MassTLC kicked off its CXO Series, "Crossing the Chasm" - What has Changed in the Past Two Decades?” to a packed room in the Seaport District. Geoffrey Moore, author of Crossing the Chasm and Inside the Tornado addressed the audience and revisited his original premise of how and when companies cross a chasm and scale to the next level. Geoffrey continued with his overview, but included more current trends and examples.
He spoke of the mature life cycle of a technology, from emerging market (aka pre-tornado) through the quick and steep climb of growth, followed by the flat mature market, and ultimately – regardless of how successful the technology – a decline. It is between the flat and decline where a company thrives or dies. It is at this juncture the leaders need to innovate and “catch the next wave” bringing the cycle back to its beginning as emerging.
Geoffrey also spoke of “the four gears model” in which a company should continually be focused on one gear. The gears include: enlistment, acquisition, engagement, monetization. This is not to say more than one gear should not be turning at the same time, but to succeed, focus must be on just a single gear.
Geoffrey joined our Founders Panel, moderated by Michael Skok, Partner, North Bridge Venture Partners and included David Husak, Founder and CEO, Plexxi; Andy Ory, Founder and CEO, Acme Packet; and Susan Hunt Stevens, Founder and CEO, Practically Green. Following is a short clip of the panel discussion.
After each panel member introduced themselves and their companies, discussion led into how each was able to disrupt within their organizations, their clients, and ultimately the ecosystem. Andy Ory speaking from his experience with founding Acme Packet to its recent acquisition by Oracle, is that success is disruption plus leverage.
David continued to speak about the challenges of today’s entrepreneurs to scale their companies, taking them across the chasm, including the lack of second and third round funding available. Regardless of how many amazing innovations and disruptors that exist, there is just not enough investment money for everyone.
Susan discussed short term avenues they were able take advantage of, such as utilizing facebook and twitter to aid in their awareness. But she cautioned they were not sustainable or scaleable, it was from there she assessed her core audience (not the CTO!) and was able to find stakeholders who will remain engaged.