How to become a category pirate | Christopher Lochhead (author of Play Bigger, Niche Down, Category Pirates, more)
Play • 1 hr 49 min

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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

Find the full transcript at:

Where to find Christopher Lochhead:

• Twitter/X:

• LinkedIn:

• Website:

Where to find Lenny:

• Newsletter:

• Twitter/X:

• LinkedIn:

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:

• How to identify your ideal customer profile (ICP):

• Grant Cardone on Twitter:

• Tai Lopez on Twitter:

• The Difference Between a First Mover and a Category Creator:

• Gojo Industries:

• Gartner reports:

• Forrester reports:

• Gong:

• Clari:

• Threads, Instagram’s “Twitter Killer,” Has Arrived:

• Kevin Maney:

• Red Bull cola:

• Microsoft Copied Apple’s Successful Retail Plan. Now It’s Shutting the Whole Thing Down:

• A New Way to Think, with World’s #1 Management Thinker Roger Martin:

A New Way to Think: Your Guide to Superior Management Effectiveness:

• RJ Scaringe on Twitter:

• Lomi:

• Otis elevators:

• How to build a breakthrough … the secret of Backcasting:

• John Bielenberg’s website:

• Eddie Yoon:

• Marc Andreessen on Twitter:

Snow Leopard: How Legendary Writers Create a Category of One:

Play Bigger: How Pirates, Dreamers, and Innovators Create and Dominate Markets:

Niche Down: How to Become Legendary by Being Different:

The 22 Laws of Category Design: Name & Claim Your Niche, Share Your POV, and Move The World from Where It Is to Somewhere Different:

• An inside look at Deel’s unprecedented growth | Meltem Kuran Berkowitz (Head of Growth):

Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah:

What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School: Notes from a Street-Smart Executive:

Inventing Anna on Netflix:

• The rise and fall and rise of Tony Eltherington:

Production and marketing by For inquiries about sponsoring the podcast, email

Lenny may be an investor in the companies discussed.

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