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Welcome to another episode of Category Visionaries — the show that explores GTM stories from tech’s most innovative B2B founders. In today’s episode, we’re talking with Eric Olden, CEO and Founder of Strata Identity, an identity orchestration platform that has successfully raised over $42 Million in funding.

Here are the most interesting points from our conversation:

  • The Genesis at Berkeley: Eric reflects on starting his entrepreneurial journey in 1995, amidst the burgeoning internet era, identifying security as the web’s most critical missing ingredient.
  • The Dot-com Bubble: Eric provides an insider’s view of Silicon Valley during the dot-com bubble, highlighting the rapid rise and fall of many startups, including his own brush with an IPO before the market crash.
  • Creating Categories: Eric talks about his experience in creating new market categories, emphasizing the importance of solving substantial problems and distinguishing between category creation and product innovation.
  • The Importance of Analyst Relations: Eric underlines the role of analyst and media relations in building and defining new categories, stressing the necessity for founders to invest time and resources in this area.
  • Identity Orchestration: Eric explains how Strata Identity is pioneering the category of identity orchestration, addressing the challenges of managing identity across multiple cloud environments.
  • Content and Thought Leadership: Highlighting strategies for building authority and generating interest in a new category, Eric shares insights into producing valuable content and engaging with thought leaders to amplify their market presence.



Leverage Historical Lessons for Modern Innovation:

Eric's reflection on the dot-com bubble emphasizes the importance of distinguishing substantial solutions from fleeting trends. For today's founders, it’s vital to focus on solving real, significant problems rather than chasing the latest tech buzzwords. This approach ensures longevity and relevance in your solutions.

Prioritize Problem-Solution Fit Before Product Development:

Before diving into product development, invest time in identifying and understanding the core problems your target market faces. This strategic focus on problem-solution fit, rather than rushing to product-market fit, can guide more effective and relevant product development efforts.

Embrace Analyst and Media Relations Early:

Establishing relationships with analysts and media within your industry niche can significantly impact category creation and product adoption. Early investment in these relationships can amplify your message, lend credibility to your brand, and position you as a thought leader in your category.

Content Creation as a Category Building Tool:

High-quality, SEO-optimized content that addresses your audience's problems and questions can establish your authority and expertise in a new category. Over time, this strategy not only attracts potential customers but also educates the market about the category you're creating, laying the foundation for broader adoption.

Utilize Customer Feedback for Product Refinement:

Engage early adopters in deep conversations about their experiences and challenges with your product. This feedback is invaluable for refining your offering and ensuring it effectively addresses the needs and priorities of your target market, thereby solidifying your position in the newly created category.

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