Become a “Category King”

Want your business to thrive? Then start thinking about all your pet peeves and how to solve them.

This is exactly the strategy that made Uber so successful.  In 2008, Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp had trouble getting a cab on a snowy night, and came up with an app to help them get a ride.

Companies like Uber, Salesforce and Netflix are dominating their markets because they create a solution to a problem (not being able to get a cab) and become “category kings.” The companies that beat the competition and survive for the long term are those that focus on creating a category and then dominating it.

While being the first to invent something can be important, it doesn’t mean squat if you don’t define and develop a category. If you are the company that changes the way people think, people will see your company as the category king, and you will win the majority of the customers.

For example, Apple didn’t invent any products, but it has come to dominate the market just as Facebook didn’t invent the social network, but has become the leader. They built a category that pulled in customers and made them desire the product. They become category kings to be followed.

It’s important that workers are encouraged to embrace category creation and not feel they are so weighed down by their everyday jobs they don’t have time to think of anything else. By encouraging them to be focused on finding solutions to their own pet peeves, companies can generate even more viable category ideas.

Sometimes you can just step back and think: ‘What new problem can we solve?’”

Summing-up: While “disruption” has become a “holy word” in the tech industry, it’s a by-product, not a goal. Legendary companies create new categories that generate gravitational pull on the market. Customers rush to a new category because it makes sense to them.

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