Category Design is a Business Strategy.

It helps your team understand what products to build, how to go to market, how to pitch investors, even how to hire.

Category design creates a North Star for your company; a flag on the hill. It frames a vision in a real-world context, so you know what to do now to get to where you want to go. Importantly, it sets your company apart. In most categories today, one winner takes most of the economics. So why would you want to be in an established category that already has a winner? Instead, design and develop a new category in a way that makes sure YOU win.

“Different” Creates New Categories.

Most companies just try to be better than competitors—fighting for market share.

You can find new categories in problems that need to be solved – or emerging problems you see that no one else yet sees. We call that a “missing.” Category design helps a leadership team clearly see an important missing, define it, and show the world why you exist to solve it.

Our Methodology

First the Questions:

What’s the problem you solve?

As technology and society change, new problems open up that are not being solved…or new technology is able to solve in old problem in novel new way. Seeing such a “missing” is a way to see a new category opportunity. But it’s harder to do than you might think.


What solution must exist?

Once you see a “missing,” the next step is to define a solution to that missing that must exist in the world, whether or not your company builds it. If you can make others see that this must exist, you can make customers, investors, analysts, employees and the media see the category on your terms.


Why are you that solution?

If you do a great job defining the problem and the solution, people will believe you know how to build that solution. The third step in category design is showing why your company is uniquely positioned to own the category.

Then we make magic happen together.


Develop a Unique Point of View (POV)

Once we can answer the three questions, we work closely with your team to develop a POV – some might call it a manifesto – that tells the story of the problem, the solution and your company’s unique ability to be the solution. The POV defines the category on your terms, setting the rules that others will have to follow – so you always have an advantage.


Evangelize your Category

After locking down the POV, together we plan how to take it out into the world. The POV is your internal story, but its language and narrative get translated into marketing, sales decks, ad campaigns, investor pitches, an S1 filing, job descriptions, product roadmaps, stump speeches and whatever else you might need. If you need help executing, we have partners that understand category design that can jump in.

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Read the book: Play Bigger

And learn more about other category design-related books.

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