Mastering Category Design with Mike Damphousse

[00:00:00] Introduction and Welcome

[00:00:00] Mike Damphousse: Category design is as much about going through the process as it is about the outcome of all right Let's now go to market and deliver the strategy So that's probably the hidden part of category design that people don't don't always understand Good morning. Good afternoon. And good evening biz leaders. Welcome to another episode of the business leadership podcast. I'm your host Edwin fondos when. And today we have a special guest.

[00:00:40] Meet Mike Damphousse: From Programmer to Category Design Expert

[00:00:40] Track 1: Who is no stranger to the world of category design. And market strategy. Our guest is Mike damp house. He has an incredible journey. That I could really appreciate from being a hardcore programmer. To a leading expert in category design.

Mike has worn many hats over the years, including CEO, CMO and startup advisor. He'll be sharing his unique experiences, including how a pivotal conversation. Shifted his career. From programming to marketing and how went on to start and sell multiple successful companies. today's episode.

[00:01:19] Mike's Journey: Pivotal Moments and Startups

[00:01:19] Track 1: Mike delve deep into the world of category design. Revealing how this strategic approach can make or break a company success he'll share real world examples and actionable insights on how to build a category that leads to market leadership. We also discussed the concept of vision entropy, a common pitfall for startups and Mike will provide valuable advice. On overcoming internal and external challenges to keep a company's vision on track.

So without further ado, here we go.

[00:01:52] Track 1: Welcome to the business leadership podcast. Mike!.

[00:01:55] Mike Damphousse: Thank you. Glad to be here.

[00:01:57] Deep Dive into Category Design

[00:01:57] Track 1: before we get started. Mike, I'd love it. If you could share a little bit something about yourself, maybe something personally, your interests or. What drives you? Inside and outside of your professional life.

[00:02:11] Mike Damphousse: Yeah, I've got sort of an eclectic background. I started my career as a computer science programmer back in the day when programming was a real art form as opposed to drag and drop.

And I spent, gosh, I can't remember how many years probably six or seven years doing hardcore programming. I was working on things like robotics and nuclear plants back. This is in the eighties and something really interesting happened. I was brought in to demonstrate a new algorithm that I had been working on.

And I'm standing in front of a bunch of clients and the president of the company was there was a division of Daimler Benz And when it was done, he looked at me and he goes, what are you doing in engineering? You know how to talk to people And I said, I don't know. I love what I do and he says you should try to get yourself into marketing because you've got way more legs there than you do in writing code And I said, I don't know about that.

I just bought a new house. He goes. Well, how much do you make? I think at the time it was like 38, 000. .

And he said, Oh, well, the entry spot in marketing that I think you'd be good at would be 50. I said, I'll be there Monday. I never turned back. I went into marketing anda handful of years later I ended up leaving and starting my first startup company called Pangea.

And actually it was funded by him. He was one of the first people that funded it. I was on a plane with him to Intel in Ireland and told him this idea I had. And he said, why don't you start a business? And I said, I can't do that. I got a family, you know, and I can't afford to. He goes, well, what do you make in a year?

And I told him, and he said, I'll give you two years salary. Go start a business. And so he got 30 percent of the company for two years salary. And you know, here I am. I never turned back. Okay. I did that startup for six years, dot com crash. We almost sold it for about 80 million, but it failed went under when the internet crashed, but you know, that was just the beginning.

It taught me a lot of lessons, taught me a lot about managing people and building teams and taught me a lot about category. We started creating the category of what is now called product configuration and quoting. And we kind of pioneered it, but we didn't put the right effort in to solidify it.

And I know exactly why we failed. And then I ended up from there, you know, a handful of CEO and CMO jobs brought a company public had another one get acquired did another two startups, one failed, one succeeded, sold it recently to a publicly traded firm in London and been doing category design kind of.

For the past roughly seven, eight, ten years. First three were before the book Play Bigger came out. Just doing some side projects with the folks at Play Bigger. The friends of ours. Christopher Lockhead, Al Ravidon, Dave Peterson. And when they hired Kevin Maney to write the book with them.

and released it. They gave me a call and said, Hey, Dan, the book is just crazy successful. Would you want to join up with Kevin and start a version of what we do on the East coast? And so we did that. And here I am now, seven years later, 45 clients, we've probably touched over a thousand companies through conferences and VCs and workshops.

And I just love what I do.

[00:05:34] Track 1: Mike with your extensive experience over the past 25 to 30 years as a CEO CMO and startup advisor. How do you tackle the challenge of category design when working with companies? Additionally, why do you think it's crucial for startups today?

[00:05:50] Mike Damphousse: Well, you know, it's interesting people, you know, they stumble into categories on, they've read the book play bigger, or they come across something on social that intrigues them. And, you know, their first gut instinct is that this is all about marketing and positioning and messaging. And it's so far from the truth.

Yeah. What this is really all about is having a mission within a company to purposefully design and build the category that you believe you own. And that is so much more than marketing, positioning and messaging. It starts from the CEO level down. We're about to kick off a project right now With a company

They're a big company. They're publicly traded market caps around 40 billion and most of our clients are startups. So this is kind of an interesting one They Two sides of the business and one side is drowned out by the other side, the big side of their business What they're known for is not letting their new emerging category emerge. So the CEO came to us and basically said, Hey, my team is confused. They are, running two sides of a coin and we need to get them all aligned. And it's that alignment that category design can really bring to a team. that's so powerful. it's a process. It's a good month long process of real heavy lifting and then a lot of execution.

But during the heavy lifting process, you've got your whole executive leadership team, in their case, 14 peoplein a room with us, beating things up to the point of, I mean, we have literally seen in your face arguments, two people in a corner of the room, just going at it, two founders. And what it does is it forces you to answer some really big decisions.

the fact of answering the big decisions and doing it the way we propose doing it, which is everyone in the room is equal. We don't care who you are, founder, CEO. Or the new cmo that just got hired doesn't matter who you are your opinions equal And through the course of debate and consensus building All of a sudden you've got a strategy that everybody just congealed to and it's like boot camp for the military You know when you get through the process You've got a team and your team members can't you don't leave anyone behind The mission is the mission and you stick to it

Category design is as much about going through the process as it is about the outcome of all right Let's now go to market and deliver the strategy So that's probably the hidden part of category design that people don't always understand

[00:08:45] The Importance of CEO Buy-In

[00:08:45] Track 1: What I'm hearing is that whether it's a large enterprise or a small startup, The success of this initiative, largely depends on buy-in from the top. Starting with the founder and extending across to all key stakeholders.

[00:09:01] Mike Damphousse: no doubt. I, you know, we talked to on our website, we have this our only call to action on our website is book office hours where people can book time with us and just talk to us. And when we first did it, we were like, Oh man, we're going to get swamped with all these like, One person founders that want to just chit chat for a half hour and it's worked out really well But what happens is I'll get an inquiry for an office hours and it very often comes from marketing a CMO or somebody, you know had a product and I'll take the office hours call and they'll be very interested in working with us and I'll say well What about your CEO is as she read play bigger is she behind?

This category design initiative. And if the answer is, well, I'll have to get them to read the book, I'm done at that point. I basically say, okay, that's great. Why don't you get the book in their hands and when they're done and they've read it, then get a call set up with me and the CEO, and then we'll move forward.

We do not do projects that are led by marketing. We'll do projects that are initially introduced by marketing, but the CEO literally has to own the project.

[00:10:15] Track 1: As a third party advisor and consultant group, I imagine that ensuring alignment. And commitment from potential clients is crucial for you. I mean, it must serve as a filter to determine which opportunities are clients who truly want to engage with. Right.

[00:10:31] Mike Damphousse: it's not just that. It's differentiation. One of the biggest mistakes that we made early on, we called ourselves a category design agency.

And when you think of the word agency instead of category design advisors, what do you think of a bunch of marketing consultants that generate hourly invoices that eventually you get sick of talking to?

And it was about three months in, we said to ourselves, we're not an agency. We want to be in the room we want to tell people when they're wrong we want to you know Direct them we want to be there with them as they grow We take equity for compensation not just cash, you know agencies don't do that So we we threw the word agency away and and changed it to category design advisors And it made all the difference in the world because perception of who we are Is we're not consultants that come and go and send invoices We're part of the team Right when we engage with a company like we we are starting next week We're getting a chunk of equity in that business.

So we never generate another invoice. We do have Some cash compensation, of course But in two years when they need us again, we just hop on a plane and we're there We're part of the team and that's what makes us so committed to our clients And you know a little side story, which we're probably not going to be on video for final production But this is kind of cute and i'll show you when our clients that have equity go through an exit Whether they get acquired or go public or private equity comes in and does a buyout I tattoo Their logo marks to my arm That's sprinklers IPO you know whatever it might be we celebrate the outcomes with them Our run rate is about the same as a vc firm.

We've got a 10 percent return rate of exit after seven years

[00:12:32] Track 1: So that, that's amazing. I love that. And it's not even, I mean, it's advisors, it's partners. You're coming to the table, you're coming to the round table as an equal. And that's a huge differentiator when it comes to the value and the offering that you have for these startups, these executives, these business leaders who are thinking about category design and really, you know, I guess have conviction to go through that.

[00:12:53] Challenges in Category Design

[00:12:53] Track 1: There was something that you had mentioned when it comes to vision entropy, which is, I think it's a common pitfall for startups. I mean, can you elaborate on this concept and how some of these companies could prevent it from, derailing their vision?

Yes, so you know founders, and this is more prevalent with early-stage They can see the outcome when they start their company, you know, prevent they might shift, they might pivot over time. But Once they see what is they want to build, they can't unsee it. It's what I call the universal truth.

[00:13:33] Mike Damphousse: A universal truth is something that can't be debated. So Edwin, if you're sitting with me right now in Florida and I looked over and I said, it's a blue sky and I'm sure it's nice outside. You're not going to debate that. It is a blue sky. That's the universal truth. When I see the universal truth of my category as a founder, You can't debate it.

I will share it with you and you will go, Oh my God, I see that category. I want to go build it. Vision entropy is when there's a, almost a sickness that gets in the way of building your vision. It could be a number of different things. It could be You're too focused internally. It could be there's some technological innovations that still need to happen.

It could be there's a context shift that hasn't occurred yet in the market. And that entropy that gets in the way of you accomplishing your vision is the most common reason startups start to stumble. And if you can, diagnose why the vision entropy exists and Take action on it or if you can design a path That avoids vision entropy and that's what category designs about is designing a path that purposefully is going to deliver success Then you're gonna be able to deliver that vision and it's the vision that is usually what's driving a startup team It's not Hey, we all want to make a shit ton of money.

Of course you do. Everybody wants to make money, but what you also want to do is be the one that delivers this thing that solves the problem that people have, right? The founders of Uber didn't create Uber just because they wanted to make a lot of money. They created Uber because they were sitting on the street in Paris at midnight and it was raining and they couldn't get a taxi.

That's the story of Uber. They solved a problem that they knew people. And if vision entropy gets in the way, you need ways to break through and that's, you know, it's one of the key components my partner, Kevin Maney, who's the coauthor of play bigger, and I always say to ourselves, when we're looking at a new client, you know, what challenges do they have?

What walls have been built? what's preventing their vision from success? And we try to break them down.

[00:15:50] Track 1: That's really interesting, Mike.

[00:15:52] Vision Entropy and Overcoming Obstacles

[00:15:52] Track 1: Just thinking out loud, it's almost like going to psychotherapy. As a third party coming in. I guess you might find that many leadership teams don't even realize what's blocking their progress because they're so used to business as usual. How do you help them uncover and address these hidden challenges?

[00:16:11] Mike Damphousse: Well, you just used a word that I use on every call that I take with people, and that's psychotherapy or group therapy. The process of going through category design is so similar to the process of group therapy. You put everyone in a room that's been working on the same project for, you know, months or years, and they all think they're in sync, right.

But we do this survey before we start a project. It's, you know, three pages ask some very basic questions. Now it's all done on Google forms and chat. GPT actually massages the results for us. But one of the simple questions is what problem do you solve for people? And you'll end up, if you've got 10 people in the room, you'll probably get six.

Answers that are similar and then four completely different ones. And it's amazing. You know, here are people that are living together every day. And so by getting in that room together and having a third party facilitator and, you know, breaking down the barrier of, okay, the CEO is not the one that's going to have the final word every minute, or maybe the outspoken founder, who's the head of product, you know, and just letting everybody talk for that period of time it takes to unwind and You know, peel back the onion and figure out, Hey, guess what?

we are solving another problem. That's even more impactful to the world than the one we started out as category design can change the direction of companies in a big way. We've seen it happen. One of the experiences we had that was really profound was working with a company.

they're a multi billion dollar division of a trillion dollar, one of those five trillion dollar companies about as big as it gets. And one of our most challenging projects because there are so many people in the room and, you know, so many opinions. what was interesting is they were held back by what I would call lack of courage. They were successful. They were already a multi billion dollar division. And yet the direction that their category was taking them needed for them to make a big decision to be bold and they couldn't do it. and we broke them down and we added extra days to the workshop. And finally, It's kind of an interesting story.

I don't think this is the breakaway moment, but it was during the Stanley Cup playoffs. And I remember getting so frustrated that nobody was willing to make a big decision. And I said to everyone in the room, I said, guys, do you want everyone in this room to get a participation trophy? Or do you want to get the Stanley Cup and skate around the rink and hold it over your heads?

And I mean kind of anti woke right it was kind of like, you know making fun of the participation trophy concept But it was the it was the statement it was and it broke the ice We did a survey of the room. Okay, everyone give us a pulse check and it went around the room again 16 people blankety blank same answer.

No, no courage. It gets all the way around to the vps sales And the vps sales basically said guys We need to be bold. We need to make a choice here. And then all of a sudden the pulse check around the room, everybody agreed. It was time to make the change. So sometimes courage is the only thing lacking for a good decision.

[00:19:42] Track 1: that's a fantastic example. And I really appreciate you sharing it. I'm curious, especially for our listeners. About these types of workshops where you help teams align and reflect. From your experience, Mike, do these moments, tend to happen immediately. Or can they take some time to emerge?

[00:20:03] Mike Damphousse: usually we can get to the aha moment within a day or two.

[00:20:07] Track 1: Mm.

[00:20:08] Mike Damphousse: Only because, you know, people are working towards the same goals, right? and they just need to align. But we had one situation that took us four trips back to the company's headquarters and seven redos of what we call our big deliverable our category point of view think of it as a narrative story.

It's kind of like the constitution for the category. It took us seven revisions of the point of view to finally get to the point where we were all in alignment And the biggest reason it took so long for that company Is they just didn't know who They were they were going in 10 different directions.

They had 10 brilliant ideas and seven were taking hold to say what category they had we had to narrow it down. We had to figure out the ones that were going to be Best growth, best impact, but most profitable. And in their case, a context shift occurred, which was COVID. And they're a biotech company.

COVID just turned, seven of the 10 directions on their stomach, but the other three exploded. And their overall valuation, I think was a multiple of seven over the course of two years. Because of covid there's a company that actually benefited by it

[00:21:23] Track 1: Mike, I'm just, I'm just thinking. It's because of this exercise, this category design exercise. And obviously we will never know. But I'm thinking if they didn't go through this. Exercise. And COVID hit. Their growth trajectory might have been different because they hadn't fully defined. Who. They were their identity.

[00:21:53] Mike Damphousse: They would have all gotten sick. They wouldn't have figured out they would have failed

You know, honestly, so many big categories are designed and built with luck, right? You just, everything's in your favor. We have a concept that's called the category formula, which is real simple. A category is made when you've got a shift in context, plus I'm missing a problem. Plus an innovation, technology or business or process. So context plus missing plus innovation builds a new category.

And if they're not all there and they're not all in the right, you know, place category is not going to really take off. You're going to struggle. you're going to try to build something that wasn't ready. For instance, let's say innovation wasn't there, right? All these great AI products that we see today.

Go back three years ago and were there AI startups three, four years ago? Of course, there were. Did they succeed? And do you know who they are today? No. But the ones that, that all of a sudden started to take off was when, Gen AI and large language models took off, that shift in innovation, all of a sudden gave them what they needed to make the formula work.

They had the context shift. They had the missing. They had a problem to solve and they had the innovation. It was working Right when somebody like me You know a gray haired or no haired. I'm bald for those that can't see my face When someone like me at 60 years old can use the chat gpt api to analyze, you know survey results I mean that is a shift in innovation that you know Companies everywhere if they don't take advantage of it or missing out And that's when you can leverage You know what you're trying to build and everything's aligned and the formula takes place and you can build it But pure luck, you know, no offense to steve jobs and apple right steve jobs was a brilliant category designer Not knowing there was eventually going to be a term for that.

But you know, he had a couple of lucky moments, And you know, you take advantage of that obviously and it accelerates your success. But if you're really a hardcore category designer, you create the luck. you design it, you, have a purpose and you march to that flag.

[00:24:17] Track 1: Yeah, and I love that. I love that analogy. You have a lot of hockey analogies in this one. It's great for those, you know, who are in Canada listening to this.

And I know Mike, you mentioned a number of things. We'll definitely put all the links and resources in the show notes for those who are listening.

Because there's a lot of gold in here.

I wanted to explore the idea of creating your own luck that you touched upon earlier. In the realm of category design, it seems that if both your internal stakeholders. And your customers recognize and believe in the category you're defining whether it's globally recognized or not.

You're already winning. Your customers get what your aboat. Would you say that's accurate?

[00:25:00] Mike Damphousse: So this is one of the key tenets of successful category design project. When you have a community of people, a movement, that are supporting what you're trying to do, right? Your first customers, your super consumers, as my friend Eddie Yoon wrote a book called Super Consumers, highly recommend people grab it.

think of it as and I can't remember eddie's exact mix of numbers, but it's kind of like the 80 20 rule, right? 20 of your customers are your super consumers. They're the ones that will live breathe and die and evangelize what you're doing for you And categories aren't made by great marketing messages and a team of hardcore workers that are designing and building this category Categories are really made When the clients come together and that movement forms and the movement turns from, Hey, let's do a meetup in Boston and talk about, this HubSpot product to two years later, let's do a conference in Boston called inbound and get HubSpot to sponsor it.

And then all of a sudden, Hey, there's going to be 20, 000 people at inbound next year. Do you want to go? That's a movement. That's how a category gets built. And so people in community are a key aspect of building a category. Category design, by the way, right now we launched a community called category thinkers, which is also the name of the podcast that I co host

com. It's a Slack community and open community for category designers to share ideas and debate. It also hosts the podcast and we do live events. But you know, it's now seven years since Play Bigger came out and introduced the concept of category design and the movement is now getting to the point where it's taken on a life of its own. When we first launched Category Thinkers last year, I had it on my desktop all day long and I was trying to keep the conversation going. Honestly, I don't have to anymore. Conversation happens. So the super consumers start to take over and that's when a category takes on a life of its own

[00:27:07] Track 1: That's fantastic. Mike and congratulations on building such a strong community and the slack group. For those who are listening, I highly recommend joining. It sounds like a great place to connect. I'll be definitely checking it out as well. Switching gears a bit.

[00:27:21] Mobilizing and Evangelizing Category Design

[00:27:21] Track 1: I'm curious about post-workshop phase. So after establishing a vision for category design

how do leaders like CEOs and executives begin to evangelize this? Are there specific steps that help ensure its success as it launches?

[00:27:38] Mike Damphousse: Yeah. So we call that whole process mobilization.

How do you mobilize the category strategy and how do you bring it to the world? essentially. it starts internally right you need to mobilize the category to your own people So you're the CEO and the executive leadership team. What's the first thing you do play bigger the book?

States what's the first lightning strike that you're gonna initiate a lightning strike is when you Put all the efforts of the company behind one moment in time to communicate the category strategy So it could be a product launch date. It could be Superbowl commercial it could be a something as simple as a press release But the first lightning strike that you build and do for your category strategy should be An internal mobilization type of effort.

When we worked with LinkedIn's sales solutions division, we did all the category strategy work and then they didn't do their public first lightning strike their first launch for four and a half months. the reason for that was they spent that time doing internal launches. they had their sales kickoff meetings, 700, 800 people in one location.

That was their first mobilization event. everything from your internal teams, your board members, your ecosystem, if you have partners your vendors market analysts, Don't forget about analysts. They're the ones that eventually label the category, by the way, if they label it, something Other than what you thought you were called as long as they put you as the leader.

Don't worry about it The category name is sort of secondary We go on a whole episode just about category naming But yeah internal mobilization first then external mobilization and that's when you know, you'll get the momentum because your first level of you know if you think of it in military terms your boots on the ground are your people Right.

And your people are the ones that are going to be out there evangelizing every day.

[00:29:45] Track 1: When discussing mobilization and getting boots on the ground, what are some common challenges you find business leaders anticipate facing and how do they plan to overcome them? Is this something you'd typically predict? Or is it outlined in a book that our listeners should be reading to gain deeper understanding?

[00:30:03] Mike Damphousse: Yeah, the challenge is, You know We've seen it all. You know everything from internal clutter the book describes it as gravity, right The forces inside the company are getting in the way of you making good decisions you know Your day to day energy Is pulled in the wrong direction.

I mean that that's the most common thing we see financial challenges, you've got a great idea You're a startup you really need, You know two million dollars and two years of runway to get that marketing message out there, but you only raised Two million for your first day around so, you know, those are challenges everybody's going to face But all the challenges that we've seen there's always a way to work around them, you know um financial challenges are some of the the most obvious you don't need a super bowl commercial to start a category You know, one of the best lightning strikes I ever saw was a startup.

It was, you know, two guys in a credit card. They had a great idea, great product. They had a handful of developers that were working part time in hopes that they would succeed. And they saw a trade show coming down the road in their industry. They were in the shipping container industry. Optimizing shipping containers is some crazy number.

I can't remember, but it's like 60 percent of the shipping containers on the ocean are empty. So they're trying to figure out how to optimize that, how to make them always full. And they were competing, their new technology was competing with an existing technology, which is from IBM. And so if you think about the shipping industry, they realized the big, you know, the companies that own the shipping industry.

are really owned by the big boys. There's like six big companies out there. Mersc, you know, the ones that you see the logos on all the containers. Well, it ends up they were all at the same conference in San Diego or something at the same time. And so they were able to organize, I think they got five of the six big companies to attend a steak dinner and they just bought them a nice dinner.

They told their story they had some other entertaining reason to be there. I can't remember what it was whether it was a comedian or some speaker But they touched their whole market in four hours over steak dinner cost them about four thousand dollars Right, that's no super bowl commercial that buys you the application fee for a super bowl commercial, you know But i've seen all sorts of crazy things you can do

So this company, they're like a, you know, they're a huge company.

And, but they had budget constraints in their marketing budget. And so what they did is they hired a dance troupe to do a flash mob in Times Square during the ringing of the NASDAQ bell. And you know, so they got video, they got photographs, they got, you know, the billboard behind them. And then as flash mob starts in the crowd and the whole crowd stops, they're all wearing the same company t shirts.

It was cool. You know and it was simple it cost them a few thousand dollars to Find some dance school in new york city to do it for them you can be creative you can do all sorts of fun things The real key to making it successful is to keep your category point of view Across the board always consistent always telling that story which is a story of Here's the problem you have that you didn't know there was a solution for Or here's the problem you have that you didn't know you had. And here's the ramifications of not solving the problem. So here, you cut yourself on your finger. Ramifications are, if you don't take care of it, you're going to bleed out. Well, guess what? Here's the new category. It's called an adhesive bandage that goes around your cut, right? And it's called the Band Aid.

And that flow of story is what causes people to emotionally. Embrace a category and they build, you know, the book gets into this Categories are actually how the mind works And so cognitive biases and how the mind stores, stores things You solve my problem first next time. I have a boo boo and i'm bleeding I need to find the brand that told me about it and that's band aid and I go for the bandaid product and that's how category design works is you want to build that emotional link In your mind to the solution, which is the category and then oh, by the way The solution is labeled with the brand so brand is always last.

It's the last thing you care about

[00:34:41] Edwin Frondozo: Mike, this has been a fantastic conversation, like really full of insights.

[00:34:46] Final Thoughts and Advice

[00:34:46] Edwin Frondozo: Before we wrap up. Could you share some advice for the business leaders, executives, or entrepreneurs who are considering category design, but. Maybe feeling a little overwhelmed. What would you leave them with today?

[00:35:00] Mike Damphousse: You know, the first thing is if you have just heard about it and you're curious about it, get yourself a copy of play bigger it's 280 pages. I think it's very quick read and then the most important thing is Use it as your day to day sort of framework for how you think within the business.

Don't always think about your brand and don't think about your product features and benefits. People don't think that way, right? Features and benefits are for check boxes. The brand is for you to make you feel better. People think in problems. They think in categories, right? I have this problem.

I need to solve it. That's what you want to think about. So when you're building your company, whether it's, you know, a small company with a local focus, and you can believe me, you can have a category that just serves a city. Or if you're a startup that has, the billion dollar mark in your vision, always stay focused on the problem that the customer has.

And if you understand the problem, then you're going to deliver the right solution, which is going to be something that they're going to embrace and they're going to keep wanting to come back for more. You know, if you're working on trying to understand it internally you know, sort of the best thing you can do is don't let the day to day get in the way of, you know, what really deserves some dedicated time, go lock yourself up somewhere, go away for a day, three days, whatever it may be.

With just your team and go through the process yourself, right? Spend the first day talking about nothing but the problem. Spend the second day talking about, you know, what does it mean to people? Let's get emotional and tell the story and spend the third day agreeing on everything. I mean, it's a very straightforward way for you to get this process rolling.

And it may or may not get you all the way through, But if you get to the point where you know, you can see the category and you can't unsee it Then you've been able to describe it. You've won you did the job

[00:37:01] Track 1: mike. It's been a pleasure. Thank you for joining us on the business leadership podcast.

[00:37:06] Mike Damphousse: Thank you, Edwin.

I really appreciate it

[00:37:08] Track 1: That's it busy leaders. Thank you for joining me on yet. Another episode of the business leadership podcast. Don't forget to check the show notes in the app that you're listening to for the links to all the resources we discuss And to connect you with our guests, Mike damp house. If you found any value in this episode? I encourage you, please do share it with the first person that comes to mind your shared directly impact the growth of the show and help us bring you more valuable content. Thank you again for your time and being part of this community until next time have a 100 X day.

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