Category design overview play bigger book

Finding what’s missing in a space and creating a new category could launch your company to Category King status. In this section, our expert will walk you through how Airbnb developed their Category Design to become a dominant leader in the shared economy space.

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So, if you wanna do this, how do you start to think this way? The idea of looking for what's missing and that's, you know, if you're looking at a market and it's already there and you're saying, well, I'm gonna, that looks like a big market. This whole idea that has been around for a long time of, Oh, that's a big opportunity. There's space for, you know, several winners in that particular space.

That's just total bull.

It's just not, it's not true in digital markets, 'cause if we go back to the digital markets, winners tend to take all. And so what you wanna do is you wanna look for a space that's new and is missing. And this is what Airbnb did when they got started. If you think about the story of Airbnb, these two guys in San Francisco had an apartment, a couple of designers, and there was a conference in town that all the hotels were sold out and they thought, you know, they didn't have much money, they thought, well, you know, "Hey, we could blow up "a couple of air mattresses, "put them on the floor "and serve Cap'n Crunch in the morning "and put this on Craigslist "and maybe we'll get a couple of people "that would wanna, you know, rent this room." It worked. They quickly realized they thought this and actually the whole company in the beginning was geared towards the idea of creating space when there were big conferences in town, in any particular town.

But they, thought they realized that there was this missing thing of how do you have these sort of short term opportunities to rent the place, you know, when hotels don't work and you don't want to have a long-term rental on something like HomeAway and you know, they constantly saw a bigger and bigger missing as they went, but this was a new space that they created. In fact at one point I was at this big business conference and sat next to the CEO of Marriott and I turned to him and I said, "Well, you guys must really hate Airbnb, don't you?" And he surprised me and he said, "No, we don't hate them "at all, we don't even feel like we compete with them." He said, "We hate like Expedia and Travelocity "because their fees take a portion of "you know, our revenue, "but these guys, like we don't care," because they see it as a completely different space.