Time, Money, Sex (and Salvation)

Time (stopwatch), Money (bag of cash), Sex (stockinged leg in heels) and Salvation (child praying to heaven)

week I walked through the frameworks in art and technology and
how they can be applied to just about any discipline – unveiling my own
framework in the process. We looked at The Three Buttons that divide up the sales cycle:
Search (prospect looks for answers and finds you), Subscribe (they
become a part of your network and you cultivate the relationship) and
Buy (they buy your products and services).

This week I want to look at attacking the ever-thorny issue of Why We Buy:

are a lot of reasons why we plunk down money for stuff. In this case, I’m separating wants from needs. We need water and food and shelter and
all those Maslow things. We want a Senate bid, ripped abs, passive
revenue and our own island (or at least I do and besides, Ron would
look smashing in a Jackie Onassis pillbox hat). I’m talking about things that we want so much that we’re willing to convince ourselves that we need them.

I cook this down to three categories (cue Venn diagram – I am loving PowerPoint 2007!).

Time, Money and You-Know-What

Three part Venn diagram with Time, Money and Sex overlapping.

Stay with me.

of the reasons we spend money on things we don’t really need are tied
to one of these three areas. Let’s take them one by one.


Detail on the Time region with bullets: Save Time, Make Time, Leisure and Efficiency.

So much of our daily
marketing intake is promising more results in less time. Our busy and
active lifestyle is driving us nutty and we need to be able to pack in
more more more. We want to have it both ways (spend a day looking at
every marketing message you see and try and find the how it convinces
us we can have it both ways).

How do your products and
services help me make time for what is important? Quality time, family
time, workout time, reading time, meditation time, church time. Time
for the things that are crucial that often get overshadowed by

How do your product and services help me
have more leisure time? This is a mix of the above two. Part of being
middle-to-upper class is having time to spend on pointless shit. Well, pointless in terms of ‘not getting you closer to your Nobel Prize.’ You
know what I mean.

And efficiency. How do you products and
services help me use the time I have better? Extract more value? Get
more things done so I can have more leisure.

So take out a
piece of paper and write out three ways your products and services help
people save time. A corollary is that the time to ‘install’ or ‘learn’
is worth the payoff in saved time.

What are three ways your products and services help others have more time?


Detail of Money region with bullets: More Money, Less Expenses, Luxury and Security.

It makes the world go round (thanks Kander/Ebb). Sometimes it grosses me out how much blogging has become only about making lots of money (irony). But especially in the current global econalypse
money is more important than ever ibecause it keeps us free from
worry. The gospel of prosperity promises that God wants us to be rich
and that being poor is a moral failing (ergo the super-rich are
blessed). Abundance and scarcity battle it out in our heads, our
dreams, our bank accounts and global commerce.

How do your products and services help people create more wealth? Whittle down their expenses?

is about luxury. Having more than enough. Profligacy. Conspicuous
consumption. Spending money to spite others. I’m always amazed at how
The Great Depression has echoed three generations down to my own
midnight money panic attacks.

What are three ways your products and services help others make money?


Detail on the Sex region with bullets: More, Better, Genes/Memes and Visibility.ure and Efficiency.

Back when I was writing and directing plays,
part of my approach was to get my actors to ‘act from their DNA.’ That
no matter if you are doing Ibsen, Sophocles, Shakespeare, Mamet or
Wibbels, the way to really grab an audience is when characters are
stripped down to clawing for their own survival whether it be murdering their children to spite their husband worrying about a room with a view, or trying to get a bowl of soup.

we ‘act from our DNA’ our basest needs are tapped. The urge to spread
our genes. We want it more often. Or better. Or more partners. Or more
pleasure. We lose weight so we can have more sex. Or better sex.

much of modern marketing is dedicated to convincing you that you are
completely unfuckable and must buy the product advertised to be worthy
of the affections/lust of (an)other(s).

But how does this relate to business where sometimes the bow-chicka-wow-wow isn’t as obvious?

isn’t just spreading your genes – but also your memes. Sex appeal for a
business is about visibility. How can your ideas and products and
messages spread? How can you increase your findability online?

What are three ways your products and services help others increase their sex appeal or visibility?

I Lied

a cynic so I think most of us do thing for our own immediate gain. The
one thing I learned from World History in college is that usually is is a war for money or god and usually when it is od it is money anyway. But some people are genuinely motivated by the need for

The original staring Venn diagram with Time, Money, Sex and floating off to the side a circle for Salvation.

Or a deeper connection to their own divinity or God-liness or a more intimate relationship with the deity of their choice. You either have grace or you don’t. My grandmother would call this ‘Providence’ – that things happened for a certain reason. That and you don’t mess with Novenas.

Detail on the Salvation circle with bullets: Divinity, Better, Grace and Providence.

Any Buddhists, Muslims, Hindu
folks want to chime in? For atheists I was going to put smug

Power, Control and Meaning

The original Venn diagram with Time, Money and Sex and overlaid the words Power, Control and Meaning.

Every worthy argument in the world is about control. Who has the power and who doesn’t.

time you fight with your spouse, parents, boss, children… you are
fighting over who has control. We look to iPhones, anti-depressants and 400 thread-count sheets to give us more control, more power of our

And with our ongoing nod to Maslow, more control,
more power gives us the opportunity to have more time, more money, more
sex, more efficiency, more value, more visibility and ultimately – full
dominion over our lives and ability to create meaning.

So if you retain nothing from this essay at least remember this question:

What are three ways your products and services help others increase the control they have over their lives?






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