Maslow’s hierarchy of needs

The Triangle of Success

How do you make a product trusted enough to convert?

Recently some friends and I have been talking about starting a company together. We still aren’t sure what that looks like and our product changes every week. We are hitting some problems around trust, and how you make a product trusted enough to convert. I can’t remember how we got here but I drew the below diagram and labelled it “The Triangle of Success” in parody.

Since the (re)creation of “The Triangle of Success” out of a moment of boredom, I’ve noticed its power for intentional action. This is a parody of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. To those unfamiliar, each layer is unobtainable without being secure in the former. That is to say, you can’t feel fulfilled if you don’t have access to food and water.

To extend to “The Triangle of Success”, you can’t make money without traffic, you can’t earn traffic without content.


This refers to any service or artefact of your opinions or skills. This can apply to an individual, group or company. Some examples of content:

  • Blog posts (yay!)
  • Tweets
  • Number of followers
  • Media
  • Conversations
  • Slack reputation
  • Personal recommendations
  • Website
  • Podcasts
  • A product

And an extension of this is the quality of all the above. Do you trust somebody with a website with visual glitches? Do you trust a Twitter account with bot followers?


Discovery of your product is more successful if you have great content. Your content enables traffic. This goes beyond the digital realm. If you give a talk in person and people show up that is traffic too.


This represents the attainment of a goal. At the time of creating the triangle, and this blog post we haven’t made any money off our ideas yet. The goal doesn’t have to be money, it represents your goals. Your goal may be to perform charitable actions, find a new job or anything else.

A common way I vet a startup is by checking if the company has a Twitter page. I wish it wasn’t a good indicator. If your Twitter has less than a hundred tweets I doubt you’ve been working on this product long. If there are less than a hundred followers I’m not sure your product will exist much longer.

If your goal is to find a new job you have to create content. You create a CV, You post that content on a job board, now it has traffic. And when you get the job that is your money and hence success!

How do you trust somebody in your community? You know them from Twitter, Slack, Meetup. That’s content too.

Would you pay somebody you’ve never spoken to to build you a website?

Would you go to a talk if the speaker didn’t have a strong personal brand or an interesting topic?

People can’t find your product if you don’t have a product. People who find your product won’t trust it if nothing inspires trust. It seems too obvious to state but here we are.

The generality of “The Triangle of success” is what makes it so applicable. What it is calling for is for you as an individual, group or company to define your success. Think about what you want, big or small and break down the actions to get there.

Thank you for enjoying my content and being my traffic, you know what comes next.

Manchester based Data Scientist, Digital Artist, Front-End Dev

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