Geoffrey Moore - Building Gorilla Businesses - [Invest Like the Best, EP. 261]


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My guest today is the renowned tech author, consultant, and venture partner at Wildcat Ventures, Geoffrey Moore. Geoffrey has spent his career focused on the dynamics surrounding disruptive innovations and his book, Crossing the Chasm, has become a canonical work for young businesses trying to unlock mainstream markets.

This discussion is a masterclass on business strategy. We start with Geoffrey’s more recent work on category-defining businesses, break down his life cycle of adoption framework, and close with the ways messaging should change as a company evolves. Please enjoy this great discussion with Geoffrey Moore.

For the full show notes, transcript, and links to mentioned content, check out the episode page here.


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Past guests include Tobi Lutke, Kevin Systrom, Mike Krieger, John Collison, Kat Cole, Marc Andreessen, Matthew Ball, Bill Gurley, Anu Hariharan, Ben Thompson, and many more.

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Show Notes

[00:03:08] - [First question] - What he means by a gorilla business

[00:07:10] - An example of how companies self-organize into gorillas, chimps, and monkeys

[00:09:41] - Why architecture is so important and how it applies to company building

[00:13:11] - How and when businesses should think about open and closed systems

[00:14:50] - Ways in which enabling tech companies are superior to application ones

[00:16:39] - Thoughts on approaching and hiring a singular use case company

[00:18:23] - Markets underestimate competitive advantage periods for technological gorillas

[00:20:38] - The inertia and duration of being the creator of a space’s architecture

[00:23:28] - Advice for early-stage companies when creating or dominating categories

[00:25:16] - What he’s learned about identifying trapped value

[00:26:49] - Questions that can identify trapped value, factoring for time, and horizontal uses

[00:41:49] - Problems with risk exposure in B2B and applying this model for value creation

[00:33:37] - His initial discovery of the life cycles of adoption and its five categories

[00:39:29] - Perspective on venture capital funding and going from idea to the chasm

[00:44:10] - What good pragmatists in pain look like

[00:47:29] - Successful vertical uses-case sales motions

[00:50:03] - Guarding from becoming over-specialized in a singular focused effort

[00:50:52] - The Diffusion of Innovations; Ways messages work their way through a company to keep up with category evolution

[00:55:00] - How extensible these ideas are to non-technology businesses

[00:56:04] - The race between innovation and distribution

[00:56:44] - What about the world today has changed or influenced his thinking

[00:59:17] - Ways big companies can stay competitive in emerging categories

[01:02:23] - The company he’s most enjoyed studying over his career

[01:05:25] - Shared characteristics of exceptional leaders he’s met and talked to

[01:07:48] - The Gorilla Game, Crossing the Chasm

[01:08:14] - The kindest thing that anyone has ever done for him

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