I was in a meeting recently with some members of my company’s executive team. It was a brainstorming session regarding the “big picture” roadmap and how we can effectively drive our customers to use the more advanced features and options our product has to offer in order to improve their businesses.

My two cents amounted to this: we need to think more musically.

When you begin learning about melody and harmony as the organizing principles behind the establishment of a key, you begin to realize that notes, in and of themselves, don’t mean anything. A note only begins to make sense when there is another note before and after it. And, in harmonic terms, a note only begins to take on “meaning” when additional notes are added on top of one another. An E played by itself does not suggest anything. It could be a note of any number of millions of melodies, and it could be either the root note or the add9 of any number of chords. It could be the V or the I, the ii or the VII…

Until you give a note context, you have not actually created anything. A note by itself is nice, but it is only when you combine it with certain other notes that you have created something of value. Context creates the music.

Don’t give customers features, give them several features that combine to create a solution. Play them chords.


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