Build Painkillers, Not Vitamins

The Bear had a really bad toothache that left him in bed for a week. Each day his wife would come by and bring him soup for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Along with is soup every day he would take an aspirin and said to himself, I would pay $1,000,000 to anyone that would help take this pain away.

Lesson: Potential customers are the same and want something that takes away the pain and is necessary rather than something that is voluntary. This is lesson is via The Startup Playbook by David S. Kidder. As he writes “this is an old mantra from the venture-capital world, but it is always a bit startling to me when I meet incredibly talented people chasing ideas that  are simply features, or partial services that couldn’t compete in mature markets. In the minds of the customers these types of offerings are elective, like deciding whether or not to take a vitamin…. On the other hand, if there is a large market of potential customers who can describe their specific pain to you, your job is to create the painkiller that will take away the hurt forever. Once customers start on your service or product, they never go off of it. It becomes a necessity.”

Image courtesy of Michal Marcol /


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