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  2.6. The Chasm between Early Adopters and Early Majority (3 min.)

Geoffrey Moore, drawing on Rogers’ research, applied the pattern to technology startups in his books Crossing the Chasm and Inside the Tornado. Moore argued that although technology adoption followed the pattern described by Rogers, there was a definite gap between the needs of each group. More important, the gap between early adopters and the early majority was actually a major chasm.

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Moore highlighted that although many technology companies get early traction with the innovators and early adopters, they then struggle to move to the next segment of customers: the early majority. Why would that be? The reason is that early majority customers have very different needs and purchasing requirements than the early adopters, who were willing to take an early risk for increased benefit. Instead, the early majority, who are defined as pragmatists, want to make a safe purchase decision and tend to follow the herd. The early majority look left and right for their opinion and gain comfort in what they see others doing. The difficulty in establishing market credibility with the early majority creates a chasm between a startup and the mass-market adoption of its products.

(See Nail It Then Scale It, pgs. 31-33)