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Explorers and expanders keep the engine of development running. Explorers test a new value proposition or apply a technology in a new way. They learn about, for example, the true scope of business opportunity or what a buyer values in a new design or service. Expanders develop a low-risk value proposition for mainstream customers, those who want reliability, and shied away from most explorers. Although it is possible to explain these roles in abstract terms, the article takes the easier approach and simply illustrates them based on events. Companies considered include: IBM; MCI; PSINet; BBN Technologies; Cisco; Dell; Best Buy; and Circuit City.
Date of Publication: July-Aug. 2005