December 25, 2023

The Gift Riddle

When you purchase a gift for someone, what are you really buying?

I mean, you’re not really buying the gift because you don’t get the gift.

So what did you give your money to the seller for?

Was it...

To experience the joy of giving?

In hopes of reciprocity?

To conform with group norms?

To signal high social status?

To release yourself from obligation?

To reinforce your identity?

Whatever your motivation, when you buy a gift for someone, you are trading cold hard cash for something extremely intangible.

Here’s the thing...

The same sort of dynamic is at play whenever anyone buys anything.


When your customers give you their money, what are they really buying?

(Hint: it’s not code, or copy, or photos, or a logo, or a white paper, or any other deliverable)



(Originally published on December 21st, 2019)