Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Malcolm Gladwell: All about Spaghetti Sauce and Dosas

As I listened and watched Malcolm Gladwell's video, the truth of what he was saying hit me with an almost blinding flash. I suddenly saw all those ubiquitous "dosawallas" in their small stalls inside large malls or with handcarts on the roadside selling dosas that ranged from the traditional masala, sada, mysore masala, mysore rava to the absolutely innovative Chinese dosa stuffed with noodles, chilly masala dosa ladened with chilly sauce, spring roll dosa, cheese masala dosa, chilly cheese delight, and on and on...

Now, I am certain none of these dosawallas have heard Gladwell speak or know about the history of Howard and the Spaghetti sauce. But they have tapped into the essential lessons on choice and on delivering customer delight--stuff that we pay lakhs to learn in MBA schools. They have not gone around asking customers what they want...they have offered varieties and created the "want"...they have probably observed the rising trend in people to visit exotic Chinese and Continental restaurants as the malls came up...

My hypothesis:

The smarter ones, maybe in a bid to survive, experimented and tried to club some of the dishes offered in these exotic outlets with the "dosas"...and the rest is history today. Wikipedia lists 27 varieties. If you know about more, please add...

Whenever I go out and want to eat a dosa, I usually opt for the "Spring Roll Dosa", a variety I would not have dreamed could come under the dosa umbrella a few years back.

Malcolm Gladwell, as always, helped me to see/realize the truth of something that I had taken so much for granted that I had not given it a second thought.

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