Bryan Eisenberg’s article today on the hierarchy of optimization needs is a worthwhile read. In it, he layers the concept of prioritizing site optimization opportunities on top of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. An interesting concept, though I think his separating Usable and Intuitive onto two separate layers is a bit of a stretch, meant mostly to make a nice, marketable pyramid.
Still, very useful. You could take this same concept and apply it, with slightly different labels, to optimizing any business process. If you don’t have the fundamentals (the bottom of the pyramid) in place (e.g. an operation that works) then driving more and more leads into to your operation is going to be of limited value.