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366 Pattern Breakers: Mike Maples Jr. of Floodgate on Disruptive Thinking and Transformative Ventures

Monday 15th July 2024
FYD EPISODE 366 Mike Maples Jr 2024

On this episode of the Christopher Lochhead: Follow Your Different we have a conversation with Mike Maples Jr., co-founder of Floodgate, about his new book “Pattern Breakers.”

We explore the concept of Pattern Breakers, non-consensus thinking, and the breakthrough sequence for startups. Mike shares some insights on the role of language in defining new patterns and the significance of early adopters. The conversation provides valuable perspectives on the mindset and strategies essential for entrepreneurial breakthroughs and category design.

You’re listening to Christopher Lochhead: Follow Your Different. We are the real dialogue podcast for people with a different mind. So get your mind in a different place, and hey ho, let’s go.

Mike Maples Jr on Understanding Pattern Breakers

Mike Maples Jr. introduces the concept of pattern breakers as individuals or companies that disrupt the status quo by proposing radically different futures. These entities don’t just imagine a different future; they live in it, tinkering with new technologies and experiencing firsthand the opportunities to break the limits of current thinking, feeling, and acting.

Mike also discusses non-consensus thinking, and how is crucial it is for pattern breakers. It involves challenging widely accepted norms and beliefs to create transformative value. He emphasizes that breakthrough startups often face resistance from the present and the status quo, making it essential for founders to be disagreeable in the right situations.

The Breakthrough Sequence for Startups

The first step in the breakthrough sequence is achieving insight breakthroughs. Founders need to immerse themselves in the future they envision, understanding new opportunities and creating new patterns. Mike uses examples of legendary founders like Marc Andreessen and Bob Metcalfe, who were visitors from the future, to illustrate this point.

Once insight breakthroughs are achieved, the next step is to achieve product-market fit. This involves building what’s missing for early adopters and lighthouse customers, who play a crucial role in shaping the direction of a startup. Founders must listen to these early believers and co-create the future with them.

The final step in the breakthrough sequence is driving growth. This involves creating a movement and category design, gradually moving more people to the envisioned future. Mike highlights the importance of using differentiated language to escape the comparison trap and the conformity trap, leading people into a different future.

The Role of Big Companies in Creating Breakthroughs

Big companies can also create breakthroughs by harnessing inflections and insights to change the future. Mike discusses different approaches big companies can take, such as sustaining innovation, organic growth, mergers and acquisitions (M&A), and partnering. However, he also acknowledges the challenges and biases that come with being a successful company.

One effective strategy for big companies is backcasting, where leaders stand in the future and look back to the present, envisioning how they achieved a radically different future. This approach helps companies switch their mental scaffolding from being in the present and looking forward to being in the future and looking back to the present.

To hear more from Mike Maples Jr on Pattern Breakers and creating breakthroughs for your company, download and listen to this episode.


Mike Maples Jr. is an entrepreneur turned venture capitalist.

He’s co-founder of Silicon Valley based, early-stage VC Floodgate. And the host of the popular “Starting Greatness” podcast.

Investments include Twitter, Lyft, Bazaarvoice, Sparefoot, Ayasdi, Xamarin, Doubledutch,, Playdom, Chegg, Demandforce, Rappi, Smule, and Outreach.


Connect with Mike Maples Jr.!

Floodgate | Twitter | LinkedIn | Starting Greatness Podcast

Check out Mike’s new book, Pattern Breakers!

Amazon Books | Porchlight Books | Starting Greatness | Pattern Breakers Newsletter

We hope you enjoyed this episode of Christopher Lochhead: Follow Your Different™! Christopher loves hearing from his listeners. Feel free to email him, connect on FacebookX (formerly Twitter)Instagram, and subscribe on Apple Podcast / Spotify!