Pain Killer – What type?

When I was starting my company one advice, I received repeatedly was that build a pain killer and not a vitamin. The logic is that customers are willing to buy a pain killer at any price and from anywhere as long the new product is proven to be the solution to a pain point. In comparison a vitamin is like discretionary spending and people tend to procrastinate or all together skirt non-essential spending.

I agree with this general theory, but I didn’t get any insight about what kind of pain killer to build. There are two kinds of pain killers one for every minor aches and pain e.g. Tylenol which is available without any special prescription and is a part of everyone’s first aid kit. These kind of pain killers are not differentiated from one another and requires significant amount of marketing but have a simple use case which every customer understands.

The other pain killer for severe pain e.g. Morphine which is available only with prescription and it is required only under special circumstances. The product in this category are typically very differentiated but not needed every day, so customers need to be sold on the value of these especially when they have not experienced the extreme pain.

In security market too the same logic applies as zero day and sophisticated attacks which are like severe pain points which do not happen every day but common compliance or protection against known threats is needed by every customer.

The ideal solution in my perspective is to build a platform to be successful in long term but market specific common pain features like Tylenol to get early and large-scale adoption but have Morphine (as part of the platform) to differentiate.