Why do products fail?
What happened to Yahoo or Orkut? Why did they eventually repudiate? What led to their decline? Why did a product dwindle has been the most popular question around startup failures? Many factors can lead to it –cash burn, competition, market unpreparedness, and others.
However, one exciting explanation is given by Nir Eyal in his hooked model as well. Maybe the answer comes as a chained response to the question – Is the product a Painkiller or a Vitamin? Let us find out.
Humans usually don't think about Vitamins as strongly as they do about painkillers. The reason is simple – painkillers solve an immediate problem; they give relief from excruciating pain and provide comfort. But what about Vitamins? Are they any good? Most of us don't know that we do not get an instant result by regularly consuming Vitamins; therefore, it comes across an accouter - to comfort us only psychologically.
Similarly, in product design, we need to ask if the product is solving a real problem that discomforts customers or if it's only getting tagged along as an accessory app on our phone. Thus, building painkillers and disregarding vitamins seems like a natural choice. But is it so? Let's think about the most used Social media app today – Instagram. Is it a painkiller or vitamin? An ostensible answer can be – Vitamin. But that's not the case with such products because there's something else that happens with habit-forming products. Such products are a mélange of painkiller and vitamin both. They start by stimulating a subdued discomfort: in this case, a primal human instinct- The need to be SOCIAL. Before Instagram, we have not been immersed in the mindless web of infinite scrolling at midnight– in most cases, liking memes.
Therefore, Instagram stimulated discomfort first and then became a tonic to heal that discomfort, thereby becoming vitamin.
"A habit is one when not doing an action causes a bit of discomfort."
What other product can you think of that camouflage as a vitamin but have been a painkiller for a part of their existence? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org, or let's connect on LinkedIn.