Lead on Purpose

Promoting Leadership Principles in Product Management

Why it’s important to think bigger, and play bigger

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Creating great products and building successful companies takes a tremendous amount of work, insatiable initiative and a penchant for perseverance. It requires thinking differently than others think, and even differently than you have thought in the past.

To make big changes requires a whole new way of thinking, yet few college programs or study courses sow the seeds of innovation and creative thinking. You need to see the world differently, to think differently. To create winning products and companies you need to play bigger.

Play Bigger

For years I have known there was more to great products than what I was doing, but I didn’t have the right tools, or maybe better-said, didn’t have the right language, to take the next step. Now I have it thanks to a new book I just finished. The book is PLAY BIGGER: How Pirates, Dreamers and Innovators Create and Dominate Markets. The authors are Al Ramadan, Dave Peterson, Christopher Lochhead and Kevin Maney.

Play Bigger leads you through a journey of not only building great products and establishing winning companies, but also digs deeper into creating categories and defining new markets. A company’s value is determined by its category’s potential, the company’s position in the category, and its ability to prove it can deliver on its promises. Play Bigger teaches you how to do this in a systematic way.

One of the end goals of creating a category is to become a “category king”—the recognized name that people recall when they think of the category. The book takes you through the steps of thinking, acting like and becoming a category king. Thinking like a category king is a smart way to improve your odds of success, instead of leaving it to chance. This is what the authors mean by “playing bigger.”

In business, the odds of any one company actually becoming a category king are slim. You can do everything right yet fall victim to outside forces you can’t control. Therefore, your company needs to make decisions and implement a strategy that gives it the best chance to beat the odds and win over competing companies. It requires category design.

Category design involves creating a great product (along with its experience), a great company, and a great category at the same time. It’s a broad, deep discipline that impacts every part of a company and its leadership team.

I’ve just begun to scratch the surface here in this post, I’m just starting my journey of creating a category and hopefully becoming the king. I’ll have much more to say about this over the next weeks and months, grab the book or audio (I read it on kindle) and dig in; it will blow your mind, I promise you won’t be disappointed!

Questions: How are you and your teams playing bigger and winning markets? Why do you want to play bigger? Please leave a comment in the space below.


The Product Management Perspective: Product management is literally at the heart of playing bigger (the book discusses it in several parts). Product managers not only have exciting jobs, but we’re doing this work at an exciting time in the history of the world. The opportunity is limitless, we just have to roll up our sleeves and get to work. I highly encourage you to read this book; it will change the trajectory of your career.

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