An old startup analogy with a blue twist

I’ve had a lot of conversations with entrepreneurs and investors over the past couple months. There was an analogy that came up in conversations.

It’s an old pill analogy in startup circles: A product is either a vitamin or a painkiller. A vitamin is a want-to-have. A painkiller is a need-to-have.

Some successful products are vitamins. A lot more successful ones are painkillers.


A product could be a third thing. It could be a viagra: a holy-crap-I-didnt-know-you-could-do-that product.

See: iPhone, Nest, Tile, Pebble, Google Maps, August Smart Lock, Dropcam.