This week, we’re presenting to you Christopher Lochhead’s appearance on Lenny’s Podcast, hosted by Lenny Rachitsky.
Lenny Rachitsky runs the #1 Business Substack newsletter, Lenny’s Newsletter. It is legendary especially for people in tech marketing, product marketing, and startups. It’s so legendary that even Christopher pays for it. And now, he’s in it.
This is one of the more in-depth discussions Christopher has had with a very smart person about category design in a while. So settle in for a good listen and great lesson about category design.
Welcome to Lochhead on Marketing. The number one charting marketing podcast for marketers, category designers, and entrepreneurs with a different mind.
On taking the Good with the Bad
Lenny starts off the conversation by showing appreciation to Christopher’s extensive work, and jokingly adds that it was challenging to prepare for their conversation due to his numerous podcasts, books, and other content.
That said, Lenny noticed Christopher’s website displayed negative reviews prominently. When asked about it, Christopher explained his approach with humor, calling his team Category Pirates and embracing criticism. He believed it was essential for innovators not to fear criticism, citing examples of famous artists and musicians who faced initial negativity. Christopher displayed negative feedback to show the reality of creative work and to remind people not to take themselves too seriously.
Lenny admired Christopher’s ability to handle criticism and expressed the desire to adopt a similar mindset.
Lenny Rachitsky on how Lenny’s Newsletter came to be
Christopher Lochhead expressed admiration for Lenny’s branding choices, appreciating the simplicity of just being called “Lenny.” He found it endearing and highlighted that Lenny’s authenticity stood out in a world where many influencers create an aura of superiority.
Lenny shared that the name “Lenny’s Newsletter” was a default suggestion from Substack, and he never intended it to be a long-term commitment. Similarly, he struggled to find a different name for his podcast, wanting to avoid a self-centered approach.
But despite having his name in the branding, Christopher noted the content wasn’t self-centered; instead, it reflected Lenny’s genuine approach, unlike influencers who focus on creating envy. They both appreciated the authenticity in Lenny’s approach.
Lenny Rachitsky and Christopher Lochhead talk Category Creation
Lenny asked Christopher about category creation, a concept Christopher has championed over competition in existing markets.
Christopher explained how most people aim to compete by offering a better product or service in an existing category. However, legendary innovators don’t follow this path. They create entirely new categories, defining unique problems and solutions. Christopher emphasized that a single company in a category usually captures two-thirds of the market value, making category creation a lucrative strategy.
He cited Gojo Industries, creators of Purell, as an example. They didn’t just invent hand sanitizer; they redefined the problem of hand cleanliness, leading to a new market category. Christopher stressed the importance of focusing on problem-solving rather than just product features, making one’s brand irreplaceable in customers’ minds. He contrasted this approach with typical marketing, where companies invite comparison, emphasizing the power of radical differentiation and being a category creator.
To hear more about Christopher’s conversation with Lenny Rachitsky on Category Creation, download and listen to this episode.
If you want to learn more about Lenny Rachitsky, check out his Newsletter and Podcast at LennyRachitsky.com.
Don’t forget to grab a copy (or gift!) of one of our best-selling books:
- Snow Leopard: How Legendary Writers Create A Category Of One
- The Category Design Toolkit: Beyond Marketing: 15 Frameworks For Creating & Dominating Your Niche
- A Marketer’s Guide To Category Design: How To Escape The “Better” Trap, Dam The Demand, And Launch A Lightning Strike Strategy
- The 22 Laws of Category Design: Name & Claim Your Niche, Share Your POV, And Move The World From Where It Is To Somewhere Different