Ever heard about herd mentality?
Sujit Chandra Kumar
‘Fast bowlers hunt in pairs.’ Most cricket lovers would have come across this cliché, uttered as though it were some phenomenal revelation or discovery, from the so-called analysts of the game. It is the ex-cricketers who abound in cliches of this kind but just think about it. Fast bowlers bowl at the beginning of the innings and since they take turns, isn’t but natural that they hunt as a pair? Besides, can’t we also say the same about a pair of opening batsmen?
Outside of the cricket field too, we see people – entrepreneurs to be more precise – hunting as a pack. They co-exist though they not necessarily cooperate. Once, I heard about an eatery that specialises in chicken thoran near Balaramapuram and took a detour from the national highway during a trip. After driving many kilometres along a narrow road, I reached that restaurant. Or, so I thought. Even as I was parking, a nattukaran (local resident) enlightened me that the ‘original one’ was farther away and this was a recent imitation with the same menu.
Perhaps it is easier to copy a successful model than create or think of a new one. In my semi-urban neighbourhood, there was no bakery for a long time. Then one emerged and this started doing brisk business. Soon, the owner of this bakery himself started a branch, hold your breath, barely 200 metres away. Now, there are six of them and all are doing fairly well.
Similarly, I used to carry my clothes to a faraway place to get them ironed before an ironing centre cropped up. Almost overnight, another one showed up, even closer home!
Recently, I heard about Nellikuzhi, a furniture hub in Kothamangalam and drove down to pick up a few pieces, only to get a first-hand experience of what ‘problem of plenty’ meant. There were hundreds of furniture shops, leaving one perplexed why competition was not killing them instead of helping them proliferate. “The market expands,” a friend offered and I have no option but to agree, though not sure about the underlying logic.
A few months ago, I went in search of Rahmath, the biryani place in Kozhikode, that offers a fine counter point to Paragon, the most famous. There are any number of biryani outlets in this town and each of them has no dearth of customers. But what surprised me even more was this automobile spare parts hub in the vicinity of Rahmath that simply takes one’s breath away. I am not talking about branded goods but shops that stock anything and everything related to automobiles. At least a hundred, next to each other. How do they thrive? Does this town have so much demand for old spares at a time when people are discarding old vehicles and opting for brand new ones? It doesn’t take a Sherlock Homes to deduce that many of the vehicles that regularly get stolen from different corners of the state must be ending up there in bits and pieces but still, how do they all manage to sell, service and survive?
Well, well, I know what some of you must be thinking. It is no great business trend that I have unearthed. After all, the Technopark and Infopark houses so many firms that offer similar kind of services. And there are the Penta Menakas and Broadways and Lulus that bring together shopping centres that peddle essentially the same goods. I know, but will someone throw light on the secret behind why people fall for those hunting in packs?
Pic Courtesy: google/ images are subject to copyright