#Foolish is #foolish even if 50 million people say it is not

Nobody wants to sound foolish and nobody wants to be with foolish but we land up being foolish. Worse, since we are with foolish people around us, we consider the non-conformist as foolish. But still we are foolish. Does this sound foolish?


It perhaps does, because being foolish has become quite popular these days. But I am sure you did smile or laugh reading it. It has a meaning though.

Everybody must be aware of the popular show starring Jennifer Aniston,  Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer – known together as ‘FRIENDS‘. It ran for over 10 years and is still among the most popular shows for college-going-20-somethings . The thing to note about the show is not Matt LeBlanc machoism and not even Schwimmer’s Ross flirting with Aniston’s Rachel. It is about the most humorously bullied characters in the show – Ross.

As per a recent theory, FRIENDS actually triggered the downfall of the western civilization as the show encouraged stupidity over intellectualism. You watch any episode with Ross in it and you can see how his friends groan when he speaks work. Ross was one of the most educated and professionally successful individual in the group.

Learn more about the theory here.

It is an interesting premise. And we do see similar shades in India here. One show that celebrates stupidity and foolishness to a great extent is ‘The Kapil Sharma Show‘. The show had (it has run into some issues with one of the lead comedians) so much of popularity that there was a time when no movie could be released without the actors promoting it in the show.

Interestingly, in closed conversations, you would find people disparaging the standards of the jokes in the show but openly no one would say it. Some even termed it intellectually damaging for the poor content it was propagating.

Similarly for FRIENDS, you go to any college and check out how the students like it, the

guiding-customers-social-proof-stansberry-open-forum-displayanswer is going to be a firm yes. Even though, some may argue against the hipness of the show in closed doors.

This phenomenon to follow all the crowd is called ‘The Social Proof’*.

Many years back there was a purported episode of statues of Lord Ganesha drinking milk from… well a glass. This was seen at multiple locations in India. This is social proof of capillary effect to be misread and propagated as ‘Hindu Milk Miracle‘.

You look around businesses, you would there is a drift to “A” particular phenomenon whether it is technology or it is services or it is anything else.  No one wants to stand out of the herd.  If the leader is on acquisition spree, you would see all in line for that. If some companies are entering a new market, all will follow without realizing their capabilities and product-market fit. This, as you would realize runs across all ranks of the organisation – irrespective of the size.

Lower computing costs coupled with social proof of not getting missed out on, is the reason for so much of popularity of Artificial Intelligence in the world. At one point, it was the Internet boom. There was a website of everything. Now AI is the new electricity. Rightly so.

The Indian startup story hit a road bump as there were too many investors wanting to board the ship to glory in India. Due diligence was left lurking in the dark and money inflow was plain mindless.

Similarly, being on whatsapp is a real thing for people even if 99% of time is wasted on reading meaningless forwards. Same is the case with watching Television. However, can we imagine lives without them. One who shuns these products is looked upon as some kind of an outcast. This is social proof.

It is important to be aware of this, as you may be wasting time on something that does not add any value to you. Whether it is watching an intellectually damaging show like Friends or The Kapil Sharma Show; or it is watching news for some incident in a remote corner of the world that doesnt make sense in your life.

Ask yourself this question, does this help me or I am doing it under my compulsion to follow the rest of the people in my surrounding. 

Typically, the one who stands out of the crowd is the one who is worshiped later. Think about it!

*The Social Proof is carefully adopted from the book ‘The Art of Thinking Clearly’.

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