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Peer Utility – A Basic Concept

You give up something to get something. It’s like insurance. You give up a little, in the hope, that you never need a lot. I want to cover today what I call “peer utility”. Here is some history of the concept. My mom never got in the way of my friends, she let me choose them, but sometimes, she would give me her opinion. Her most frequent comment was: A friendship is mutual, you help each other, you each give and take, not always equal in the moment, but equal over time. So what are you giving and what are you getting? Maybe not her exact words, but my lifelong interpretation. It is what I heard and what I believe.

This let me come up with the concept of “peer utility”….it is the motivation that drives what you choose to give and what you choose to receive. It’s a “word of mouth” calculation.

Could you imagine in a mutual friendship, you feel like you give a 5 and get an 8 on a scale of 1-10….if both give 5 and “feel” like they get 8, this sounds like a strong, loyal relationship. Now think the other way, someone feels they give 8 and get 5, while the other gives 3 and gets 10. Wow, the numbers add up the same, but you think this will last more than one date?…probably not.

Is there a business idea coming? yes. If you find a service you like, at what level of utility will cause you to share it with others? As a point of reference, a utility of 1 means the service stinks and a 10 would motivate you to tell your deaf grandmother. So what is the level at which you “give”, as it is a personal, emotional choice?…some people are SPAM duplicators….so their level is “zero”.

While you are thinking, read this….what is your “receiving” level. How willing are you to actually do something somone told you. Check out this restaurant, this movie, etc. The first thing you do is consider the source..right? This is why SPAM is such a horrible thing. It should be a crime.

So what’s the point? What is Peer Utility?

Peer Utility is a product or service that provides enough value to a person that they are motivated to tell other people AND the receiver of that message is motivated enough to take action to try the product/service. The BEST peer utility occurs when the receiver becomes the giver. This is called Viral Marketing! In 2000, Napster generated over 10 MILLION new users in less than a week, why?….the giver utility was just enought (the cool factor) and the receiver utility was off the charts. Access to every song, every 80’s extened mix and all for free.

One last thought….if you find a good product/service, you are obligated to tell others.

Your thoughts? add comments, I’ll be sure to reply.

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