In my quest for good non-rice food in Bangalore, I recently bumped into something that is pretty rare out here, a street side Momo stall. At Rs.35 for 8 pieces this was double of what one would pay in Delhi. The young North-Eastern lady manning the stall made me expect some authentic taste. I asked for 1 plate and she served me without any dip. On asking, she put 3 spoons full of red chutney on the 8 pieces. To put an end to all my authentic taste fantasy, the red chutney was nothing but diluted tomato ketchup. The Momo stuffing was also missing something. Clearly I felt cheated but that wasn’t the young lady’s intention(I am happier believing so).
I somehow finished the steamed dough served with tomato ketchup that looked like Momo and paid her. She asked me for feedback and I tried explaining it to her but it seemed that was her real definition of Momo.
I was at the Startup Saturday event last week. One of the startups presented an analytics tool to predict market behavior for a given product. When you talk about analytics and predictions one generally believes there is a lot of historic data to calculate the results based on some heuristics. This is how the tool worked, you input a rating of various subjective parameters on a scale of 1 to 10 and it would give you an output of what percent of target audience would buy it. All this based on some arithmetic.
In the QnA time he asked for feedback and everyone was just dumbstruck, clearly feeling cheated for what they witnessed. One of the attendees tried explaining it to him but in vain. That was his definition of a real prediction tool.
Few months back a startup had written to us to review their social media engagement app that would make you play a guessing game and then give you discount voucher based on the final score. I played the game once and clearly there was no social element in the game other than a ‘share your final score’ button. The interestingness of guessing was killed as the right information was only a click away. Clearly, the game was dumber than C2W games I played 7 yrs ago. I finished the game quickly with max score to get the coupon, only to realise that coupon was already available on atleast 3 different sites for free.
I tried explaining to the startup that this cannot be reviewed on Pi as there was nothing social about this app or nothing engaging even. They kept insisting for a coverage but never bothered to re-look at their product.
The essence of Momo lies in the dip and market predictions cannot be done with arithmetic. In the same way that putting up an app on Facebook does not make it social and engaging. There is nothing wrong in building those things that way, but the tag that you put to it matters to the world at large. You have an option to choose a tag that is already popular and will get attention or build your own tag. If you really think your product is different then do some justice to it and give it a different tag. Respect the tag that you carry and the general definition of it else with some more wrong tagging the whole tag will die. And so will your product.
[Naman is a startup enthusiast and has worked with couple of Indian startups as Product Manager. He is the founder of FindYogi]