Geoffrey Moore wrote Crossing the Chasm over 15 years ago and it's still probably the foremost framework used for launching new technology products. Wikipedia gives a nice summary to the theories basic premise:
"Moore's key insight is that the groups adopt innovations for different reasons. Early adopters are technology enthusiasts looking for a radical shift, where the early majority want a "productivity improvement". The latter group want a whole product, where the earlier group only needs the core product, and has the technical competence, and financial resources to make the rest themselves."
However, it struck me as I see more and more Agencies using this framework as their basis for go to market planning, that some significant things have changed since '91 that haven't been accounted for in Moore's original model.
One of the key foundations of the model is how they define usage by groups which brings a key question to the forefront of our current marketing reality. Has the definition of an early adopter changed? "Early adopters" are classically considered those who are willing to try virtually any new technology versus the "mainstream customers" that are much bigger in number but more cautious in adopting new technologies. But in that generation that grew up with the network and doesn't even 'SEE' technology per say (the notion that technology has become biology), is this great divide still relevant?
And that leaves me wondering one important and looming question. When it comes to technology, have we crossed the chasm? And if so does that mean the entire model of influence needs to be rethought?
update: Couple points of clarification
1. A few people have made the comment that my usage of the term technology is pretty vague and noted that there are still new technologies that fit under Moore's model. I should have been more specific that I was referring to many of the new launches of products and services on the Web (social networking, micro-blogging, SaaS, wireless handsets etc.) that are being marketed as "new" technologies in a revolutionary vs. evolutionary form. I still content that for Gen Y they don't see these services as technology the way my generation and older has. They don't go on the network - the network is ubiquitous connected and pervasively proximate (UCaPP) as my friend Mark Federman would say
2. To ladder on that point above, my other main point wasn't questioning the entire model, but suggesting that we may want to relook at how an early adopter is defined now that there has been a blurring between them and the mass. Anyone can be an influencer and our traditional (if i can say traditional) notions of the "geek" as driving market adoption may be flawed