“Crossing the chasm” is generally associated with growth companies, but the economy isn’t always booming.
… Geoffrey Moore, one the most respected consultants and thought leaders in Silicon Valley. He is the author of multiple books, including the best-seller Crossing the Chasm, which has been heralded as the bible for entrepreneurial marketing. Today, I’d like to share some highlights from the first part of the interview.
Part of what Geoffrey discusses in his books is how start-ups can transition to growth companies, and the challenges in crossing that chasm in-between. One of the things affecting innovators today is the downturn.
“I think you’re seeing changes on both ends of the spectrum. First of all, when you have a down economy, you all of a sudden get a bigger supply of entrepreneurs, also known as laid off people. You’ll see a lot of companies get started in this down turn, and that will be great for everybody. All they have to do is get to $1 million of revenue, and that’s better off than we are today. There are a lot of ideas that can get to $1 or $2 million that frankly, big companies aren’t going to spend the time on. On the other end of the spectrum, the large companies have pressure to cut costs. The other pressure is to take share. And to take share, you do have to do something that your competitors aren’t doing. Now it may not be tech innovation, it may be marketing innovation or operational innovation, but you’ll be doing something.”
Because of the downturn, many people are now finding the opportunity to pursue their dreams. But a vital key learning to entrepreneurs is to always validate your work.”What we talk a lot about is that at every stage of an innovation, before you even put pen to paper, you want to expose it to market forces and see if it is matching to your internal ideation. What that means is – for an entrepreneur this is really important – the first piece of work needs to be done as fast as you can. What you do is go to a visionary customer who is in trouble one way or another, and say, ‘We think [our idea] is a possibility and it solves this kind of problem, and it looks you have this problem.’ It’s almost like a consulting project: you sign them up as your first [client]. What’s great about that is you get a stream of revenue coming in, but more importantly, you get a stream of reality coming in. I get scared [for entrepreneurs that] go down this path without a customer.”