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Lenny's Podcast: Product | Growth | Career
How to become a category pirate | Christopher Lochhead (author of Play Bigger, Niche Down, Category Pirates, more)

How to become a category pirate | Christopher Lochhead (author of Play Bigger, Niche Down, Category Pirates, more)


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Christopher Lochhead is a 14-time #1 bestselling author, top podcaster, and former 3x public tech company CMO and has been an advisor to over 50 VC-backed tech startups. He is best known as a “godfather” of category design, and Adobe named his book Play Bigger one of “the five greatest marketing books of all time.” In this episode, we discuss:

• What exactly category design is

• The “Frame It, Name It, Claim It” framework

• How to go about designing your category

• Why “languaging” is so powerful

• Rating yourself on the category design scorecard

• Why Chris considers “product-market fit” a dangerous concept

• Chris’s spicy take on positioning

• The “better trap” and why it’s crucial to avoid it

• The magic triangle of product, company, and category

• How to embrace negative feedback

• Why the greatest time in the history of innovation is now

Listen now on Apple, Spotify, Google, Overcast, and YouTube.

Find the full transcript at: https://www.lennyspodcast.com/how-to-become-a-category-pirate-christopher-lochhead-author-of-play-bigger-niche-down-category/

Where to find Christopher Lochhead:

• Twitter/X: https://twitter.com/lochhead

• LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/christopherlochhead/

• Website: https://www.categorypirates.com/

Where to find Lenny:

• Newsletter: https://www.lennysnewsletter.com

• Twitter/X: https://twitter.com/lennysan

• LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lennyrachitsky/

In this episode, we cover:

(00:00) Chris’s background

(05:08) Why Chris shares his negative criticism on his website

(11:58) A simple explanation of category design

(18:00) How Purell mastered category design

(23:07) What Gong got right (and wrong)

(29:01) The “better trap” and why it’s crucial to avoid it

(38:51) Reflective thinking vs. reflexive thinking

(44:45) How Lomi created a revolutionary solution for food waste 

(48:50) The “Frame It, Name It, Claim It” framework 

(49:08) The concept of “languaging” 

(54:00) Examples of languaging 

(59:19) Spend more time on the problem than the solution

(1:01:37) The power of “backcasting”

(1:07:33) The truth behind building legendary brands

(1:10:39) The problem with product-market fit

(1:16:11) Chris’s spicy take on positioning

(1:19:20) “Damming the demand”

(1:24:49) Laws from Chris’s book The 22 Laws of Category Design

(1:29:46) Word of mouth: the most powerful form of marketing

(1:34:05) Chris’s closing message to listeners

(1:39:01) Lightning round


• Rick Rubin Says Trust Your Gut, Not Your Audience: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/rick-rubin-says-trust-your-gut-not-your-audience/id1570872415?i=1000606447333

• How to identify your ideal customer profile (ICP): https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/p/how-to-identify-your-ideal-customer

• Grant Cardone on Twitter: https://twitter.com/GrantCardone

• Tai Lopez on Twitter: https://twitter.com/tailopez

• The Difference Between a First Mover and a Category Creator: https://hbr.org/2019/11/the-difference-between-a-first-mover-and-a-category-creator

• Gojo Industries: https://www.gojo.com/

• Gartner reports: https://www.gartner.com/

• Forrester reports: https://www.forrester.com/bold

• Gong: https://www.gong.io/

• Clari: https://www.clari.com/

• Threads, Instagram’s “Twitter Killer,” Has Arrived: https://www.nytimes.com/2023/07/05/technology/threads-app-meta-twitter-killer.html

• Kevin Maney: https://kevinmaney.com/

• Red Bull cola: https://www.redbull.com/int-en/theorganics/organics-simply-cola

• Microsoft Copied Apple’s Successful Retail Plan. Now It’s Shutting the Whole Thing Down: https://www.inc.com/jason-aten/microsoft-copied-apples-successful-retail-plan-now-its-shutting-whole-thing-down.html

• A New Way to Think, with World’s #1 Management Thinker Roger Martin: https://lochhead.com/roger-martin/

A New Way to Think: Your Guide to Superior Management Effectiveness: https://www.amazon.com/New-Way-Think-Management-Effectiveness/dp/164782351X

• RJ Scaringe on Twitter: https://twitter.com/rjscaringe

• Lomi: https://lomi.com/products/lomi

• Otis elevators: https://www.otis.com/en/us

• How to build a breakthrough … the secret of Backcasting: https://medium.com/@m2jr/how-to-build-a-breakthrough-3071b6415b06

• John Bielenberg’s website: https://www.thinknado.com/

• Eddie Yoon: https://www.eddiewouldgrow.com/

• Marc Andreessen on Twitter: https://twitter.com/pmarca

Snow Leopard: How Legendary Writers Create a Category of One: https://www.amazon.com/Snow-Leopard-Legendary-Writers-Category/dp/1956934456

Play Bigger: How Pirates, Dreamers, and Innovators Create and Dominate Markets: https://www.amazon.com/Play-Bigger-Dreamers-Innovators-Dominate-ebook/dp/B015MOJ80G

Niche Down: How to Become Legendary by Being Different: https://www.amazon.com/Niche-Down-Become-Legendary-Different-ebook/dp/B07FLKJJQQ

The 22 Laws of Category Design: Name & Claim Your Niche, Share Your POV, and Move The World from Where It Is to Somewhere Different: https://www.amazon.com/Laws-Category-Design-Somewhere-Different/dp/195693457X/

• An inside look at Deel’s unprecedented growth | Meltem Kuran Berkowitz (Head of Growth): https://www.lennyspodcast.com/an-inside-look-at-deels-unprecedented-growth-meltem-kuran-berkowitz-head-of-growth/

Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah: https://www.amazon.com/Illusions-Adventures-Reluctant-Richard-Bach/dp/0440204887

What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School: Notes from a Street-Smart Executive: https://www.amazon.com/What-Teach-Harvard-Business-School/dp/0553345834

Inventing Anna on Netflix: https://www.netflix.com/title/81008305

• The rise and fall and rise of Tony Eltherington: https://www.swellnet.com/news/swellnet-dispatch/2017/04/27/rise-and-fall-and-rise-tony-eltherington

Production and marketing by https://penname.co/. For inquiries about sponsoring the podcast, email podcast@lennyrachitsky.com.

Lenny may be an investor in the companies discussed.

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Lenny's Podcast: Product | Growth | Career
Interviews with world-class product leaders and growth experts to uncover concrete, actionable, and tactical advice to help you build, launch, and grow your own product.