There are essentially two types of products or services: those that scale easily, and those that don’t. India has a vast amount of people and therefore a dire need for solutions to scale, however it most needs services that can’t effectively do that. More often than not, unscalable services are seen as luxury, whereas mass-production is affordable: fast food, one-size-fits-all clothing, cars, houses, movies… we’ve found a way to templatise everything and multiply production. Look around you and count the number of things that were designed specifically for you; chances are it’s almost zero.
The problem is, mass-production also brings with it an abstraction layer away from real purpose. A product becomes a standard, service become the-norm and people often forget why they came into being. You see it with traffic rules where even the cops have long forgotten the benefit of road rules, and a machine that fines deviation from a determined list. Tech call centers face this problem, because a vast majority of problems can be condensed into a FAQ manual, edge cases are ignored, with near hostility; besides, edge cases aren’t great for the bottom line. Movie formulas that are tried-and-tested will hit the easy section of the market without question… the rest is too great an investment, for too great a risk.
But what if we’re looking at it all wrong, and the strays are the most valuable. What if the people with the real tech problems are the ones that will be impressed enough with your service to spread the word, buy more and be brand loyal? What if the movies that target a specific group end up with dedicated fans who will love you deeply rather than forget you on next change. What if people working in offices designed for them, and not dealing with horrendous traffic and the associated trauma are vastly more efficient, effective and creative than their counterparts in cubicles, honking incessantly? What if eating a diet specific to your body, sleeping better, wearing better fitted clothes, and being emotionally satified makes you so much healthier and intelligent, your return on investment is tangible?
People naively assume personalisation costs more and is indulgent, while forgetting how much more valuable the results can be. Worse, they assume a lack of targeted design can be overcome by an increase in options–the spray and pray approach. India doesn’t need an increase in the number of solutions, it needs solutions tailored to it.