Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Are you an aspirin, a vitamin or a condiment?

When we look at commercialization opportunities, one of the things to consider is the type of product that can be created. One well known test is to ask if the product is a pain-killer or a vitamin. In other words, does the product solve a big problem for someone? Or, does it simply make things a little better? Another way of looking at this is to ask is: Is it a "must have" or a "nice to have"? In the IT/Software space, examples of vitamins might be security monitoring tools, web portals, social networks, email spam filtering, Google Analytics, Twitter, YouTube. Examples of pain killers might be compliance tools like Oversight Systems, databases, storage virtualization, and CRM. Some products are both depending on the situation. Data backup is nice to have, until you lose your data, then it is a must have.

As bad as being a vitamin might sound, there is something worse. That is to be a condiment. Condiments are just there. Something you sprinkle on top to finish off a dish. Can you live without it? Sure. Do you notice it when it is missing? Rarely.

No offense to the nice people at StumbleUpon, but that's definitely a condiment. Other condiments would have to include MyBlogLog, iLike and just about every widget ever written for Facebook.

Don't be a condiment.

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