The Ugly Truth : Lateral Views

It was one of those usual nights, a friend came to Mumbai, need an overhaul for couple of nights at my crib and off course the usual session. A doctor, an I Banker and off course me were the members of the session. When we were about half bottleful somewhere we began to talk about life randomness…It started off with – Do we as a human being/consumer really knows how we decide on the goods/product we choose? If it not so, then what’s the rationale of those expensive market research blown away by big corporate. Not only are the money paid to those Market Research firm a “blown off” but most importantly the peril in using those findings (aesthetically designed in power point and excel)  for taking major/huge decision. The discussion get extended to the stock market (remember we have a corporate finance guy), where past movements are used to predict what’s next. When we don’t know how the past happened how can we use those unknown past to extrapolate the unknown future?…We just snubbed it in the middle by saying “Kai farak partos!” and the bottle got almost 1/10th full…And that’s how Lateral View got triggered again…

…Everyone must have heard of the “Pepsi Challenge” back in 1975 in US where to try and shake the firm ground of Coke, Pepsi conducted a “Blind Test” against Coke across different consumer in the open market. And as we all know the challenge favored Pepsi, however Pepsi couldn’t gain the additional market share it needed to dethrone mighty Coke, the Test though validated in the lab never got validated in the real world. Mr. BLINK guy, Malcom Gladwell in his book tried to justify by saying that the test was a ‘SIP TEST” or called “Central Location Test” (CLT) in the soda world. In a sip, people tend to prefer the sweeter one, but when it comes to drinking a cola people drink for at least a cup (250 ML) in one go and hence too much sweetness might not be appreciated. Sounds plausible, indeed!

In 2003, Dr. Read Montague, the director of Human Neuroimaging Lab at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston dig deeper into this Pepsi Challenge, but this time using fMIR (functional magnetic Resonance Imaging) scanner, which can scan through ones brain. In the first sequence he did similar blind test without letting the respondents know about the brand. The result was the same as that of the 1975 one…Wait!!! He conducted another round, but this time he lets the respondents know the brand they were drinking. Bingo! 75% of the respondents prefer Coke (courtesy: BUYOLOGY by Matrin Lindstom).   

So who is lying here? The respondent or the fMRI machine…The truth is neither the respondents nor the machine lied. It was just a result!!!

This whole thing of human being not exactly knowing what they want but proclaiming they knew it OR pretending to know how they will react to a particular stimuli but behaves the other pole when the circumstances knocks them down, is fascinating…Am I talking about the quintessential “karmic or spiritual” question of “WHO AM I?”…BIG NO! I’m not saying we don’t know who we are, keep that tough nut for the actualized beings …We very much know who we are, but we don’t know why we do or what we are looking for or what actually drives us. Another way of saying it could be, we just know the symptoms and hence we articulate reasons out of the symptoms and hence we go wrong on ourselves in many instances, else why do we have to regret in many of our decisions (Put aside those gambling instance)???   

Few years back, our department underwent HR training on “Group Dynamics” and the trainer, a retired Colonel asked us to fill up the same old Johari Window, but this time stressing more on the perception of the boss/peer/subordinate. One, I’ve been filling up at least one Johari Window sheet annually since 2000 and second, he wants us to tell the perception of the other guy, when I firmly believe that human being doesn’t know how our system works. So, I finally debated with him saying that arriving a decision point based on a Johari window which is derived from my perception of what my boss/peers/subordinate thinks of me seems a little far fetched because my judgment of others on me sounds a little class roomish…we Ping-Pong a bit…finally he said “Too much of analysis lead to paralysis.”

I said, too much analysis might lead to paralysis, but a half backed analysis could lead to extinction and maybe a no analysis might continue with status quo…I literally didn’t say but I said it to myself in my mind…

Anyway, the point is we are just a “Hollow being” (maybe for a few exceptions) wherein our “consciousness” or “the fact that we know it and can stand by it” is just like the tip of an iceberg and most of our decisions or reactions are emanating out of the subconscious/unconscious world or “the fact that we might exhibit it but we are not aware of it” which forms the rest and major part of the ice berg/mind. Hence, taking someone words or customer voice at the face of it would be a high risk game, we need to analyze it on why did he/she said it or why did the result came out this way – what was the circumstance…would it be ny different if a factor would have changed?

The Ugly Truth is that we know very few about ourselves irrespective of how much of a brain stimulator or how self-exploratory we might be. Maybe that’s why we love judging others to recoup on the lagging behind on knowing ourselves?

Next time someone says, “Trust me my love, I’ll not do it again or I just know it’s not happening again”…Just asked him/her to take a SIP TEST….: – )



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2 Responses to The Ugly Truth : Lateral Views

  1. Indrajeet Sarangi says:

    owesome article:)
    Straight from the horses mouth it seems.

  2. lateralviews says:

    Thanks…Keep reading my friend!!!

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