Moore helped us understand new-tech product launches need a tech community supporting, using, and promoting new products before they can cross the proverbial chasm towards an early majority adoption cycle. In an era of mobile consumables abundance, product launches without tech enthusiast promotion make it tough to get out ahead of the pack - a pack now larger and growing faster than any previous pack in tech history. Of course, I'm asserting this with a bias heavily weighted towards mobile products and apps - an area currently exploding with innovation.
Revisiting Moore's now age-old business theory-turned-strategy helped me realize all over again how new-tech innovations and products need an insider tech community of promoters early in a launch lifecycle to help propel it across the gap. However, when Moore released his work in 2002, the world of the Web (and media to a larger extent) was a very different place. Social interwebs didn't exist, blogs weren't pervasive, press releases were the path to attention, and viral, word-of-mouth promotion and subsequent adoption required complicated, expensive, and time-consuming grass-roots efforts. The communications and media landscape has changed quite a bit since then - a gross understatement!
Today, everyone from fundraiser to developer to consumer can be heard, and because they can, they are talking and talking and talking; and some of the talk may be part of a product launch strategy voiced by a circle of influential high-tech insiders working strategically in a clan of kinship. Since January this year I've been tracking new mobile product launches by following influential individuals who tweet and blog regularly about new products coming out of stealth mode or incubation protection. I've mapped their social connections and have discovered promotional circles of support - gaming from various communities - some built around common kin geographies, and others built around a common social graph of connectivity with apparent mutual economic or popularity gain interests. It's revealing to watch tech enthusiasts in a common smaller community garner support from a larger tech enthusiast populous to help propel a new product into an elite class.
Yesterday, I was asked by a coming-out-of-stealth start-up if I would consider writing a piece about their launch. While I really wanted to help out at a personal level, I passed. I passed on the request because a) I made a decision not to support these kinds of launch promotions in my writings, because b) I'm now interested in behaviors in group self-promotion and gain and any effort to help would compromise this. That said, these gaming methods are intriguing and enticing, yet disturbing at the same time. I hope I'm wrong about them, because being right and exposing it might isolate me from tech enthusiast circles that do it, which I don't want - for various personal reasons. I also wonder what Moore would say, and how he would adapt his own theory to this newer, subversive, more calculated, smarter, yet socially 'transparent' approach to influence. Or, has he already said something I'm not aware of? Is his own influence still relevant? Is he on twitter? ;-)