Crossing The Chasm
More than 20 years ago Geoffrey Moore wrote the seminal book on high-tech growth strategies “Crossing the Chasm”. I remember that when I joined eBay around 2001 you would have had a hard time to find someone who hasn’t read the book and was discussing the implications. Today, when I mention the book to young entrepreneurs, most of them haven’t heard about it. Which is strange — as I believe the lessons learned in Geoffrey’s book are as relevant today as they were 20 years ago.
In a nutshell Geoffrey explains that when you look at the typical technology adoption lifecycle (which is bell shaped) you will find a distinct gap (the chasm) between your early adopters and the early majority. The reason for this is that your customers in the early majority look for different things than your early adopters — namely they look for perceived safety by buying from a market leader. Which in turn means — you need to find a niche which you can dominate and grow from there (the bowling alley strategy; also something which Peter Thiel describes, with other words, in his new book).
In the end it all comes down to focus, finding niches you can dominate and thus rise to market leader status instead of spreading yourself too thin and becoming an also-run: Take your market, segment it into relevant niches and figure out which of those niches you want to take first. Pick on and focus on becoming the dominant player in that niche before you take the next one.