A Global Band of Category Designers

Led by CDA co-founders Kevin Maney, co-author of Play Bigger, and Mike Damphousse, a veteran CEO and category designer – Category Design Advisors will guide you through the strategy and a methodology built around the goal of creating a new category of business.

The History

CDA was founded in 2016 to help companies identify, define and win new market categories – a methodology detailed in the book Play Bigger, co-authored by CDA co-founder Kevin Maney. CDA’s other co-founder, Mike Damphousse, for three decades had been a CEO and CMO in the same category design circles as Kevin. They were joined in 2023 by John Rougeux, who previously ran category design inside two startups.

CDA Team By the Numbers


Companies and New Categories
More than

Books Published


Combined years of experience guiding companies

The CDA Team

Kevin Maney

Founding Partner

Kevin Maney is co-author of Play Bigger and has been a bestselling author and award-winning columnist writing about technology for three decades. That allows him to bring broad and deep context to Category Design conversations. Kevin’s most recent book is Intended Consequences, co-authored with his long-time collaborator, Hemant Taneja, who runs the VC firm General Catalyst. His other books with Hemant are UnHealthcare: A Manifesto for Health Assurance, which proposes a new category of healthcare, and the 2018 book Unscaled: How AI and a New Generation of Upstarts Are Creating the Economy of the Future. He also authored The Two-Second Advantage (a 2011 New York Times best seller), Trade-Off: Why Some Things Catch On and Others Don't, and The Maverick and His Machine: Thomas Watson Sr. and the Making of IBM. Kevin has written for Newsweek, Fortune, The Atlantic, Fast Company, Conde Nast Portfolio, The New York Times and USA Today, and has appeared frequently on television and radio, including CNN, CBS Sunday Morning and NPR. He also writes music for and plays in a New York band, Total Blam Blam.

Mike Damphousse

Founding Partner

Mike brings an experienced, pragmatic aspect to category design, baked in from three decades as a company founder, CEO, CMO and startup advisor. He understands how companies work, how markets react, and how to design and build categories. Mike was most recently founder and CEO/CMO of Green Leads, which introduced the pipeline generation category and was acquired by Next 15 (LON:NFC). He was previously CMO of Asteria, which IPO’d on the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TYO:3853 Asteria). Mike has served on several boards of both commercial and non-profit ventures. Mike holds a BS in Computer Science from Merrimack College. Mike speaks regularly at conferences such as Dreamforce, Inbound, etc. Mike has three daughters, two granddaughters, a grandson and lives on the water in both New Hampshire and Florida with his wife and business partner, Linda.

John Rougeux

Category Designer-at-Large

John has helped hundreds of category design thinkers gain a deeper understanding of this strategy through his consulting, experience as a marketing leader and co-founder, and publications like The Newcomer’s Guide to Category Design, which Christopher Lochhead calls “the right sh*t.” John has the rare experience of practicing category design from inside a business, which has given him a deep understanding of the challenges associated with a category transformation. Category design highlights include “multiweb” at blockchain pioneer BlockSpaces, “human-centered communication” at BombBomb, and “omnidata intelligence” at Australia-based Skyfii (ASX:SKF). A graduate of Virginia Tech, John now resides in Colorado with his wife and four daughters. You can usually find him skiing, mountain biking, or off on some other adventure in the great outdoors.

Our Partners

Category design is a unique discipline. CDA has partnered with firms that understand the process and can help companies mobilize their category strategy, whether the need is PR, video production, branding, content or other functions. Our partners include: