category design

Category Design Overview

Think like a category designer.

Introduction to Category Design

Category Design is strategy and a methodology built around the goal of creating a new category of business.

A new category is built around a problem no one knew they had, or a problem no one knew they could solve. A great category creates a great company and product.

Category Design is a way to identify a unique problem and show the market you have the solution. That’s how you stand out as different. Category Creation is an important part of a company’s overall strategy. It is a C-level process that can make an enormous difference in a company’s valuation, its position against competitors, the perception of analysts, and the mindset of customers.

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Play Bigger Book Overview   Category Design Overview
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Books & Research

Helpful books related to category design that influenced category designers everywhere.

Case Studies

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“Maybe a fresh perspective helped. The packaging, structure of the concept – we wouldn’t have gotten so far if not for an external force making us think longer term.”

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CEO Stacy Brown-Philpot | TaskRabbit
Co-founder Brian Leonard | TaskRabbit

How category design mobilizes employees and helps the board - a case study


More than a decade ago, TaskRabbit identified and built a new category that might be called on-demand personal helpers. In fact, as the gig economy emerged in the late-2000s, TaskRabbit made itself into the king of its category. The company had a great run for nearly a decade, and in 2017 got acquired by IKEA. (The deal makes sense when you realize that a lot of TaskRabbit’s business was from people who needed help assembling IKEA furniture.)

By 2018, TaskRabbit was king of a category that was maturing, and had a new parent ready to invest in taking the company to a new stage.




Time Intelligence caught on with us very quickly,” says Replicon CEO and co-founder Raj Narayanswamy. “We collect time and apply meaning to it.”

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Raj Narayanswamy | Replicon


How category creation can win new attention for an old company – a case study

When we got involved with a twenty-year-old software company called Replicon, based in Silicon Valley and Calgary, they billed themselves as “Time management for your entire workforce.” It had about 200 employees and was doing well enough, but it was a second-tier player in a crowded category of time-tracking software.

Other companies, such as Kronos, were setting the agenda for the category. Replicon didn’t much excite the press or analysts. It was just a solid enterprise software company that mostly flew under the radar.




The category design process helped us dramatically sharpen and improve our category and direction,” Resnick says. “It forced us to align the entire company behind that category. It helped us find our go-to-market strategy, and align marketing and sales.”

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Assaf Resnick | BigPanda


How category design drives decisions and alignment – case study

Quite often, a well-funded, well-run technology company does a great job building and selling what it was founded to build and sell -- and then a few years later gets to a place where it goes, “What next? Where do we go now?”

BigPanda, based in Silicon Valley, was one of those companies. BigPanda was founded in 2012 by Assaf Resnick and Elik Eizenberg, and had raised more than $51 million in funding from top-tier investors including Sequoia Capital, Mayfield, and Battery Ventures. Its web site pitched the company as an “alert correlation platform.” Its products collected and sorted incoming alerts within data centers. The space had become crowded with competitors, and not all that exciting.




In collaboration with Techstars, Category Design Advisors produced the Category Design video and workshop series – Entrepreneur's Toolkit.


Category Design Thesis in just One Minute. 

category design

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