Startup Secrets Sandbox
Startup Secrets Sandbox
BLAC and White

BLAC and White moves

Playing 2x2 chess...
How you move through the quadrants of the BLAC and White framework can be quite strategic. Just like chess, it pays to think several steps ahead if you’re going to win the whitespace, efficiently.
1 Latent Aspirational - New products for yet to be recognized needs (eg the iPad when first introduced) 2 Blatant Aspirational - Luxury goods (Luxury Fashion, Cars, Boats) 3 Blatant Critical - Healthcare, Accounting products 4 Latent Critical - Risk management and insurance products
Many consumer products start in the bottom left, but can make their way up toward the top left as they become fashionable and may even get to being “status” symbols. There are all sorts of ways this can be achieved, from great design and branding, to capturing “trendy” waves or recruiting brand ambassadors, famous people who endorse your product.
In B2B, it’s ideal if you can make your way to becoming Blatant and Critical but if you start off in the Latent Critical bottom right, developing a narrative and case studies of why people can’f afford _not_ to use your product. Believe it or not cyber security was not even a category a few decades ago because people weren’t aware of the risks of data loss. When I was at Symantec we had to take out full page advertorials educating people on how susceptible they were without anti virus and backup software and highlighting the costs of data loss and downtime.
These products moved from latent to critical as the rise of networking and the internet made it obvious how quickly things like viruses, data breaches and identity theft could wreak havoc.
If you read between the lines here, you’ll see that timing is critical in your progress through the BLAC framework. If you move too fast, getting ahead of the market, you’ll burn cash. If you move too slowly someone else may capture the white space before you do. See
The Startup Secret here is simple,
Don’t try to time a market, pace it!
Needless to say the pacing should be determined by your customers. If you’re having to push them to buy you’re early. If you’re feeling pull from them then you’re in the sweetspot. More about this in the section of Startup Secrets, because picking and focusing on the right can help you create a tipping point within an initial segment to go from push to pull as you show success and garner a critical mass of reference-able customers.


Think about what kinds of things you buy and use or discard and fit them into each quadrant.
I often get questions about examples of the two less obvious quadrants, 2 and 4.
2 - Blatant Aspirational : Think of LVMH, one of the most successful consumer businesses of our age. Luxury fashion items are things people aspire to look and feel good and some people find it blatantly obvious that they must wear the latest fashion or sport the latest status symbol to be perceived appropriately!
4- Latent Critical: Insurance. We all insurance is critical for many things like health or even mandatory in some cases, but beyond that it's often latent until disaster strikes, then it becomes blatantly obvious we should have had it!
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