A startup company faces four “inflection points” to reach a successful mass-market position, according Silicon Valley management consultant Geoffrey Moore, author of Crossing the Chasm.
The Niche involves the first customers who are the early adopters and enthusiasts easily persuaded by altruistic visionaries. They are swept up in the missionary zeal and are willing to live with the consequences of an immature product and infrastructure.
The Chasm is the lull in the market, the period in which pragmatic shoppers say the product leaves much to be desired. Some consumers with discretionary income buy in. But many startups, after the initial enthusiastic response, put the pedal to the metal when their market is actually winding down.
The Tornado of the mass market sucks everything in, be it cellphones or tablets or flat-panel TVs. The market zooms from nothing to everything, and the world re-engineers itself. This hypergrowth period usually creates a new product segment altogether, not a new niche within an existing segment.
The Settling of the market into a consistent Main Street model is the mature stage. That’s where the automotive industry is. There has never been a disruption in the industry sufficient to change its ways. Innovations such as tubeless tires and hybrid vehicles have changed consumer behavior slightly. But high volumes of electric vehicles would change the industry’s infrastructure.