Going for the Popular Option is the Pathway to Safe Mediocrity

One of my personal rules of thumb is to be reluctant to anything that is popular - movies, restaurants, books etc. - if a lot of people like it, then probably it is not all that good. Why people buy (go for) the popular option? Social Proof and Social Pressure The preference for popular options (products) is often attributed to social proof or social pressure. For example, Jane buys the most popular cookbook. One explanation might be that Jane faces some ambiguity - doesn’t have a clear preference – about which cookbook to buy and she chooses the most popular one assuming that other people know better. This is social proof. Another explanation might be that Jane doesn’t want to be the only o

Brilliance by Simplicity in Service Design

For the 4th of July weekend, my wife and I went to a mountain resort to escape the heat and humidity of Washington DC. At one of the restaurants I came across this wonderful small piece of service design – the napkin with name, number and email. Naturally, such a napkin used as coaster at the bar would be useless in the local neighborhood watering-hole where “everybody knows your name”. However, where nobody knows your name - in a bar where there are virtually zero regulars such as at a resort, business/ airport hotel this contact napkin makes all the sense in the world. I guess that nobody did a proper randomized control trial to see if these napkins increase follow-up interactions. Even so

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