agent, again for free.”

“To get an early market started requires an entrepreneurial company with a breakthrough technology product that enables a new and compelling application, a technology enthusiast who can evaluate and appreciate the superiority of the product over current alternatives, and a well-heeled visionary who can foresee an order-of-magnitude improvement from implementing the new application.”


“Customers often bend over backward to give market share leaders second and third chances, bringing cries of anguish from their competitors who would never be granted such grace.”

– Geoffrey Moore

Books by Geoffrey Moore

  • Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore, 1991
  • Inside the Tornado: Marketing Strategies from Silicon Valley’s Cutting Edge by Geoffrey Moore, 1995
  • Zone to Win: Organizing to Compete in an Age of Disruption by Geoffrey Moore, 2015
  • Dealing with Darwin by Geoffrey Moore, 2005
  • Crossing the Chasm, 3rd Edition: Marketing and Selling Disruptive Products to Mainstream Customers by Geoffrey Moore, 2014
  • Escape Velocity: Free Your Company’s Future from the Pull of the Past by Geoffrey Moore, 2011
  • The Gorilla Game: Picking Winners in High Technology by Geoffrey Moore, Paul Johnson, and Tom Kippola, 1998
  • Living on the Fault Line by Geoffrey Moore, 2000

“Technologies from a prior era, once the focal point of innovation, now become the scaffolding upon which next-generation innovation will build.”

– Geoffrey Moore

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“Smart mobile phones connect you with 1 billion users worldwide, basically for free – you don’t pay for the phone, you don’t pay for the Internet, you don’t pay for the wireless connectivity. Social networks let you add a new customer or a new agent, again for free.”

– Geoffrey Moore

Questions about Geoffrey Moore

How to contact and follow Geoffrey Moore?

What does Geoffrey Moore speak about?

  • Crossing the Chasm, Take Two: Growing to Scale in B2B2C Markets
  • Catching the Next Wave: How to Break the Back of the Innovator’s Dilemma
  • Zone Management: Organizing to Compete in an Age of Disruption
  • Return on Innovation: Three Separate and Distinct Paths

What does Geoffrey Moore write about?

  • To Succeed in the Long Term, Focus on the Middle Term, HBR, 2007
  • Strategy and Your Stronger Hand, HBR, 2005
  • In A Downturn, Provoke Your Customers, HBR, 2009

Crossing the Chasm – Geoffrey Moore – Videos

How to Cross the Chasm: An Interview with Geoffrey Moore

Geoffrey Moore, “Crossing the Chasm: What’s New, What’s Not”


“Sustaining innovations are the key to consistent performance, whereas disruptive innovations are the key to dramatic changes in power.”

– Geoffrey Moore

Image Credit: Craig Chelius [CC BY 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)] ; Worthhog [CC BY 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)] ;Steve Jurvetson – https://www.flickr.com/photos/jurvetson/