How To Create A Category Of 1

Nicolas Cole
8 min readFeb 2, 2021
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Your goal is to create a Category of 1 for yourself.

What does that mean?

I started learning about the art of Category Creation a few years ago, when I began working on a co-authored book project with the two GOATs of Category Design: Christopher Lochhead (author of Play Bigger & Niche Down) and Eddie Yoon (author of Superconsumers).

They are now my fellow collaborators in our other weekly newsletter, called Category Pirates.

Category Creation and Category Design is how you achieve true differentiation.

None of this “hey-I’m-slightly-cheaper-slightly-faster-slightly-cooler-slightly-more-refreshing” stuff. That’s a rat’s game, and forces you to live in a constant state of competition.

Christopher and Eddie were the ones who taught me the best way to grow is to CREATE a new category — not to compete within an existing one.

Aka: create a category of 1.

(Where you are the only option and there is no next-best alternative.)

The easiest way to achieve this is to do what Christopher calls Niching Down:

Let’s say you want to launch a website or blog or weekly article series where you interview high performers (isn’t everyone nowadays???).

The broad category you are starting in would be High Performance.

But that’s kinda vague. And chances are, someone else probably already owns that category (I can think of a handful of Category Kings within that space).

So, let’s make it more specific:

High Performance Habits.

OK, so now you’ve decided you are going to double-down on the habits people use to become high performers in the first place. (You’re not going to go on and on about their life stories, or their biggest moments of failure, etc. No, your writing is going to center 100% around habits.

But then you do some searching around, and god damn it, there’s already a king of that category (and he’s been doing this for a long time):

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Nicolas Cole

100M+ Views | 5x Author | Co-founder of Ship 30 for 30 | Want to start writing online? Get the Ultimate Guide: https://startwritingonline.com