I've been using/testing LR for Mac since beta 1 came out, and I get the overwhelming feeling that LR is niether a new way to work with RAW files nor a new way to organize them. It seems like LR could go in either of two directions; 1) a a standalone dam/cataloguing tool, or 2) as a versatile RAW file processor.
Jeff has been very clear a few weeks ago on this very forum that LR would not support other RAW converters besides the one supplied (whether it is ACR based, RSP based or a mix).
LR is therefore definitely not a DAM, it is a RAW converter with advanced file mgt ability. The whole concept appears to be based on the idea that people will accept to work mostly with the LR RAW converter to benefit from the file Mgt abilities of the application.
If you don't mind managing your files for a RAW converter, and then managing them some other way for your other RAW converters, it is probably a good solution. I personnally prefer to manage all my files in one application, and then decide what RAW converter I want to use to convert any of these files, but that is just me I guess.
The real question is "why did Adobe decide not to let LR users select what RAW converter they want to use for files managed by LR"... the answer appears to be part of the question, isn't it? :-)
The Jeff team once called Nikon "arrogant" for claiming that they could provide with Nikon Capture an application that would satisfy most photographer's needs without using Photoshop... and now Adobe is trying to do the same thing themselves... Which makes me feel like Nikon was right.
So what is happening here appears crystal clear to me, instead of letting Nikon, RSP, silkpix... threaten PS, Adobe decided to come up with its own application to fill that niche. The folks at Adove being very talented, I believe that they will probably come up with something brilliant, and the first version of LR is indeed remarkable, except that it is still an application trying to keep you captive, instead of one opening up the playing field.