Book Club Recap: Geoffrey Moore, in conversation with Scott Olrich

by Victor Echevarria

June 14th, 2019

Last month at the quarterly JSV Book Club meetup, in partnership with Silicon Valley Bank, we had the privilege of hosting Geoffrey Moore, renowned management theorist and author, to discuss two of his best-selling books, Crossing the Chasm and Zone to Win.

In Crossing the Chasm, Moore shows that in the Technology Adoption Lifecycle—which begins with innovators and moves to early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards—there’s a vast chasm between early adopters and the early majority. While early adopters are willing to sacrifice for the advantage of being first, the early majority waits until there’s proof that the technology actually facilitates improvements in productivity. The challenge for innovators and marketers is to narrow this chasm and ultimately accelerate adoption across every segment.
Zone to Win: Organizing to Compete in an Age of Disruption has been celebrated as a practical manual for addressing the challenges businesses face when they seek to add a new line of business to their established portfolio. Focused on spurring next-generation growth, guiding mergers and acquisitions, and embracing disruption and innovation, with Zone to Win, Moore has created a high-powered tool for driving organizations beyond their limitations and traditional definitions of success.

To guide the discussion, Geoffrey was joined by DocuSign COO Scott Olrich, who provided the unique perspective of someone who’s actually put Moore’s theories to work operationally—both at DocuSign and as CMO of Responsys, both of which are in the JSV portfolio. Here are some of our favorite moments from the discussion:

When introducing a disruptive innovation to an existing community, it will self segregate into adoption sub-communities.

Moore defines what the stages are in the Technology Adoption Lifecycle, what the playbook looks like for each, and why they have to be taken on separately and in order.

What’s changed since 1991, when the first edition of Crossing the Chasm was published?

“Everything that Google said sounded so wrong.” Moore breaks down why in the 90s it was not conceivable that consumer could lead a high tech market. Some things, however, haven’t changed at all.

What are the zones companies must navigate to win?

Moore defines the four zones successful organizations navigate on their path to add a new line of business to their established portfolio. What does he say is the most embarrassing thing about business today? That no corporation uses the traditional venture operating model to scale.

You can’t make your numbers and transform, so don’t stay bound to your spreadsheets.

Moore explains what every company must commit to in order to innovate beyond traditional definitions of success.

Here's the entire talk, full of amazing insights like those above:

We can’t express enough how grateful we are for Geoffrey and Scott’s time and perspective. If you would like to join the JSV book club, you can do so here.