The Homogeneity Trap!


There is a saying which a lot of us have heard or read which goes like this ” birds of the same feather, flock together “.



Other interpretations of the same include ‘ Collective Bias ” or ” Wisdom of the Crowds “.



Some of these existing narratives are traps. Great minds think alike. They need not or should not. If all of us are thinking the same, then none of us are thinking.



Have you ever looked at the World Map upside down?  I strongly recommend you do. And urge you to look at this Knew Thinking. New Possibilities video 



Your nutritionist will recommend you have vegetables that have as many diverse colours as possible. A one vegetable salad would be boring. But a salad with lettuce and spinach, capsicum and tomato, carrot and raddish, olives and avocado, coriander and kale when mixed right with a dash of garlic and virgin olive oil will be a real treat. Each of the ingredients enhances the other significantly.



We humans are not very different. We feed best off each other. Conformity is a rabbit hole. The fault lines in our culture( and the education industrial complex still hanging onto the retrogressive  coat tails of the Industrial Age) might drive us towards being the same and to play it safe and to come across as complying and toeing the line. With that, you are headed into the already turbulent waters of the sea of sameness with no chance of you to stand out. It’s a Red Ocean with no lifeboats in sight.



Our difference, our heterogeneity is not an impediment or a problem to be fixed. It is a delight to learn from. Hiring managers or leaders would like to hire people like them. In relationships too, you are looking at whether she or he is an introvert or an extrovert like you. Sameness is toxic.



As a  tribe, heterogeneity can help us survive and prosper. Homogeneity keeps us vulnerable.



Civilization is a progress from an indefinite, incoherent homogeneity toward a definite, coherent heterogeneity.
— Herbert Spencer







When the Culture is a Vulture and the Law is an …


April 10, Circa 1912. Probably, a Red letter Day in the history of passenger shipping. Among other things. Red Ocean would be a fitting metaphor.


The Titanic, launched on May 31, 1911, set sail on its maiden voyage from Southampton, England to New York City on April 10, 1912, with 2,240 passengers and crew on board. Nicknamed the “Millionaire’s Special,” the ship was fittingly captained by Edward J. Smith, who was known as the “Millionaire’s Captain” because of his popularity with ‘ wealthy passengers ‘.


Billed and marketed as the best, the greatest & the safest luxury ship ever built, 2240 people set sail from Southampton to create history. The first transatlantic crossing of the world’s most celebrated ship. One can imagine how mammoth it was- The Titanic was approximately 269 metres long and about 28.2 metres wide at its widest point.
How many have you heard this line ” the LAW is an >>> ” I don’t use three letter words..give me four letter words anytime- please don’t get ideas..words like HOPE | LOVE | NICE..for that matter LIKE..
The British Board of Trade had a law at that time, which effectively was, in order to take sail, a ship should have a lifeboat inventory that is a minimum of 30% of the passenger capacity- the Titanic had lifeboats that could be used by about 900 people at full capacity. Mind you the ship was ferrying almost 2250 people. We all know what happened. More than 1500 people lost their lives in the tragedy.
Apparently, British White Star Line, the owners and operators of the Titanic had complied with the then existing regulations of having a lifeboat inventory of minimum 30% of the ships’ total capacity. In the case of the rest, without lifeboats, they could be all at sea, forgive the pun.


As passengers waited to enter the limited number of lifeboats, they were entertained by the Titanic’s musicians, who initially played in the first-class lounge before eventually moving to the ship’s deck. Sources differ on how long they performed, some reporting that it was until shortly before the ship sank. Speculation also surrounded the last song they performed—likely either Autumn or Nearer My God to Thee. Ironical. None of the musicians survived the sinking.


In the early hours of April 15th, 1912over the course of 2 hours and 40 minutes, the RMS Titanic sunk in the icy Atlantic.


In the end, an U.S. investigation faulted the British Board of Trade, “to whose laxity of regulation and hasty inspection the world is largely indebted for this awful fatality”. Other contributing causes were also noted, including the failure of Captain Smith to slow the Titanic after receiving ice warnings. However, perhaps the strongest criticism was levied at Captain Lord and the Californian. The committee found that the ship Californian was “nearer the Titanic than the 19 miles reported by her Captain, and that her officers and crew saw the distress signals of the Titanic and failed to respond to them in accordance with the dictates of humanity, international usage, and the requirements of law.”




Customer Experience Is A Spectator Sport!


Before we set out, lets take a look at some of the world’s top tier customer centric companies:


Walt Disney: Stooping To Excellence

ACE Hardware: Helpful Hardware Place

Ritz Carlton: We Are Ladies & Gentlemen, Serving Ladies & Gentlemen

Amazon: Still Building The World’s Most Customer Centric Organisation


In an in increasingly commoditised, Red Ocean infested world, guess what is your organisation’s best product or service? CeX: Customer Experience.


The longest and hardest nine inches in Marketing is the distance between the brain and the heart of your customer.


With each passing day, interactions with customers move from private ( phone, email) to public ( social media, review sites and forums). The ‘Me’ in Social Me’dia is the Custo’me’r: Your job is to give them something to talk, yelp, post, upload, converse about


With each customer interaction on these public platforms, not only has your brand to manage the expectations of the original customer in question but also the emotions and perspectives of dozens or hundreds or even thousands of other customers and potential customers bearing witness.

That’s why it is more important to be mindful of what your brand says to the customers online but HOW it is conveyed as well. A minor choice in words could be the difference between an awesome customer interaction, and an unruly, offended mob!


Contrarian as it may sound, Employees First. Customers Second(there is a lot of meaning in this contradiction). Transfer the ownership of “change” to the employee in the value zone. You can’t have happy, enthused customers without happy, engaged employees.


The customer-centric company looks at customer service as a philosophy to be embraced by every employee of the company. It recognizes that there are both external and internal customers.


You need to get to the future, ahead of your customers, and be ready to greet them when they arrive”- Marc Benioff, CEO, Salesforce.



Your audience is not where you have been told it is

Did you get that? I am sorry if you thought otherwise.


Brian Eno is a musician par excellence. He is considered to be the inventor | father of what we refer to today as ‘ ambient music ‘. His quote is worth paying a load of attention to. Here goes:


” People often want to aim for the biggest, the most obvious target and hit it smack in the bull’s eye “, Eno says. “Of course with everybody else aiming there as well that makes it very hard to hit.” The alternative? “Shoot the arrow, then paint the target around it,” Eno explains. “Make the niches in which you finally reside.”


What is the prognosis here? Fly away from the competition. We are so often tempted by the SOS(Sea of Sameness), the resident comfort of herd mentality or the wisdom of the crowds !! . Even though it is very much a drift into a tumultuous Red Ocean territory. Playing it safe has never been more dangerous.


Instead of aiming for the same target as other writers, sportsmen, designers, musicians—trying to out-write, out-play, out-sing or out-design them, focus on how you can stand out, your uniqueness.


Time to stop suppressing your unique crafts and skills because they don’t conform, adhere or comply in the default ecosystem dictated by the omnipresent industrial complex of scale.


Embrace your weirdness, idiosyncrasies, your anomalies, your contrasts and bring them to the foreground. And here’s the thing : We notice things because of contrast. Something stands out because it’s different from what surrounds it. Celebrate your difference.

Time to woo your AWEdience! Thankfully they are there ( what we refer to as the MVA- Minimum Viable Audience), willing to explore, experiment, discover and celebrate with your youniqueness.