Be a family member (by choice or birth), bequeath a couple million dollars (to me), provide outstandingly unexpected customer service...stuff like that.
One thing a co-worker did (to which I am grateful for) was to give me an invite to Google's Gmail service. It was kinda like the feeling that comes when you were one of the first kids picked for a game of kick-ball--and not the one of the last. Belonging, acknowledgment, coolness.
What was once a passing dream has now become a tool to a plethora of web-services and contacts. Having a Gmail account gets you into the door of many of Google's fantastic services. Yeah, you still may need to wait in line at the bar--like with Google Analytics--but you will eventually get your beer.
One of the greatest features about Gmail is its flexibility in usage. Let me illustrate:
I was checking my feeds this morning and over at Google Blogoscoped found a post that some Gmail users are now being treated to a "delete all spam" feature. Currently I have to click the "select all" link then "delete forever" to rid my account of the spam mail. Now a single click is all it takes for some users. Yes, moving from a two-click process to one-click isn't earth-shattering but the refinement is a nice feature.
Anyway, in the post comments was a reminder that Gmail users can take advantage of the way email systems work by adding a "+whatever" to the end of their gmail address and the mail still comes to your account. i.e. if my email is email@example.com then I can use firstname.lastname@example.org as my email address when registering to win a new toy on the web. Then I can make a folder in my Gmail account "prizes" and set a filter to dump all mall to "winmesomething" into that folder, keeping my main account clean. Nice.
I also found this handy chart from Jochen Topf to show (and explain) what characters you can (and cannot) use in your email addresses--and why. It was nicely informative. Characters in the local part of a mail address
Here are some more handy references to Gmail usage.
Gmail Space, a Firefox extension that lets you upload files into your on-line Gmail storage.
Gmail Drive shell extension, a plugin for Internet Explorer that does the same thing.
Gmail Hacks at O'Riley, more a basic introduction to Gmail than "hacks" but still useful to noobies.
Gmail Tools and Plugins, a long and helpful list of Gmail releated items to expand Gmail's usefulness. From Robs Blog.
Gmail Articles and Resources, good listing from About.com of all kinds of tips on using Gmail.