This Week in LIS - 31 January 2014

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Headline of the Week: The Problem is the Nouns 

Geoffrey Moore is another favorite author. This week marks the announcement of the launch of the 3rd Edition of his book, “Crossing the Chasm.” It has been one of the bibles for how to think about marketing high-tech products. A key concept is his Technology Adoption Life Cycle, which identifies different demographic groups, their characteristics, and motivations, and discusses how firms should approach meeting their differing needs.

This book is also valuable from a consumer perspective. One can think about which adoption group they might be in and what expectations they should have on the provider of the product offering. It is valuable, as well, at a different level of abstraction, for groups like LIS to think about how offerings we make available might be adopted within the Luther College community and what product marketing we need to do to help with adoption.

One can make a connection here to Nicholas Carr’s piece discussed last week entitled “IT Doesn’t Matter.”  In this piece Carr argues why, in general, for IT, one wants to be neither be in the innovator group nor an early adopter group but wait for experience to develop, products to mature and prices to fall and at best join the early majority. Carr doesn’t talk much about the disadvantages and consequences that come from being on the back end of the adoption curve with the late majority or laggards. Neither does he talk much about cases where one does want to be among the innovators and invest early to seize opportunities for competitive advantage. You are encouraged to hear Carr when he comes to campus bringing your critical thinking skills.

It was a pair of blog posts by Moore that led to the discovering of Moore’s new edition. In this pair of posts Moore reflects on what has changed since he originally wrote the book in 1991 and what is new. Moore leaves the reader with two takeaways. His Chasm model is a business-to-business model and today there is more business to consumer going on. We see this with the “Bring Your Own Device” phenomena. LIS provides a path from B2B2C and Moore says the adoption dynamics are different. Further, the layering of incremental innovations on top of other platforms, like the Internet, mute some of dynamics because it is easier and cheaper to experiment lowering risk. I look forward to reading this new edition.

By the way, here is a fun link and the connection to the teaser title of this post. Geoffrey Moore earned a PHD in Renaissance Literature. Today he is a venture capitalist and high-tech author. Geoffrey gave a short talk at a conference at Stanford exploring the relationship between the humanities and business (in Silicon Valley) telling his story on how he went from being an English Professor at Olivet College in Michigan to his role in Silicon Valley today. It is encouraging and prescriptive. Key takeaways include getting over the “noun hump,” leveraging rich language skills in problem solving, doing the work (to master the nouns associated with a new domain) and some optimistic tips on how graduates can navigate their first, next step after graduating with a degree in the humanities. It seemed timely to share this thinking about how the humanities can be applied in many domains given our U.S. President’s Art-History major poke.

Suggested Reading/Viewing/Listening:

Crossing the Chasm, 3rd Edition by Geoffrey Moore

Crossing the Chasm: What’s New, What’s Not? by Geoffrey Moore

Pt. 2 Crossing the Chasm: What’s New, What’s Not? by Geoffrey Moore

Crossing the Chasm from Academia to Business by Geoffrey Moore


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LIS Blog Highlights from the Week

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This Week in LIS is published most Fridays by Paul Mattson, Executive Director of LIS at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.

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