Crossing the Smalltalk Chasm

Last week, I asked would crossing the chasm marketing work for smalltalk? Alex Peake says yes in my comments. But the more I think about it, the more I doubt it. Software sales is a popularity contest. Back in the day, no one ever got fired for buying IBM. Today, no one ever gets fired for buying Microsoft. Geoffrey Moore’s Crossing the Chasm provides a road map for attaining a similar position.

The critical step in crossing the chasm is achieving dominance in a strategic market. A strategic market is one that you can win, one that is worth winning, and one that provides a stepping stone to related markets. Once you get the herd moving in your direction, it’s easy to sell to the followers in the herd.

Smalltalk’s problem is that the herd has already started the move – in the wrong direction. It’s going to be tough to find a market not already moving away from Smalltalk that also provides a stepping stone to other markets. And without that stepping stone, it’s hard to break out of the niche.