When a ‘Rich’ Country Mistakes Sonu Sood for Nigam and Snapdeal for Snapchat & the Underlying Ego Issues

India is a unique country. Truly so, for more than one reason. One of the things striking out right now is the huge population. While we, the citizens of this country, are the first ones to point out all the flaws and the cons of mammoth size, what is that one advantage of having enormous population? No, it’s not diversity. Let me give you a hint. It has something to do with the voice. Yes, you guessed it right. With the size like this, it becomes easy to create a buzz. And sometimes people fall prey to the nation-wide media frenzy created over petty news. The most recent one is the Snapchat fiasco. There are many angles to the story.

The story unfolds with two main protagonists, the Snap Inc. CEO Evan Spiegel and a former employee Pompliano. The former employee, who was fired from the company after working for three weeks, has alleged that the CEO did not want to expand to poor countries like India and Spain and remarked that the application was made only for the rich. Now, first things first. This is an allegation of a disgruntled employee who has been forced out of a company and there are no proofs to his allegations. It may entirely be an act of figment, who knows. For what it is, the story has truly achieved its purpose. The nation of easily offended people has taken offense over the alleged remark, yet again. And thus, in an act to retaliate, people have posted lewd comments on the app store, downgraded and uninstalled it within no time of the news being surfaced on the social media. This is done without verifying the efficacy of the story. This is what voice combined with number does to you. This is one of the reasons that the world is looking up to us. In my opinion, it’s not looking up with reverence rather a forced fear due to the number strength which neither of us can actually do anything about. My next point is about the comment itself. Let us for a moment assume that the rich CEO of the billion dollar company did say that. Okay, so he called us poor. But isn’t that actually true? We are a nation with 22% of the population still living below the poverty line that is 270 million people. World Bank remarked that it is by far the largest country with that many people living in poverty. It is abject poverty we are talking about, where people are finding difficulty meeting ends meet on a daily basis. But calling a spade spade is for ignorants. We don’t take such remarks lightly. Hence, the uproar you see on social media. It’s our right to voice our opinion and we’ll do so at the earliest, be it verified correct or not. Plus, nobody paid heed to the fact that this unfateful remark was made way back in 2015, which has suddenly gained all the media attention. All because of the lawsuit filed.  But we got to be the first one to write about it and post it on Facebook and twitter.

Second, let’s look at the rationale that poor fella might have for making such a remark. Ok, not monetarily poor, but given the state of affair, you got to cut him some slack. However brutal and undiplomatic the remark be, it has some grain of logic to it. The application itself is based on the economics of rich people, who have the ability and power to spend on the advertisements. Since the application is free for download to all, the source of revenue is these people who the company and its advertisers want to catch hold of. They are what can get the company going.  In simple words, the more the money you have more buying power you have and more attractive you are to the advertisers.  Thus, I see nothing wrong in making an application whose primary source of revenue is the filthy rich people. Snap Inc., we are grateful to you for making the application free download and accessible to all of us, but let us get the facts right, we are not the target audience. And there is perfect sense in that, because that’s how you define your business model. Because people somewhere fail to see the business logic and take offense is just plain sad.

SnapdealThe trouble with people who get easily offended is that they keep finding reasons to create uproar. Sometimes, for the lack of them, they create their own. This is what defines our nation right now. So much was the need to create news out of the Snapchat comment that people unaware of the application, those who had never used it took the pains to install and then uninstall it. It gets worse when you mistake another company just because they share some initial letters. Poor Snapdeal, you have been at the facing end for many times now. All those billions spent on advertising the red box truly gone wrong now. When people can’t differentiate between Snapchat and Snapdeal, you really got to think, are you achieving what you were aiming for. I wonder what the investors are feeling about all their money spent wrong.  Then there is the Sonu Nigam, Sonu Sood debacle that happened. For those unaware, Sonu Nigam tweeted about the nuisance being created due to the Azaan every morning in his locality and the forced religion by some. While religious cults took out their swords, issued fatwas, an innocent had to pay for the collateral damage. Sonu Sood, an innocent actor, who the rest of population would have forgotten by now, faced the ire when people started the hashtag campaign of boycott sonu, confusing him for Nigam. That’s publicity in disguise I would say. At least you are back in limelight again, lucky fella. The fact remains, we are a nation carrying our egos up our sleeves, ready to take offense and beat the lives out of anybody and everybody, for the pretext of having an opinion. So much a country which is home to yoga and meditation.

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