Can someone ever be truly selfish


(of a person, action, or motive) lacking consideration for other people; concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure.

This definition is inherently flawed.

Can someone be truly selfish


I can explain it in two steps:

  1. Very simple – I have come to believe that the only way any of us can get true happiness and peace is by helping others.By being compassionate
  2. Now, if we are truly truly selfish we should try to maximize our happiness at every opportunity possible. Right?

So going back to point1, how can we get that happiness & peace?  ….. its by helping others.

Hence if you really are selfish, you will do what the world sees as acts of random kindness and unselfishness.


The Marketing Funnel at Baapu Market Jaipur

On a recent roadtrip, we went shopping at the famous Baapu Market in Jaipur. Its a bazaar with lots of small shops selling similar stuff mostly fabric, bangles, jewellery and the likes. One is also told to bargain hard when shopping here.

While my wife was excited about the amazing collection of fabric, jewellery etc , I was intrigued by the interesting model that these shopkeepers had adopted.

Baapu Bazaar Jaipur
Baapu Bazaar Jaipur – photo credit Eric Parker/Flickr/

In most shops there were three different types of roles that the owner and staff were playing:

  • The Marketers – One or two people who were stationed outside the shop, about 15-20 steps away. They would shout out loudly about their speciality bangles or suit-pieces or sarees. I felt the idea was to get the attention of the people who were walking around to move towards their shop(s). They essentially brought more attention/traffic to the specific shop. Like many marketing campaigns, there focus was on increasing reach, hence they would spread in a wider catchment area.
  • The Call-to-Action – Then there was this one guy who was right at the entrance of the shop. Now, most shops here have some of their wares displayed right on the footpath. This guy would observe what me or wife were showing interest in, and would try to nudge us in saying there’s an amazing collection inside that we should check out. This is a critical step in their sales cycle. My assumption is that they have figured out that if you step inside the shop once, chances of your buying something increase multifold.
  • The Convertors – Now comes the most interesting part. In most shops (especially those dealing in fabric) one would be expected to remove shoes and sit down for the guy inside the shop to show the collection. I feel that the removing of the shoes and sitting down is like crossing a certain conversion hurdle. The prospect is now almost committed. This person(inside the shop) would be a very calm and relaxed one, who would have the utmost patience of showing us all that we asked. Its easy for one to feel bad for not buying from him since he had spent so much of his time on us. But the fact is, that its we who invest our time and end up feeling its better to buy from here, given that we have spent so much time checking out so many options. Interestingly, these guys came across as very easy to trust and in the absence of brands, its their personality and conduct that drives that trust.

Maybe I was seeing patterns where none exist.

Let me know if you visit this market and see (or fail to see) what I have just described. Will be interesting to hear from you.

Why I use Paytm for all bill payments except Airtel

Consumer behavior used to be a course that marketing folks took in 2nd year of Bschool.

I stayed away , like most other marketing courses.

But over the years, time and again I have seen the importance of understanding the consumer behavior – why do consumers behave a specific way, why and how are habits formed, are all habits sticky, what would prompt a habit change and so on.

My Online Bill Payments Behaviour

Recently I just noticed something interesting about how I pay my bills. It brought up the importance of consumer behavior yet again.

So here’s what happened.

Every month I end up paying some 5-6 different mobile/landline and a couple of DTH bills.

A few years back I started paying the Airtel bills online – the process was easy and it was the same interface for all Airtel Payments – mobile or landline.

Just one drawback – there was no “Make another transaction” button.

One had to go back to home page, and start the flow again. I shared this with my friends at Airtel Money and quite a coincidence that this button was added on their web page (they confirmed that my raising it with them had nothing to do with the feature going live).

Since then its been how I have paid all my Airtel bills.

PayTm bill payment
On the other hand, my experience with TATA Sky’s online payment was horrible to say the least.

During one such failed attempt, I remembered about Paytm and decided to use it.

And boy was it an amazingly designed service.

  • The UI was really neat and intuitive.
  • Credit Cards were masked and stored for easy subsequent payments. One just needs to repunch the CVV and the Verified by VISA passwords.
  • Old payments were stored and it was super easy to bring up an old payment and make a fresh one against the same DTH/mobile account.
  • In case of a failed payment to the service provider, the amount is kept in a Paytm virtual wallet that is “automatically”(this is true customer delight) picked up first during any subsequent payments and only the delta amount is required to be paid by the card.

Needless to say my bill payments have migrated to Paytm .

But not all.

I suddenly realized that my de-facto reaction when making the Airtel payments was still to go to the Airtel website and not PayTm. This was strange because from a rational perspective I had no reason to not switch my Airtel payments also to PayTm.

And this got me wondering.

  • I am not really loyal to the Airtel website, its just a question of habit I guess. Its not a strong habit to the extent that one can explain it through muscle memory. But the reality is that I followed the above steps without thinking much – picked up the bill, went to the Airtel site, paid and got it done with.
  • Is my behavior sticky with Airtel because they managed to get to me first and delivered a decent experience? If yes, then the first-mover-advantage for consumer services should be the possible stickiness-hurdle it creates for new entrants.
  • Has PayTm got me as a dedicated customer for their wallet services? Would I choose to pay at lets say Myntra (flipkart has its own wallet and Snapdeal is working on one) through a PayTm wallet? I am not too sure.
  • Although I am an avid Android user with a lot of apps that I use regularly but I still don’t have the PayTm app on my phone. Why? I am not sure. But I remember seeing their messages online and have seen their app in the Google Playstore also. Again no logic to explain this behavior. Wouldn’t the guy in charge of Data Analytics at PayTm be looking at my profile and thinking this guy probably doesn’t have a smartphone or a 3G connection.
  • Now that I have spent some time thinking about my strange behavior, would I go back to the Airtel site or migrate to PayTm? What do you think?


I have long since downloaded the PayTm app and it is now the default way to make ALL bill payments including the Airtel one(s). I no longer wait (or bother) for the bill to be delivered – PayTm manages my bill presentment and payment experience end to end.