Whats The Point Of Chewing Gum?

A lesson from something useless.

About 6 years ago, I was fortunate enough to sit down and talk about one of my business ideas with an OG Silicon Valley entrepreneur. At one point I was passionately rambling on when he cut me off by saying:

“Is it a painkiller or a vitamin”?

I’ll admit that it took me a moment to realize that the phrase was a metaphor — my product was a tech product. It was a question that I had never heard and an idea that I’d never even thought about. As I was thinking through all of this I mumbled out a few sentences which made no sense.

Weeks later, I had a thought.

What’s the purpose of chewing gum?

On the spectrum from painkiller to vitamin, chewing gum is about as far away from Vicodin that you can get.

Is it a candy? Something that is chewed for flavor? Is it something just to occupy the chewer? Is it stress relief? Does it fulfill some kind of oral fixation? Does it make your breath smell better — for 30 secs?

Or is chewing gum just really good marketing?

Ultimately I determined that, although the OG’s question was a good one, it doesn't matter because the vitamin market is still $82 billion dollars and growing fast as hell.

Sure its better to try to sell something with inelastic demand like a painkiller.

But if your idea is a vitamin, you shouldn't count it out. Get out there and test it in the marketplace because even chewing gum is a +1b market.

There is still plenty of opportunity.

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