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The Cool Quotient

Maslow's hierarchy was with respect to human behaviour, where he theorised that humans will want to move higher up the pyramid starting with physiological needs and all the way to self-actualization.

This means that the products you design and ship will follow a hierarchy of their own depending on what needs they help people meet.

Naturally, the ones that solve the physiological needs are the products that just get the job done, transport you from place A to place B, rid you of hunger. Invariably, the competition here is on price and the cheapest product wins the market share.

But, as you move up the pyramid, the competition is no longer on price, as the needs are no longer just about getting tasks done. This is where the room for brand-building, positioning and all that Marketing jargon just opens up. A BMW and a Tata Nano both do the job of transporting you from place A to place B adequately enough, but that is not even a point for evaluation of which one to buy.

As you move up the pyramid, you need to start designing products that people aspire to buy, that they believe will make them feel better than their neighbours and peers.

Everyone loves to tell stories about the cool things they did on their trip to Europe or Latin America or Australia, the cool things that their Macbook lets them do, the cool features that the latest Nexus phone has, or the cool perks and benefits that their employer provides.

Here's a delightful piece by Umair Haque 'Google Glass failed because it just wasn't cool', where he re-iterates the importance of making your products 'cool'.

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