Reading & Writing Assignment (4) – Crossing the Chasm

By now, we hope, you have understood how reading and writing can do wonders for your English. We are sure you are as eager for the 4th assignment as we are. Let’s get started.

What will you do in this assignment? – You would read about an interesting concept, watch a clip on it, and then answer a question based on what you read and saw. Ready?

Today’s situation (source)

‘Crossing the Chasm (pronounced as ‘kasm’)’ is a popular marketing theory proposed by Geoffrey A Moore in 1991 in a book by a similar name. It describes how the markets are created for new technologies. Whenever a new technology enters the market, there are a few people who start using it very soon – these are called early adopters and they do so not necessarily because the new technology is superior but more because by nature these people are more experimental and willing to try new stuff.

While these early users or customers are essentials for a new business (since they spread the word of mouth), they do not result in a significant (or any) profit. The vast majority of the population is made up of people who are pragmatists (realists) or conservatives who are hesitant to change their current habits and reluctant to explore a new way of doing things. But they would switch their behavior if they see a large number of people around them now moving to the new technology because they do not want to be left out. As you can imagine, since this is the segment where most of the people fall in, this is also the segment where maximum profit for a business exists. For a new business to succeed, it has to cross the gap (or chasm) that exists between the niche (small) market of early adopters and the mainstream market of pragmatists. At the other end of the extreme are ‘skeptics’ – people who would never switch and continue to stick to old ways of doing things.

If you think deeply enough, there are sufficient examples of this human behavior playing out in front of our eyes almost every single day. Whenever there is something new, people initially reject it or show no interest, but gradually it picks up. Think of e-commerce in India- initially, no one thought that people would be comfortable paying online and very few did, but over the years that has become a very natural way of shopping for people (especially in cities). Same goes for the adoption of app-based cab services (some section of the society is still fighting it but gradually people are getting accustomed to them).

Let’s watch a video clip and see a very interesting example of this behavior being demonstrated at a music festival (of all the places you can imagine!).

Question for you– Describe a situation in your life when you took an initiative and started something. How was your overall experience and what did you learn (min. 250 words). Your experience need not have followed the same trajectory as described in the video, so don’t worry about that. As long as you have a story of taking an initiative in your life, share that. And if you don’t have a story from your life, you can share someone else’s (friends, family etc.) story too.

You can also read fellow students’ answers in comments (but do so only after you have submitted your own answer so that you don’t get influenced by what others wrote). We also encourage you to share your feedback, appreciation, and thoughts against others’ answers. Remember, it is a community effort and we are all in it together :). Only when you participate, you can expect others to participate and share feedback on what you wrote. Deal?

To read the next article of the series, on the usage of direct and indirect speech, click on the next button below. To go back to the earlier article, click on the previous button.

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8 thoughts on “Reading & Writing Assignment (4) – Crossing the Chasm

  • October 14, 2016 at 6:23 PM

    Hi, my name is Kirat and I want to throw light on a small initiative which I took in my college days and is an example of ‘crossing the chasm’ theory.

    Many students in my college loved cricket after the college hours and played daily in a nearby park.

    One day, my friends and I took thought of organising a cricket league for our college. To start the initiative, we initially faced many obstacles like lack of resources for marketing, inventory etc. But with time we figured cost-effective ways to solve these trivial problems.

    Honestly, the initial response wasn’t great as many of the students didn’t want to shell participating fee but with time (and, offline-online marketing of course :) ), teams started participating.

    By the end of the first week, after starting the publicity, we had more than 100 students on board! The enthusiasm, passion, and zeal of the students were phenomenal and that made it a GRAND success. After 3 weeks of hard work we ended the tournament on a high note (well w/o any hiccups basically).

    After reading this story you might think what’s the big deal in arranging a small cricket tournament. Well, for me it was because it taught me an important and unforgettable lesson – “You never fail until you stop trying”.

    Hope you liked the story! Cheers :)

    Reply
  • October 15, 2016 at 4:26 PM

    I don’t have a great story that will give you goosebumps and make you go “Wow”. I was an average confused engineering graduate with not so great employable skills but I had a lot of free time after my graduation to discover myself (thank you unemployment). Changing tv channels I happened to come across Bloomberg India news channel and that’s how I was introduced to financial markets.

    Intrigued by the whole financial markets and investing, I decided to learn a bit more about it. Luckily I found this video (https://youtu.be/WEDIj9JBTC8) (would strongly recommend you to watch this) and I realized how simple investing is (it’s not btw). I asked my mom to lend me some money so that I can get started with this latest madness of mine. “You’re an engineer, all this market and all is not for you” is what I got in return, my friends laughed at me calling it as a “phase”. To support myself, I taught myself HTML and found an internship as a web developer; simultaneously I was learning the ropes of investing ( I am still). Today I am an average investor, with 2 years of experience in the Indian markets.

    As an average investor, I learned the following life lessons:
    Don’t go after money, this may seem contradictory but it’s true. Chase and invest in businesses that deliver value to consumers.
    Be humble (at least pretend), don’t brag about your portfolio.
    Block noise from your life and take the time to: think, learn and evolve.
    There is a good chance that people don’t know what is going and don’t let them tell you what you should be doing.
    Believe in compounding, it takes time : to learn, to make money, to be awesome, to be successful.

    Reply
  • October 15, 2016 at 5:15 PM

    Hi guys, I am Kishalaya and I want to share an example of someone I know, who had made a journey between being a skeptic to an avid user of technology.

    My father was an perfect example of an old fashioned person who preferred to appreciate the advancing technology from a safe distance. He was happy at the pace at which the world moved forward and how the youth adopted to it but didn’t prefer to be a part of it. Everyone had moved on to ATM cards, net banking, using online websites to book tickets, but he still carried a cheque book till last year because he thought keeping an debit/credit card was just too risky as loosing it means loosing all the money in the bank.

    But somewhere inside he was lazy as well. I took advantage of that and forcibly introduced him to ATM debit cards and its benefits. He was very reluctant in the beginning and never told me his ATM pin in case I accidentally blurted his secret pin to someone (and loose all his savings).

    Now when I look at him, coolly booking cabs through Paytm and ordering food through Foodpanda etc., I can clearly see someone who made an ideal consumer’s journey. He was clearly not a pragmatist but, through his own understanding and experience, slowly learned to trust the technology at hand.

    Cheers.

    Reply
  • October 15, 2016 at 10:51 PM

    I would like to talk about an initiative which I took along with some of my friends.

    I’ve always admired the art of teaching. During my graduation, I came to know about the Teach For India fellowship and was really inspired. I was very eager to join them, but I was only in my 2nd year.

    There was an orphanage near our colony. Those children used to go to a government school but no one ever gave attention to whether they were actually learning anything. When I came to know about it from my friend, it dawned on me that I didn’t need to wait for 1.5 years to do what I wanted. I talked to some of my friends and we decided that we would go and teach those children every day in the evenings. And that’s how we created the group, “ROSHNI – Illuminating lives”.

    But everything wasn’t that easy; we faced many hurdles. Some had to convince their parents that it wouldn’t affect their studies and internals. We had to convince the orphanage authorities for letting us use their rooms for teaching. For a couple of days, we just went to the orphanage and tried to interact with the kids, hoping to be their friends.

    A lot of planning went into preparing the timetable. Since we were only 5 regular members, we divided the subjects amongst us and assigned different classes on different days. In these 23 years that I’ve graced the world with my presence, nothing has taught me how to plan something, better than that experience.

    Finally, the D-day arrived. We took our first class in three different rooms, teaching students of five different classes (from 5th to 10th). I still remember that first day when I taught the basics of grammar and the fundamentals of biology to them. The smiles on their faces and the sincerity they showed were enough for me to understand that we were on the right track.

    We still faced obstacles like preparing the content, finding innovative ways of teaching (like we distributed comics and gave assignments on them to inculcate the habit of reading), juggling between English and Hindi medium textbooks etc. but we continued. Slowly, other students, who just laughed in the beginning and said this wouldn’t work, also got inspired and started chipping in. Soon, we got 12-15 teachers! :) The word spread, and we started receiving help from elders too. We continued this ‘Pathshala’ for almost one year, after which we had to leave Indore one by one for jobs/post-graduation, but that one year taught a lot to all of us.

    PS: Whenever I go home, I still visit the orphanage at times. The students greet me as if they have met a long lost friend! Deep in my heart, I know that somewhere down the line, I’ll resume teaching soon.

    Reply
  • October 16, 2016 at 12:24 AM

    Hi guys, I am going to share an experience of one of my friend which completely goes with the theory of crossing the chasm.

    During third year of his MBBS, he came back to his hometown while vacation and never went back. He decided to start his scrap trading. He quitted his studies and today he owns a fully functional plastic recycling business.

    From the above lines it could seem that how easy it was. But trust me, it wasn’t (for him). First of all it takes a lot of guts to take such a big decision. He was pursuing a reputed degree. Also, being from a family in which 3 or his elder brothers were doctor. He couldn’t even imagine that his father is gong to support him.

    Despite of all these things, he took initiative and started working for his goal. I still remember how much struggle he did. From setting up meeting with scrap vendors to borrowing money from his relative. He tried almost every possible option to start his business. Finally, his father supported him financially and now he is running his business smoothly.

    What I learnt from him is that you must have enough courage to trust yourself. Only after that all other good things will happen.

    Cheers.

    Reply
  • March 9, 2017 at 6:57 PM

    I am an introvert by nature and I don’t speak without thousands of evaluation of thoughts in my head. One day in evening I was with my friend near bus stand, Raipur. We were discussing where to go, all of a sudden one Marathi 40 years old lady came to us and started begging for money. She was all crying and exhausted because she had explained the situation to almost everyone nearby that area and no one helped her.
    The situation was that her family (almost 8–9 people) lost their luggage while travelling by train up to the Raipur railway station. They have wasted their 2–3 hours in the railway station but no one helped them. They were really hungry and out of energy just because all family members walked up to the bus stand that is almost 3–4 kilometres from the railway station.
    I and my friend just looked at each other, while the Marathi lady was explaining the scenario. After the conversation first I paid Chinese Food truck which was standing near the bus stand. I saw 3 small children in family look tired. After finishing food they were all really happy. I thought of giving them few more money so they can contact main railway station officer to collect the luggage but they denied.
    I don’t know if they had really lost their luggage at the railway station but when I saw that children smiling when the food arrived at their table gave me tremendous joy which I can’t explain to anyone.

    Reply
  • March 24, 2017 at 12:59 PM

    I would like to share an experience of my college life.

    When I was in the second year of my college. I was part of a student’s club called “Technoplanet Labs”. Our club was organizing one technical event for college students where we were providing them workshops for game application development and mobile application development. We were organizing such a big event for the very first time and were not sure that would we be able to make that event successful or not?

    Initially, we started with the planning that how we would be promoting our event and divided our club members according. We used to go in each and every class and used to tell them about the event, few of them used to take interest in it but many used to deny also. We were trying hard to get the maximum number of registrations but were actually failing to do that and received only 150 applications. Then, one of my senior said that we should change our pitch. He was the winner at many national levels competitions, so he asked us to highlight his achievements to the students and check whether this would work or not? Then we started telling college students if you would be able to develop your own applications, you all would be able to participate in such competitions and might even with them. Then many of them took part in that event and we received more than 800 registrations for both the workshops. That event taught me many things as I helped my seniors with the designing stuff, in getting registrations, giving the workshops. Getting the maximum number of registrations was a challenge for us but we tried and we succeed.

    Reply
  • April 28, 2017 at 11:41 PM

    Frankly, I don’t have any big inspiring story where I had took an initiative and achieved a big goal. But, yes, I had done something to overcome my stage fear (with a little push from my mother :p).

    I was in 11th standard, and being the second most senior in school we were suppose to give a farewell to our 12thies. In our school, we used to have the dance performances. Just to give a small background here, my mother is a dance teacher and was very famous in my school. She used to be one of the panelist for all the dance competition which were being held in our school. So, many teachers were in a direct contact with her and my mother, having a sociable nature, was well known among them. At the same time, she always wanted (kind of had a dream, since like forever) me to perform in the farewell; whereas, me on the other hand, had/have a stage fear so I was totally against it and used to advice my mother to chuck that thought out of her mind.

    But, when I actually came to 11th and when the farewell time was approaching, I saw my mother indirectly motivating me (never pressurized though), so I decided to give it a shot and got my name enrolled for the auditions. Now, the challenge for me was to prepare a dance and gave audition (trust me when I say that it was a very big task for me as being the dance teacher daughter’s, all the teachers had a very high hopes from me and in a way, they were very confident about me; whereas, I was feeling totally opposite and thought of backing out). But, some how I had managed to prepare a dance but I had selected a very slow song and had decided to try out contemporary dance style which was something not meant for farewell celebration. That is why, I was too scared to appear for the audition. So till the final call, I had not gone for the audition, but on the very last day, I had somehow summoned up my courage and went for it. To my surprise, teachers did not object over the song selection and in fact, ended up liking it by thinking this will be something different. They had shared few feedback points (of course, nervousness showing on my face being on the top :p). I was very happy that day and rushed back home and gave news to my mother. She was totally unprepared for it and got surprised. You can not imagine her happiness (I was felt double happy to be reason for it). She also praised me for the song selection and the dance that I had prepared on my own (which was a very BIG compliment for me and added to my confidence, too).

    On farewell, I performed and trust me every body loved it. While I was performing, I heard their hoots, I got SO happy and at the same time, badly nervous and conscious. I fumbled a little also in between and forgot the last step because of the nervousness but somehow had covered it and ended up managing it nicely.

    This was my small initiative for myself to overcome my stage fear and an attempt to make my mother happy. It was only a first step but after that, I started to participate in many other events and not only this, in last year, I took part in declaration and won first price. I would not say that my fear is completely gone. No, not at all but yes, I have made remarkably great improvement and have come far and I am still working on it everyday. I wish to get hold on it completely and I know, I will one day :).

    Reply

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