Why America’s Explosive Growth And Innovation Was About Meeting Wants, Not Needs

Written by William Pauwels on May 22, 2018

Back in the ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s, Red Motley, the famed editor of PARADE magazine and renowned motivational speaker, proclaimed that America had discovered the secret of business success. He said America had discovered “how to make people want things they don’t need.” He said, contrary to public opinion, American business was not primarily a need-filling endeavor – but rather it was engaged in “want creation” . “Needs are never enough,” according to Motley, “Wants are the only things that matter.”

Perhaps he was stretching it a bit for shock value. But I never forgot his marketing message – we’re in the business of “making people want things.”

He also went on to talk about how this “want-creating process” makes the world a better place. How refrigeration put the iceman out of business – but yet the creativity of the ice industry enabled it to grow and prosper a hundredfold from the days of the icebox. He gave other examples such as the Hoover vacuum cleaner, which contemporary women can’t go without.

Motley also talked about professionalism, which he defined as the “attitude that says — no matter how good you are, you’re still not good enough.”

Red Motley was a tough talking guy – and if you ever have the opportunity to listen to his classic speech, “Nothing Happens Until Somebody Sells Something” , don’t pass up the experience. While it was recorded in the 1960s – its principles are still applicable today, and provides some of the best advice you’ll ever get in your business career – as well as many good laughs. Audible links are given below.

When government taxes workers . . . and pays non-workers . . . we will get more non-workers. We now have 22 million underemployed workers … Government Policy Should Make the Poor, Rich … Not the Rich, Poor!

Image: Screen Shot: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_OIoA_NC0Vo

William Pauwels
William A. Pauwels, Sr. was born in Jackson Michigan to a Belgian, immigrant, entrepreneurial family. Bill is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and served in executive and/or leadership positions at Thomson Industries, Inc., Dow Corning, Loctite and Sherwin-Williams. He is currently CIO of Pauwels Private Investment Practice. He's been commenting on matters political/economic/philosophical since 1980.