By | Published On: January 12, 2023 |

Welcome to episode 112 with my guest Kevin Maney

Kevin is first and foremost an author but also a “category designer.”  He writes books and speaks about technology and business.

Frequently appearing on TV and radio as well as lecturing at conferences and universities, Kevin’s most recent book, “Intended Consequences,” hit No. 2 on The Wall Street Journal’s bestseller list.  It was No. 7 on Publisher Weekly’s non-fiction book list.

Writing is the heart of the “category design” consulting work that Kevin does. Just like working as a reporter, category design involves listening, observing, researching, and ultimately putting together powerful ideas.

So, what does this episode cover?

Kevin and I started chatting about what category design actually is.  It’s an immersive process or business strategy, where consulting with him and his team help you discover, define, and ultimately dominate a new market category.  It helps your team understand what products to build, how to go to market, and how to pitch to investors.

Design also helps to set your company apart.  In most sectors today with technology changing so quickly, one company is usually in the lead. That way they take most of the economics. Think Apple for example. So why would you want to be in an established category that already has a leading company? This would seem to make it more difficult for each of us to achieve significant sales. Kevin suggests it’s better to design and develop a new category in a way that makes sure YOU become the leader in that niche.

He suggests there are 3 main steps in the process:

  1. Problem solving – by evaluating emerging problems or something that is “missing” in the market. This is actually a way to see a new category opportunity.
  2. Put together a solution – you must define why it is important that this problem is fixed. If you can make others see that this new category must exist, you can make customers, investors, analysts, employees, and the media see the category on your terms.
  3. Why you are the solution – if you do a good job defining the problem and the solution, people will believe you know how to build that and why your company is uniquely positioned to own the category.

We chat more about problem solving and effective communication in terms of business and growth.  It is possible that if companies are doing well, they are not recognising things that are missing. This overlooks the opportunity to open up other categories that could lead to expansion and business growth.

You can read more about this as Kevin has written several books. His most recent being “Intended Consequences: How to Build Market-Leading Companies with Responsible Innovation.”  This is a great episode and I know you will find it interesting.