Tag Archives: MondayMorningWakeUpCall

Vitamins vs Painkillers. And the winner is…

“Customers don’t know what they want until we’ve shown them” – Steve Jobs #MondayMorningWakeUpCall

Vitamins vs Painkillers

Whichever is solving a problem! It’s the one common aspect to all successful innovations. That may seem obvious, but understanding the kind of problem a new product solves can be a topic of much debate. As ignorant investors like to put it, “are you building a vitamin or a painkiller?”

The tricky part is that some of the problems may be latent to the customer. After all humans are awfully adept at adapting to circumstances. And when a new innovation significantly improves our lives we adapt to the new one (albeit post some prodding and nudging).

We were happy with lanterns… till the electric bulb came along

We were happy with horses…till cars came along

We were happy with radio…till television came along

We were happy with landlines…till mobile phones came along

We were happy with Blackberry…till iPhone came along

We were happy with shopping at the mall…till e-commerce came along

We were happy without social media… till Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat came along

On hindsight, some of these could be defined as painkillers, some as vitamins (nice-to-have). All of them did distinctly make life better (or did they J) in tangible ways. But like so many innovations, we did not know we needed them until they became a part of our everyday lives.

According to Nir Eyal, author of Hooked, habit forming products often start as (nice-to-have) vitamins, but once the habit is formed, they become must-haves (painkillers). That is, once we depend on the tool, nothing else will do.

Note: Not every business requires habitual user engagement. But if forming habits is a critical component to the success of your business, then what do you do? (More on that in a subsequent post)

Victory in Surrender

All that is in our control is to do our best. Trust the Universe to take care of the rest. #MondayMorningWakeUpCall

In a moment of desolate despair, Pi (from Life of Pi) looks up towards the sky and screams from the depths of his soul, “I’ve lost my family. I’ve lost everything. What more do you want? I surrender.”


In that moment, he lets go. He lets go of trying to control his destiny. But he doesn’t give up. He continues his daily survival routine of rowing, eating, feeding Richard Parker so that the tiger doesn’t feed on him, and he continues heading towards a directionless destination that he may never reach, one row at a time.

It did turn out to be a happy ending. Pi did survive and live to tell his extraordinary tale. Even though it’s fiction it’s a metaphor for reality.

Maybe there’s a #MondayMorningWakeUpCall maxim in the Life of Pi that’s also applicable in Life of Thy (and My)

All that is in our control is to do our best. Trust the Universe to take care of the rest.

Hint: Believe that we live in a friendly Universe (Einstein believed it)

How Ray Kroc (McDonalds owner) became an overnight success

Don’t desist to persist #MondayMorningWakeUpCall

I watched the movie ‘The Founder’ over the weekend. It’s the story of Ray Kroc, the person credited to making McDonalds an empire from a single store and ‘the most successful fast food operation in the world’.

Ray Kroc was a travelling salesman. He sold paper cups, pianos and milk-shake mixer machines door-to-door, till he chanced upon McDonalds at the age of… wait for it…wait for it…wait for it… 52!

There are a whole bunch of business lessons in the movie for entrepreneurs, founders and aliens alike but the one that probably is at the core and resonates throughout the movie (and his career) comes best from this dialogue at the end of the movie where he’s preparing for a speech.

Ray Kroc says: “I know what you’re thinking. How the heck does a fifty two year old, over the hill, milkshake machine salesman build a fast food empire with 1600 restaurants and an annual revenue of seven hundred million dollars?

One word: Persistence!”

It reminded me of a same same but different Steve Jobs quote, “I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.”

I think they might be bonding well in the after-life.