Episode 16: Daniel Barber and Andy Raskin

In our 16th episode, Gil talks about category creation with two B2B leaders who have shaped the data privacy management and strategic narrative categories.

Panelists for this episode include:

  • Daniel Barber, CEO & Co-founder at DataGrail, and influencer behind the integrated privacy solution category for modern businesses
  • Andy Raskin, Strategic narrative consultant to CEOs, helping both venture-backed and public companies align their teams around a strategic narrative

Or watch the video

You’ll walk away from this episode with a greater understanding of storytelling, market research, and product development.

Here are some of the key takeaways from this episode.

Takeaway 1: Customers want a solution not features

Your market isn’t interested in your product’s features as much as you would like to think.

What’s more important is whether or not you can help them solve a specific problem.

This might sound like business 101, but it’s a fact that you can’t ignore when creating a category.

If your product doesn’t solve a problem, the market will quickly find an alternative solution that does.

Daniel Barber explains this idea throughout this episode.

He recalls how one of the key factors to his company’s early success was his team’s ability to extract insights from customers.

They listened to them to figure out what problems they were trying to solve.

Then based on the insights, the team worked towards creating solutions that would address those problems in the best way possible.

“If you actually look at all of the businesses that become category creators, they look towards what is a solution, not what is a platform or a set of features or functionality, because in reality, like you start a business trying to solve a problem. And I think many founders will starting on something that’s cool, but they want to figure out actually what the problem is.”

This is the opposite of the product-centric mindset where features are built first, and then it’s up to marketing to convince customers that they need those features.

That leads us to the next takeaway – storytelling.

Takeaway 2: Storytelling leads to improved differentiation

Once you’ve collected enough customer feedback, you’ll likely have many assumptions to test about your product.

These could be about your product’s features, messaging, positioning, or anything else you discover through market research.

But it doesn’t end there.

You still need to let your market know that you’ve created a solution after validating your assumptions.

That’s where storytelling comes in.

According to Andy Raskin, storytelling is the defining act of category creation.

“The way I like to think about it is really as more like a movement, that there’s this narrative that a group of people believes in. And then, of course, that gets Gartner to say, “Oh, there’s a new category of solution.” Category, the word itself suggests that all that’s needed is a kind of name for this. A new taxonomy of product.”

His storytelling framework has been used by many of Silicon Valley’s success stories, and in this episode, he goes into detail about what makes a good story.

Takeaway 3: Category creation is a continuous process

Even though storytelling works, it requires a long-term commitment and execution before you start seeing any payoff.

It’s also not something that you simply hand off to your marketing department to figure out.

Everyone from the management to the product team needs to be involved in shaping your narrative.

That’s how you ensure your product stays top-of-mind among your target market.

Listen to this episode, and you’ll discover some great insights about building products that people love.


Andy shares a strategy you can use to transform complicated product messaging into simple stories.

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