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Brian Hayashi

While the "Web" internet gave us document addressability, the "Social" internet gives us people addressability. (And, I suppose, the "X-10/NFC/RFID" internet will give us the Internet of Things. But I digress.)

The notion of "pull" leads us to a reimagining of "instant gratification" - increasingly, merchants are architecting their design to put consumers at the center of the universe, making the whole world into a kind of "celestial jukebox" that permits access to anything imaginable.

Your access/attract/achieve model mirrors what I've been thinking about this new celestial jukebox. New intermediaries are using flash sales and social addressability to negotiate exclusive pricing, privileges, and access on behalf of their members.

Yield management is being spun on its head to pivot between maximizing revenue, ego, or availability. Historians might look at the UK 100 years ago and see something similar. We are moving from the logistics of things to the logistics of ambition.

Mahesh Ram

John, this is a tremendous and in many ways, seminal article. I will reference it often! One of the missing elements in your 'platform' discussion is how to build these vehicles with a global, multi-cultural, non-native English speaking audience as users - no one is giving this sufficient thought especially here in the Silicon Valley, so 'collaboration' is not globally enabled. Feels pretty exclusionary in a world where the developing markets are creating most of the growth and doing a lot more in the area of innovation.

Kitty Wooley

John, this is brilliant. I've been playing with your first two questions for several years, and working on the "attract" level of pull, but there is so much goodness in this column that it may take me another year to digest! Thanks.


Great post, and I agree with the underlying point you're trying to make. However, I see it differently in that I don't see the focus on experience design to be where the answer will be found. For me, the design of the experience is part of the execution of a holistic offering that people will pay for - regardless of whether it is initially expressed as a product, service, or the experience itself. A successful offering solves a problem better than alternative solutions. Continued optimization of a solution results in diminishing returns, as the problem posed becomes increasingly narrow and concrete.

I think the answer lies in developing the skills to pose better problems. By better, I mean problems that are posed at a deep enough level that they are satisfying fundamental motivations rather than pointing to superficial solutions. These types of problems can transcend any single solution; they are broad enough to enable a wide array of solutions, yet still enable us to discern the right solutions from the wrong solutions. (There should be multiple "right" solutions, but we should be able to tell "right" from "wrong".)

Currently we can only tell the difference between right solutions (the ones that are similar enough to what we currently know)and different solutions (between which we don't know which are right or wrong).

I think this is how we can design the pathways you talk about, and the platforms are the ways in which we enable this broader, problem-posing, mindset.

Joe McCarthy

A welcome elaboration on the aspect of your most recent book that most inspires me: the power of pull: institutions as platforms for promoting individual passions. This quote from your post really resonates: "What if, instead of pulling out the full potential of our products and services, we focused instead on pulling out the full potential of ourselves?"

I recently re-encountered some related wisdom shared by Kathy Sierra on creating passionate users channeled by Valeria Maltoni on her Conversation Agent blog during SXSW 2011. Kathy stresses the importance of user-RESULTS-focus rather than user-focus in designing products, presentations and blog posts:

"It does not matter how awesome your product is or your presentation or your post. Your awesome thing matters ONLY to the extent that it serves the user's ability to be a little more awesome."

I feel that my ability to be a little more awesome has been enhanced by the elaboration of the power of pull in this post, and by its introduction [to me] of the new terms and concepts of constructal design and thrivability.


John, Several quick ideas: 1) Since you've done the ROA analysis, it'd be terrific go back and look at the companies with the highest ROA and determine what they are doing differently (though it's likely, based on some of your examples, your team is working on this), 2) I suspect part of the problem we're all facing is too much information coming in from too many directions; therefore, we should be striving to take advantage of new filtering and analysis technologies (consider IBM's Watson's capabilities, for example), 3) I think that finding some type of paradigm with practical metrics is key to generating "more and more sustainable prosperity from the limited natural resources," something I've been thinking about in terms of, for lack of a better name, multicapital substitution model, and 4) sources such as meetup.com might be key to increasing serendipitous encounters and learning tacit knowledge.

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