Play Bigger, One Year Later...

By Al Ramadan

A year ago, we published A New Era at Play Bigger, where we outlined a decade of progress in Category Design and a new vision for our business. We talked about the growing interest in Category Design as a discipline, some of the milestones over the past decade and how companies are driving growth through Category Design.

As much as we believed in our predictions, none of us could have imagined how pivotal and transformational 2021 would become. It was a record breaking year for us and we are honored to be working with a number of you and we are thankful for your ongoing interest and support of Play Bigger.

Here are some highlights from 2021:

In response to years of demand, we added two new Category Design methods particularly suited to seed and early stage companies.

 

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Category Design Methods

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We engaged with some amazing entrepreneurs, executives and investors at companies like Atlassian, Airtable, and others. While the enterprise tech space is something we have had a lot of experience working within, we had to adapt our methods to work with companies redefining Product Led Growth (PLG). We gained a great appreciation for the balance between ground wars and air wars and the importance of bringing together product, company, and category to drive long-term growth. We will do a more detailed drill down on these learnings in a future update.

 

Our portfolio companies blew the doors off.

It was our biggest year ever…

 

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Airtable

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Our Team Grew by 2X

Mary Forman, who has been with Play Bigger since day one, was promoted to VP Operations. She has become a very popular point of contact for entrepreneurs, executives and investors. She engaged in over 200 Zoom calls with companies exploring category design and has been key to many of our engagements. 

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We added three new amazing Category Designers. Jason Wellcome and Mike Bruno came to us from Weber Shandwick, where they helped run digital operations and strategy divisions. They are seasoned executives and are already taking the lead on Category Design engagements. Ashli Walkiewitz stepped up as our lead Category Designer for Strike Operations and is actively involved in some major 2022 Lightning Strikes with our clients.

Category Team Bios

 

 

Category Design Team Bios

Finally, we added an internal creative/brand/integrated marketing agency to our team in response from clients who wanted help in these areas. Brad and Carrie Drew have been working in-house with Play Bigger for more than a year and their work is finely tuned to our clients' Category Design and essential assets in a number of Lightning Strikes.

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All Our Methods Became Virtual

In response to demand from our clients we transformed our Category Design methods from in-person to virtual. We were so inspired by our clients at Airtable and others that we rebuilt everything from the ground up based on these insanely powerful platforms and infused our classic Category Design methods with design thinking and visual collaboration. The level of engagement increased dramatically and our clients love it. We also ran a milestone virtual Category Design session for a non profit that captured the imagination of almost 100 Category Designers around the world.  

 

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And for the first time ever, we got together as a team in person to celebrate the holidays!

 

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I am so proud of the progress and growth for Play Bigger and our clients, employees, partners and investors. In spite of the turmoil, 2021 has been a year to celebrate.

As we look ahead to 2022, we are incredibly excited about the impact a changing workplace is having on the business world. We are seeing it first hand through many of our clients -- the way companies work and the way they innovate is being fundamentally transformed as a result of the pandemic.

While some commentators believe it's just a matter of time before we all go back to the office, we see the opposite. Distributed teams working from literally hundreds of thousands of locations is now the norm and companies that don’t embrace this new way of working will fail. The edge of the enterprise is where the action is and many of our client companies are leading this revolution. We are energized and excited to be defining some of the most thrilling and gigantic categories in this new world.

These are very inspiring times and we hope our paths cross in 2022.

Al Ramadan

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