Vitamin vs Painkiller

Is making vitamin so bad?


Startup people say, “Don’t make vitamin, make painkiller”.

But how many successful tech companies made painkiller?

Most products of Apple, company with $700B valuation, are vitamins. Apple II, Mac, iPod, iPhone, iPad were all vitamins when launched. (Personally I felt my pain was taken when I switched my web development environment to Mac from Windows.)

And it’s not just about Apple. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, reddit. Most social things are vitamins, aren’t they? And what about game companies like Zynga, Rovio, Mojang, Twitch?

Yes, there are also painkillers: eBay, Amazon, PayPal, Wikipedia, Skype, Yelp, AWS, Uber, Slack.

Painkillers tend to monetize easily than vitamins. They usually have paid plans from the beginning. Vitamins tend to depend on Ads.

Painkillers tend to be practical tools. Vitamins tend to be kind of entertainments. Both ways are viable.

So, what really you shouldn’t make is not-beneficial-enough-practical-tool or not-fascinating-enough-entertainment.

This reminds me Y-Combinator’s mantra: “Make something people want.” What really matters is not must-have or nice-to-have aspect, but how deeply people crave for it.

This is my opinion. Let me know what you think about it.


This post is derived from my tweets @moriook