Crossing the Chasm Jumps the Shark

Posted by | May 06, 2008 | software design | No Comments

Leigh Himel sensibly questions whether Crossing the Chasm is still relevant Not only are many technology products part of a mature market where design is a premium over features (expensive hifis have few features and sound good and these days iPods are like this), but Leigh suggests that people themselves as technology buyers are maturing which changes the marketplace overall.

I’d go one step further: crossing the chasm was and still is pseudo-scientific nonsense. Nonsense, because it takes something that is true but ultimately dull (the ubiquitous bell curve) and slices it into a shape that is practically impossible to translate to any mathematical model of real events and which has no empirical evidence of existence anywhere, anyway.

Crossing the Chasm works as a meme the way self help books, therapy, diet pills or creationism do – it provides a too good to be true gimmick explanation for the way things are that appeals to people who want the truth to be convenient, and easily memorizable rather than understandable and based on evidence.

To be fair, the original book was less pernicious because it was more qualitative than subsequent interpretation. But that’s to say its harmless, in the way that homeopathic water is more harmless than blood letting. Neither are provably effective.

One thing is for sure, the Internet has created a landscape for reliable, realtime, quantitative analysis of marketing, and with it the marketing landscape itself is maturing.

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