Be the Aspirin – Not the Vitamin!

Be the Aspirin – Not the Vitamin!

Dan Heath and Chip Heath explain in the following article why it´s not enough to give people something they need.

Turning Vitamins Into Aspirin

To cut it short – if entrepreneurs want to succeed it´s about selling aspirin rather than vitamins. Vitamins are nice: they´re healthy. But aspirin cures your pain: it´s not a nice-to-have, it´s a must have. Dan and Chip give us two very simple examples and show how essentiell it is to adress a deep “felt need” of the consumers.


One of these examples is the story about two books describing the cycle of pregnany from a wife´s and from a husband´s perspective. While men and women would unquestionably benefit from the book, women definitely needed it but men didn´t know they needed it. So the one for women (“What to Expect When You´re Expecting”) was clearly an aspirin and a mega best seller – the one for men wasn´t even published.

As I´ve noticed in recent projects – having a product or service being a vitamin doesn´t mean we are doomed to fail – we just have greater risks (does the consumer buy the product/service as I forecasted?) and above all it´s more work to find partners or investors. If we can´t turn a vitamin into an aspirin we´ll always have some risk we can´t eliminate.

I want to close this post with some thoughts of Dan and Chip Heath:

You’ve heard the old saying “If you invent a better mousetrap, the world will beat a path to your door.” Don’t bet on it. The world’s felt need isn’t for a better mousetrap. It’s for a dead mouse.

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