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  2.8. Crossing the Chasm - Going Vertical v. Horizontal (3 min.)

To decrease risk and increase your chances of success, remember to pay attention to where you are in the adoption life cycle. To cross the chasm, Moore suggests focusing on a single industry vertical, leveraging all your resources to win early-majority reference customers in that segment (by convincing them you are a safe, legitimate choice), and then dominating that segment before moving on to the next industry vertical.

Startups often face a tough choice between the temptation to go horizontal (be the next full service provider) and the difficult discipline to go focused on a vertical segment (choosing just one thing to focus on). Going vertical is key to focusing startups limited resources and convincing an early majority to buy the product. You don't need to build the whole product at the start; you just need to build enough to dominate the vertical segment you've chosen. For example, Nike spent many years working to dominate just one vertical segment, running shoes, before they moved on to other verticals such as athletic clothing, sports equipment, and watches.


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