The Problem with Great Products

We start a business and make products and sell them to other businesses.

Great products kill pain. Businesses have pains. These pains get in the way of executing a business’ purpose — making money.

But here’s the problem with great products.

Businesses win by doing something better than their competition. Competition is any force competing for the same dollar.

So businesses buy great products to ease their pains, which in turn help them make more money. In this way, the products a business uses become part of their competitive advantage. But what if competitors find and buy the same great products? After all, any two businesses competing for the same dollar have similar, if not identical, pains.

And that’s the problem.

There is no incentive to share a great product if it helps one business win over another. We call these phenomena “trade secrets.” There is no more value to extract by Business A if Business B is also a user.

When businesses compete for the same dollar and use the same tools to get it, they develop a new pain: how do we use these tools better than they do?

At this moment, a new product emerges by another business to ease this pain. The infinite loop continues: business problems meet solutions, which evolve into new business problems.