Less is Better

August 31, 2009 § 2 Comments

Though Rational Behavioral Economics suggests that “A person behaves in a perfectly rational manner when a perfectly rational environment”, it almost never happens. To put it simply, rational environment(enough knowledge for the decision-maker, enought time to decide, enough options) never exists, as everyone is time bound and does not posess in and out knowledge of the situation + the most vital piece : Human beings are not rational with erratic behaviors.

I just watched this video on the Paradox of Choice by Schwartz. It says, too many choices do not actually increase our happiness and way of living. But, up to a certain point they are indeed proportional. After that, more alternatives result in the following:

1. Paralysis – We are stuck, not sure which one to go with. Fear of choosing the one. “Research has found that increasing the number of mutual funds available to employees in their 401(k) plans can result in lower participation rates. One employer found that for every 10 mutual funds included in its program, participation dropped 2 percent, even though opting out of the plan meant passing up the opportunity to receive up to $5,000 in employer matching funds (Schwartz, 2004)”

2. Unsatisfaction – Easy to imagine that we could have made another choice, this regret subtracts the satisfaction which we had got, making the decision even worse. Though u pick a choice, u never stop thinking and comparing about other options you could have had..(living in the moment)


The huge number of choices might be appealing at first, but it is a huge put off when it comes to purchase decisions. Here is a funny example which Barry cites in the video:

(conversation happens between Barry and a Salesperson in a Jeans showroom)
Barry: I want a good pair of jeans, this is my size, blah blah blah..
Salesperson: Do you want to go for Slim fit or Relaxed fit or
Easy fit or Stone wash or Acid wash or Button fly or Zipper fly or Boot cut, etc..
Barry: (jawdropped) I want the kind which used to be the only kind..

(The salesperson had no idea what that was!)

Added to the different styles are brands, there is Levis, Trigger, Pepe, Diesel, Wrangler, cK…wow. Imagine the magnitude of consfusion.

Anyway, what could be done to make the purchase of a person easier? to make the whole process simpler and happier?

1. An option for customers to decide the features/comfort they want, gradually narrowing down their choices

2. Narrow your options. Visit just one show room in place of 10.

3. Be content with what you have got.

4. …

If you feel, there are more things which could make us live happier in the ocean of choices and distractions, pls. add it in the comments section…

Arun Vallappan


1. Choice Optimization

2. Abundance of Choices-Shwartz 2004

3. Paradox of Choice Video by Barry Shwartz at Ted Talks

Forever Young – Alphaville

August 30, 2009 § Leave a comment

One of my most favorite love song..

Craiglist Values

August 29, 2009 § Leave a comment

Craiglist was founded in 1995 by Craig Newmark to post free classifieds online. If you have used the site, you could have felt what is a pure html web 1.0 site doing now? In the current market place, when every other site has integration with social networks, tweets, bookmarking buttons, other web 2.0 features, Craiglist does not have any of them, but still it is the market leader in U.S competing against RentHop and the likes..

Even Pankaj Agarwal, CEO of ClickIndia, considers CraigList-India as one of its main competitor. So, what does Craiglist have, that makes it so dominant in the classifieds industry.

1. Like every other classifieds site, people can post their ads freely

2. Earns revenue for any ad posted in select cities or in real estate space.(over $100 million annually)

3. Does not serve any google ads or their kind

4. Does not have any web 2.0 features

But how come points 3 and 4 help the site in growing revenue. Online popup or banner ads are the bane of websites, almost 95% of online users do not pay attention or disturbed by them. Is it the same with web 2.0 features? Necessarily not. But a business which sticks to its layout/core values, is better than one, which constantly re-innovates itself by changing them.. CraigList will even resist change in their space.

The simple thing is no one cares about n number of features offered by a site as long as what they are looking far is found. That is a easy job in craiglist. The homepage has all the countries listed with categories under them..

It is time, that other classifieds site/jobs site or news portals come up not dependent on ad-based revenue but on the content or a part of the content.

Finally, their motto: Unbrand, Demonetize, Uncompete

Arun Vallappan

What would you do, If you know you can’t fail?

August 28, 2009 § Leave a comment

Personally, I would try to do everything then, as i already know that i cannot fail or make a fool of myself. If you casually think about it, many of us do not actually be ourself.

Though we want to be/become someone, we do not do that, fear of failure, what if it does not work out the way i want it to, what if this happens or that happens.. what if’s..

But while we start to believe in ourself we should be trying out everything that comes to our mind. At one point we would realise that its just our perception which is faulty. If you have seen the movie Yes Man, thats the theme. Jim carry plays as a totally disinterested-in-life character when he comes to know of a cult, people belonging to which must say YES to anything/everything asked for.

So, now he goes on to explore life, learning languages guitar, goes for jogging, etc.

Yes Man

It’s a good one which sets life in motion. Watch it sometime.

Arun Vallappan

Keep It Simple Silly!

August 27, 2009 § Leave a comment

It’s also called Minimalism. Am a big fan of this school of thought or atleast lately i have become one. Keeping things as simple as possible.

As the name suggests, its is all about stripping something to the bare essentials. Making it un-cluttered. Right kind of emphasis given to each object in the space. This kind of improves the aesthetics of the visual..

Though, it was described in art, music, etc from the 70’s in terms of web design, Google was the 1st to establish it. With its search box only Google stands out even now. We see n number of websites which have followed Google’s footsteps (Cuil, Wolfram|Alpha).

Here are some impressive websites for inspiration..

1. Section Seven

Section Seven

2. Apple

Apple-Classic example

3. Subtraction


4. RED


5. Loot Store

Loot Store

6. Pure Volume

Pure Volume

7. Parley Studio

Parley Studio

8. BrynnSheperd




10. Hello

… This is an endless list. If you have come across any website making an impression, add it in the comments section.

Yeah, its my 1st post

August 26, 2009 § 2 Comments


I still don’t have much idea on what i would blog about. Every now and then some topic pops up or thoughts run like crazy in my mind, when i get the feelin i should be blogging about these, but being the lazy guy i am, it never sees the light of the day.

Anyway, hope to change it.


I could try to write about technology, politics, IT, programming (am a s/w programmer by the way), philosophy, movies, gadgets, websites, UI/UI design etc or refer other blog posts which i guess is the easiest thing to do, but the question is would I?

How easy or how tough is it to find topics to post on? Any avid bloggers, let me know your thoughts..

Arun Vallappan

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