A neuroscientist and some grape skins vs. the pharmaceutical industry.
All the peer-review in the world couldn’t prepare them for this next part
In late 2017, NPR aired a two-minute segment on the science behind our new pain cream. It became such a popular segment that it left our customers hungry for more detail. So by popular demand and for the first time ever, here’s part 8 of an 11-part story on the discovery and creation of Ted’s Pain Cream. To read from the beginning, click here.
If you’re jumping in mid-story, here’s a quick catchup. Dr. Ted Price and Dr. Greg Dussor, two university neuroscientists, discover a new natural mechanism for pain relief. Ted studies it for years, before finally trying it on himself. He’s impressed enough to that he hands it out. Others rave. They start a company. There. Caught up.
With everything in place, all they needed was a team to handle the details. They found some talented folks who believed in the science and the mission, and who were willing to put in sweat equity. They designed a commercial form of the cream, built a website, set up a fulfillment center, got started on stability tests, designed packaging, ran costs analyses and pricing models, and placed an alarmingly large initial order for tubes and cream. They crossed their fingers that they could meet their projections for the first year of sales without losing their shirts. And then they turned it all on, prepared to get down to the slow, daily grind of spreading the word.
That’s when disaster struck. Well, a kind of disaster anyway.
NPR’s national science correspondent got wind of Ted’s research, through a chance meeting at a Rita Allen Foundation meeting in Silicon Valley, and decided to do a story on him. When the interview finally aired, coincidentally on Ted’s birthday, it was short and open-minded. But Ted worried that since they didn’t even mention the name of the product, and since it took a pretty skeptical angle (it even used the word “snake oil” in the story title, which you can listen to here, if you’re interested), it might not end up doing much good.
It only took a few minutes to realize he was wrong. Orders began to pour in by the hundreds. There were so many orders, they sold out of their entire first year’s supply of product in a single day.
“It took us almost three months to make more product,” laments Ted. “We were definitely not prepared for the level of demand. We were losing new customers every minute, and the ones we had before NPR were not happy with the new wait.” But eventually they restocked the warehouse shelves and began shipping it out in quantities well above their initial, naïve projections. The demand sparked by the radio interview held strong, now bolstered by the strong word of mouth from those NPR listeners leaving glowing reviews on the homepage and on Amazon.
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