Everyone just loves numbers and this fact couldn’t fit better to Indians. From tracking stock market to Cricket to Orkut, we like to talk about every number that there is.
Most Indians do not understand the exact significance of Sensex but they still like to talk about it. They don’t know that it is dependent on only 30 stocks but still would ask about it as if their married life was dependent on it. No matter if they are a trader or not they will still want to know the numbers. CNBC will be switched on for hours just to track numbers.
Same with cricket. You would remember how many runs did Sachin hit against Bangladesh in 2001 but not remember when that important meeting is scheduled. Imagine cricket without numbers. Bowling economy, batting avg, strike rate, run rate and what not. People talk about every statistics between the overs. Even the broadcasters realize this and have all kind of representation for statistics. Imagine baseball. Your runs are not counted even if you get to 3rd base. Now a normal Indian reaction to this would be, ‘i should be given 3/4th runs’. The point is, small gains do not count in baseball, you have to reach a certain number before it makes a difference. Any other sports does not have so many numbers to track.
Orkut was all about increasing friends, scraps, fans etc. There was lots of activity on Orkut. Even if Desi users have followed their Firangi counterparts and adopted Facebook the activity is still missing. Imagine the number of scraps exchanged on Orkut. All app activity + wall posts taken together wont reach that number(excuse the exaggeration). Imagine the amount of conversation that was taking place. People wrote scripts to increase the scrap count. Numbers are just fun to track and probably the three number on Twitter, following, follower and updates, will gain the same respect.
The point is, quantity is an objective thing to compare which even novice can judge. Where as quality is a subjective thing where experts are required. By checking quantity you are letting the masses be the judge of their own action. They tell you the exact difference between you and your neighbour.
Even Google likes to show off its speed in milliseconds. Everyone knows/can see that Google is fast but still it likes to tell you that the results were generated in “.31 seconds”.
As school students we always bothered more about the subjects for which we got marks(maths, science) than the ones for which we got grades(drawing classes).
One should try to add statistics to every activity of the user and the topper in every field should be highlighted massively, makes the user feel special. That is how forums work.
If you think that Desi are a dumb crowd and I wont build a product for Desi… dude, you just cant afford to miss such a big number.
All said, it doesn’t mean that quality can take a back seat. One has to be careful in what they are counting else you might compromise on quality. Like if I let people count how many comments they have made in total on my blog then people might start spamming else i would have to moderate every comment.
So what all stats do you present to your users/customers ?
Recommend read: How Smart Companies Understand User Needs (and Exploit them)
[Naman is a startup enthusiast and has worked with couple of Indian startups as Product Manager. He is the founder of FindYogi]