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Play Bigger: How Pirates, Dreamers, and Innovators Create and Dominate Markets Hardcover – June 14, 2016
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"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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“Every entrepreneur looking to alter the landscape and every CEO looking to reimagine their business can learn from this book. Play Bigger provides inspiration and a framework for building companies that transcend gravity.” (Marc Benioff, Chairman and CEO, Salesforce)
“Play Bigger is the new how-to guide for entrepreneurs and executives who want to build legendary, enduring companies.” (Jim Goetz, Partner, Sequoia Capital)
“Business leaders of the future need to create movements with passionate employees and fans that change the world’s point of view, not just companies with employees that sell products. Play Bigger shows how category design is the roadmap for making this happen.” (Mike Maples, Founding Partner, Floodgate)
“Every entrepreneur who wants to take their game to the next level needs to read this book. Category design applies to sports governing bodies, event owners, national teams and even athletes.” (John Bertrand, Americas Cup winner, Olympic medalist)
“Category design is a principle that every successful entrepreneur has intuitively embraced. Now it is outlined here in Play Bigger for all business executives to learn and apply. An absolute must read for every person interested in the secret sauce found in Silicon Valley.” (Ann Miura-Ko, Lecturer, Stanford University and Co-founder Floodgate Fund)
“Play Bigger shows why it’s so important to build category kings and what it takes to succeed in this new discipline of category design. This is must read book for all brand marketers, VC’s, and board of directors who want to take market creation into their own hands” (R "Ray" Wang, Principal Analyst & Founder, Constellation Research, Inc. Author Disrupting Digital Business)
“This important work should be available to everyone thinking of pursuing a business career.” (Library Journal)
“This is a very special book, and it will make a huge difference to businesses trying to understand how they can succeed initially and for the long term. Play Bigger ranks up there with Christensen’s “Innovators Dilemma” and Moore’s “Crossing The Chasm” as the three must-have books to succeed.” (Kathleen Goolsby, Managing Editor, SandHill.com)
“a new spin on the ‘something from nothing concept’ … Aimed at entrepreneurs, this book has practical advice for anyone in business.” (Booklist)
From the Author
Too many innovations fail to find theirplace in the world. They never achieve company/category fit. We want to helpfix that. This book is more than a book. It's a mission. Thegoal is to incite a new global business dialogue about categories. Over years we discovered a connection, basedon data science, research and experience between the way markets work, brainscience, and the intuitive approaches used by the most successful entrepreneurialinnovators. It's the culmination of our life's work. And it's called categorydesign.
Category design is a new, management discipline that increases the odds of winning by teaching business leaders how to build a product, company and category at the same time.
-A category designer is anyone who chooses not tocompete in an existing market and create their own.
-A category designer is anyone who hasre-imagined an existing market and made it their own.
-A category designer is anyone who has tried tointroduce the world to a new way of thinking, living, learning or working.
Top customer reviews
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The Good: Taking time to strategically position your business and reconcile it with your market is a regular exercise of a smart business owner. Their process for this is sound but they try to rebrand it as something unique.
The Bad: A majority of the book is meta analysis and reference to other much better books like Theil’s 0 to 1 or the timeless classic Positioning. Go buy and read those books instead. The read itself is full of way too many generic success stories, most you’re familiar with, and then pandering to advertise the authors’ consulting process.
The Ugly Truth: A few problems the author doesn’t mention. Being a first mover or category king, you are 4x more likely to go out of business, and even if you survive, you’re statistically bound to make less of a profit then the competitors who come to unseat you. Looking at all the successful category creators gives you a false sense of risks and negatives of being a first mover.
I particularly appreciated two of the chapters - Chapter 5 on the importance of a Point of View and Chapter 10 on how you can play bigger. In the final chapter, the authors connect the concepts of the book to the reader personally and help empower to reader to 'play bigger'. I also greatly appreciated the footnotes and encourage the reader to check each one out - the authors have great insights and a wonderful sense of humor.
Play Bigger has a personal connection for me in that I have been on the receiving end of the power of category design. I competed with one of the authors who was at Mercury Interactive. Mercury brilliantly re-defined the software testing market, introduced a compelling point of view (Business Technology Optimization), secured alignment with thought leaders and industry analysts and became the overwhelming category leader leaving all the other firms behind. It happened quickly (within a year) and once it was over it was over. Mercury went on to have a successful acquisition by HP and other the other firms fell by the wayside. The lesson was painful at the time but was also a front row seat to the power of category design and a fascinating lesson. Proof that much can be learned from failure as well as success.
Play Bigger is a great read and the authors have a fascinating point of view. I am confident that Play Bigger will eventually be considered one of the must read books. Enjoy.
As a bonus - if you like this book, you'll love the Legend & Losers podcast hosted by one of the authors (Christopher Lochhead), which in my opinion is the best business podcast going today.
If you are familiar with many of the companies' stories to the top of their industries, it can sometimes feel like a slow read, but the authors are quick to eventually point on the lessons learned which makes revisiting the history worth it in the end. It also composites important business lessons every entrepreneur should know, when pitching their companies to investors and customers.