The 4 Stages to Technology Adoption Inside the Chasm

Omar M. Khateeb
4 min readNov 29, 2017

“From great bitterness comes a great awakening”

In the world of disruptive high tech medical devices, Geoffrey A. Moore’s “Crossing the Chasm” is the playbook by which you learn to secure a niche and use it to leverage into the mainstream market.

The greatest medical device executives will tell you war stories of taking their technology to market, fighting tooth and nail for supremacy, and what it takes to stay on top.

It all starts at the chasm.

Outlining the technology adoption lifecycle, Moore shows that customers sit at various places at various times. When you get to a tipping point between 15 and 18 percent market penetration, the system tips and you get mass-market acceptance of an idea.

This is known as “Crossing the Chasm”, and in a company’s journey, it receives little attention once the excitement of mass-market adoption overshadows it.

There’s also the fact that most successful companies get through as fast as possible. To be clear, the chasm is a very bad, nasty place to be.

It promises few, if any, new customers. What it does house are all sorts of unpleasant types of people, from disenchanted current customers to nasty competitors and unsavory investors.

At the heart of all high tech startups is a product that spawned from a small group of passionate scientists.

The Scientific Hurdle

Throughout history, scientists have struggled to communicate their ideas to the general public. By its very nature, science is an artificial selection of ideas based on rigorous testing of their usefulness rather than on people’s feelings.

This is why new scientific ideas tend to rub people the wrong way at first and produce predictable reactions from the market. Reactions that have become consistently predictable.

When Charles Darwin first proposed his theories on natural selection in 1859, there were several stages of public reaction — ones that any revolutionary idea seems to go through before becoming accepting. Challenging the status quo is in fact, challenging.