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What You Will Learn


Thu May 11 2023
BusinessMotivationHierarchy of NeedsEmployee EngagementCustomer SatisfactionPersonal Development


The episode explores Chip Conley's book 'Peak' which applies Abraham Maslow's theory on the hierarchy of needs to business success. It discusses how companies can tap into the potential of their employees, customers, and investors by addressing their different levels of needs. The episode also emphasizes the importance of finding meaning in work and aligning personal values with career choices. It provides insights on how organizations can create a sense of purpose and tap into customers' unrecognized needs to drive success. The episode concludes with a discussion on finding one's calling and making sure to choose the right path in life.


Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Maslow's theory on the hierarchy of needs is a fundamental concept that underpins Chip Conley's ideas in 'Peak'. It explains how humans are motivated by different levels of needs, from basic survival to self-actualization. Understanding and addressing these needs is crucial for businesses to succeed.

Tapping into Unrecognized Needs

The episode highlights the importance of identifying and meeting customers' unrecognized needs. By offering products or services that fulfill these unmet desires, companies can create loyal customers and gain a competitive edge.

Finding Your Calling

Finding one's calling involves discovering work that brings a sense of purpose and fulfillment. The episode encourages individuals to prioritize their values and align their career choices accordingly, emphasizing that it's never too late to pursue a meaningful path.


  1. Introduction
  2. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
  3. Applying Maslow's Ideas
  4. Tapping into Unrecognized Needs
  5. Finding Your Calling


00:00 - 06:21

  • The book 'Peak' by Chip Conley explores how great companies can tap into the potential of their employees, customers, and investors.
  • Conley was inspired to write the book after experiencing a crisis in his hotel business during the dot-com bubble burst.
  • He discovered Abraham Maslow's book 'Towards a Psychology of Being' and became fascinated with Maslow's ideas on self-actualization and human potential.
  • Maslow's influence can be seen in other books like Jim Collins' 'Built to Last', which emphasizes creating organizations that allow people to self-actualize.
  • B.F. Skinner had a different approach, studying behaviorism and focusing on what people could become rather than their past actions.
  • Maslow's theory on the hierarchy of needs underpins all of his ideas.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

06:01 - 12:19

  • Maslow's theory on the hierarchy of needs states that humans are always wanting more and never reach complete satisfaction.
  • The base of the pyramid consists of basic needs like food, water, and sleep.
  • Once these needs are satisfied, one can move up to the next level which is physical safety.
  • After physical safety comes social connection or affiliation.
  • The next level is self-esteem.
  • At the top of the pyramid is self-actualization or peak experiences.
  • According to Maslow, peak experiences cannot be bought or guaranteed but happen naturally when all other needs are met.
  • Chip applied Maslow's ideas to his hotel business and saw significant success in terms of market share growth, revenue doubling, and employee turnover reduction.
  • Chip simplified Maslow's pyramid into three levels: survive (basic survival needs), succeed (social relationships and esteem), and transform (self-transformation and relationship transformation).
  • These three levels can be applied to employees, customers, and investors.
  • Money is essential at the survive level according to Zig Ziggler.
  • Employees need money for basic survival before they can focus on higher-level needs like social connections and esteem.
  • Transforming oneself and relationships is the most powerful but intangible aspect at the top level.

Applying Maslow's Ideas

11:52 - 17:39

  • Money is the first thing to tick off on the employee pyramid, as it is a primary concern for most people.
  • To move up the pyramid, employees need more than just money; they also seek recognition and social status.
  • Finding meaning in their work is the top of the employee pyramid, where employees feel they are contributing something beyond just putting in time.
  • Leaders should help employees move up the pyramid by providing wages or salaries, recognition, and a sense of purpose.
  • Customers have their own pyramid, starting with meeting expectations and progressing to meeting desires and unrecognized needs.
  • Meeting unrecognized needs creates evangelists for a product or service.
  • Apple is an example of a company that successfully tapped into customers' unrecognised needs by offering an identity along with their products.

Tapping into Unrecognized Needs

17:09 - 22:57

  • Apple's early marketing campaigns focused on selling an identity rather than just a product
  • Example of unrecognized needs: blackout blinds that provide pitch black darkness for better sleep
  • Harley Davidson creates a sense of rebellion and individualism in its customers
  • Warning against focusing solely on meaning without considering the base pyramid
  • Investors have their own pyramid: transactional alignment, relationship alignment, and pride/legacy
  • Impact investing combines making money with making a positive impact on the world
  • Parable of stone cutters illustrates different levels of motivation and purpose in work
  • Applying the pyramid concept to our own lives and careers

Finding Your Calling

22:36 - 27:16

  • There are three levels in terms of work: job, career, and calling.
  • In a job, you may not expect much from work and prioritize leisure time.
  • In a career, recognition from others and the desire for promotion are important.
  • A calling involves feeling a sense of loss without work and believing that your work makes a difference in the world.
  • Finding your calling takes time and trial and error.
  • It's never too late to discover your calling.
  • Setting priorities based on the levels of the pyramid can help guide your career choices.
  • Make sure you're climbing the right mountain or pyramid by choosing the right path for yourself.