Geoffrey Moore on finding your beachhead, crossing the chasm, and dominating a market

Lenny's Podcast: Product | Growth | Career

Jan 25 2024 • 1 hr 24 mins

Geoffrey Moore is an author, speaker, and advisor, widely known for his seminal book Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling Disruptive Products to Mainstream Customers, which many consider the most important book ever written on go-to-market strategy. Moore’s work is focused on the market dynamics surrounding disruptive innovations, and how one overcomes the challenge of transitioning from serving early adopters to the mainstream. In this episode, we discuss:

• What “crossing the chasm” means

• What steps to take before you try crossing the chasm

• The importance of winning a marquee customer

• The role of executive sponsors in the sales process

• The differences between visionaries and pragmatists, and how to build for each

• Geoffrey’s four go-to-market playbooks based on stage: Early Market, Bowling Alley, Tornado, and Main Street

• The problem with discounting before crossing the chasm

• “Deadly sins” to avoid when crossing the chasm

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Find the full transcript at:

Where to find Geoffrey Moore:

• X:

• LinkedIn:

• LinkedIn posts:

Where to find Lenny:

• Newsletter:

• X:

• LinkedIn:

In this episode, we cover:

(00:00) Geoffrey’s background

(04:03) What people often get wrong about Crossing the Chasm

(05:58) Finding your beachhead segment

(09:29) The four inflection points of the technology adoption lifestyle

(15:45) Geoffrey’s bonfire and bowling alley analogies

(18:36) Steps to take before trying to cross the chasm

(22:19) Signs you’re ready to cross the chasm

(25:19) Advice for startups on where to start

(27:31) Thoughts on venture capital

(27:53) A general timeline for crossing the chasm

(30:52) What exactly is the “chasm”?

(32:35) The difference between visionaries and pragmatists

(36:05) Finding the compelling reason to buy

(43:45) The Early Market playbook

(45:46) The Bowling Alley playbook

(48:39) Different sales approaches for early market and bowling alley

(51:26) Changing the value state of the company

(53:28) The Tornado playbook

(57:35) Why combining playbooks doesn’t work

(59:10) Using generative AI in different market phases

(01:03:02) The risks of discounting

(01:04:21) Other “deadly sins” of crossing the chasm

(01:09:09) Positioning in crossing the chasm

(01:10:36) Product-led growth and crossing the chasm

(01:13:54) The challenges of software and entrepreneurship

(01:16:35) How Geoffrey’s thinking has evolved

(01:19:30) The importance of entrepreneurship and impact

(01:20:42) His book The Infinite Staircase

(01:23:58) Connect with Geoffrey Moore


Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling Disruptive Products to Mainstream Customers:

• Oracle:

• Documentum:

• Figma:

• Notion:

• Salesforce:

• Intel:

• Jason Fried challenges your thinking on fundraising, goals, growth, and more:

• The Mayo Clinic:

• Coda:

• An inside look at how Figma ships product:

• Dylan Field on LinkedIn:

• Regis McKenna on Crunchbase:

• Andrew Grove:

• A step-by-step guide to crafting a sales pitch that wins | April Dunford (author of Obviously Awesome and Sales Pitch):

Sales Pitch: How to Craft a Story to Stand Out and Win:

• B2B Go-to-Market Playbooks and the Technology Adoption Life Cycle:

• Juniper:

• Sal Khan on LinkedIn:

• Khan Academy:

• How the Star Wars Kessel Run Turns Han Solo Into a Time-Traveler:

• Atlassian:

• Martin Casado on LinkedIn:

The Infinite Staircase: What the Universe Tells Us About Life, Ethics, and Mortality:

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