I was reading a fellow investor’s thesis page and noticed one lens they use for investing is whether a product is a “vitamin or a pill” with the insinuation that pills are inherently better investments than vitamins, as one is a nice to have for a business and the other is a must have. Now I can’t speak to this as an investment thesis, though I largely agree, but I do disagree on a wellness basis.
Preventative medicine is just as necessary as interventional medicine. In some cases more so, as getting ahead of a disease’s inflection point should be the humane way we handle our medical needs. We are just often too focused on short term impacts to see the value of solutions that build over time. Think of it as the quarterly reports of healthcare. Why build for the future when the market judges by each 10K?
The nature of panic may make us inclined to spend heavily on something that has become acute. But that does not make it inherently more effective or worthwhile. It’s just the immediately necessary. It just means we need higher minimum effective doses to see a result.
What we often ignore is compounding effects of wellness interventions are far superior to the mitigation of a pharmaceutical over time. Most of us would prefer to not require the costly (both biologically and financially) medicines that keep us together. This is not to say that I am not deeply grateful for all the drugs I take. But rather that I have seen incredible value in what we deem “lifestyle interventions” and other “nice to have” vitamin style supplements and protocols.
And while it takes much longer to see their effects, the compounding positive effects often wildly outperform anything that might be dubbed a pill. The trouble probably boils down to switching costs and time to pay off. Which is why an investor would prefer a pill to a vitamin. But just because something has a longer lifecycle doesn’t make it inherently less sticky. Or less effective. Or crucially any less profitable. The only way we ever see the deeply positive effects of habitual practice and dedication is to do the work. That work is boring, repetitive and low payoff. Until, most times years in the making, you see how putting your future self over your present self is what is giving you the future you always dreamed would be yours.