What do people really want?

I wrote a post on PsychCentral, inspired by a Wolfgang Blau speech at Yoastcon 2019. The post expressed how impressed I was that Blau understood that ideas catch on the touch society’s (often unacknowledged) longings.

Who cares if I am impressed? (Just had to say that).

Anyway, Steve Jobs said:

Some people say, “Give the customers what they want.” But that’s not my approach. Our job is to figure out what they’re going to want before they do. I think Henry Ford once said, “If I’d asked customers what they wanted, they would have told me, ‘A faster horse!’” People don’t know what they want until you show it to them. That’s why I never rely on market research. Our task is to read things that are not yet on the page.


Give people what they don’t realize they want…..OK. What is that?

Shall we go the Billy Joel route?

Honesty. It’s such a lonely word. Everyone is so untrue! Honesty. It’s hardly ever heard and mostly what I need from you-ooh.


Ok, yeah. Honesty. Billy says he wants it. Hmm…

What else?


maslow needs what do people want

Beyond basic physical needs, Maslow claimed people need safety. Physical safety, yeah, but psychological safety would rule our minds, as physical safety is taken for granted 99.9% of the time by most people who’d explore this issue.

People want to feel safe from what?

  • Needing approval
  • Social status – measuring up
  • Financial worries
  • Relationship safety (jealousy, arguments, control issues, etc..)
  • Feeling like their lives are going in the right direction
  • That what goes on inside them is NORMAL
  • Family drama
  • Uncertainty – knowing they are going to be ok
  • Feeling alone or lonely
  • Not knowing if life is going in the right direction
  • The boredom of existence – lack of meaning
  • Feeling like things aren’t OK (I just want to feel OK

People need to know what, deep down?

  • That other people struggle just as much as they do
  • They are headed in the right direction (certainty)
  • They’re ok
  • Other people are JUST LIKE YOU
  • We’re all in this together
  • You are ACCEPTABLE

Here’s what to ask people to learn what people really want:

If someone could tell you one thing that would suddenly make you feel permanently OK, what would it be?