Promise Phelon (The Phelon Group) sent over a white paper her firm recently did about a new hierarchy based on Maslow’s famous self-actualization pyramid.
My take? You start with something that does what you say it will. You add value when you provide swift support, but even better, when it becomes clear to a user that there are ways that the product can do even more than they expected. And finally, you win when you create mutually beneficial relationships. These are easiest to imagine in the business to business world (conferences, professional advancement) but you can also see how this could apply, for example, to an iPod. It starts as a music player. It becomes a calendar and photo book. And finally, it’s hip jewelry that gets you a date.
My guess is that Promise was thinking of something a lot more substantial than that, but in a society filled with people in search of meaning, it’s worth a riff.