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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Suitable Girl- III : Attributes and Decision-making

Last evening, Peter was explaining attributes of a product to the MGT 670(Marketing Management) class and how it can influence the decisions of consumers. He cited the example of himself some twenty years ago when he was "a young, wild chap from Indiana", fresh out of college who had just arrived in Boston to work as a professor. He came across another young professor named HK who was American-Chinese and they decided to share an apartment.

Being the "young, wild chaps" they were, they dated around quite a lot. Sometimes they went by themselves, and sometimes they double-dated. However, every Friday or Saturday evening, they would meet in the apartment after their respective dates and compare notes. Peter would ask "So HK, how was the girl A?" And the answer could be: "Oh man, she was a real stunner!" Now 'stunner' meant someone who walks into a pub and turns the heads of men to obtuse angles.

The following week, HK dated some other girl named B say, Peter would ask the same question to HK when he got back, and he would probably say: "She was not that good looking, but boy was she fun !" Peter might then ask, "What about the girl last week? Wasn't she fun?" HK: "Oh no- she looked good all right, but she was a real dodo!"

The week after that HK might have gone out with girl C who was decently good looking, was fun and highly intelligent. Then somehow HK discovered that the good looking dodo had a father who owned like half of Massachusetts.

Now, HK had to decide which girl to get committed to. Given the weightage he attached to each of the attributes, it is needless to say who the bride was in the wedding a year later where Peter was the best man.



Now, if A was into attributes marketing, she could have articulated the fact that she was gorgeous and her father was a wealthy man who could have helped HK with his career ahead or something like that. A's attributes of "gorgeous looks" and "wealth" would forever hold true ,id est, HK would remember her for that. Nevertheless, you or I or he would focus on the attributes that appeal to the individual taste/requirement the most. It's like Volvo advertising its "safety" when you are out there to buy a car or BMW emphasizing on the style quotient even though its mileage is Subhan-allah.

In a separate incident, a previous student of Peter had issues trying to decide which systems to buy for her firm where there were three RFPs. The accounting department obviously wanted something with good capacity to deal with realms of data, the Finance Department stressed on the price, the Engineers wanted speed and Operations wanted reliability. And when it was time to decide what weightage to give to what attribute- all hell broke loose. Finally, it was resolved by sticking to a well known brand name, even though it was not the optimum decision in every way. But her rationale was: "Hell, no one ever got fired for choosing to buy IBM !"

Now, all the guys and gals out there, still wondering what/whom to choose, get your pen and paper out and good luck !

24 comments:

dolby said...

i did it already.. not just i had attribute i also came up with universal law of gravitation for relation... alas i don't know where it is now.. but well i can recollect and get bck if u want... anyway it doesn't matter now for me bcos i don't think this would work for all!

Aparna Kar said...

:) Nothing ever does.. Like I said how brand name swept the floor in case of a former student. But I really appreciate some of your empirical ideas in your blog. This, however, is a very common way of trying to resolve things and without any IPR I guess- mostly for good humor I believe :)

zoxcleb said...

"gorgeous looks" and "wealth" would forever hold true

how untrue....

i like the sound of the lecture tho... wonder if i shud do an mba now.

Aparna Kar said...

@zoxcleb
Not as a function of time though. We know looks wither and wealth diminishes. I was referring to her attributes. Your comment reminded me of the forward How to marry a millionaire Then again, it's individual taste. Don't tell me gals/guys don't fall for merely good looks. Though how long it's going to last (depreciation rate) depends solely on the asset you are going to acquire. Then again, there are both monetary and non-monetary costs and benefits :D
Who said life is simple? :P

zoxcleb said...

wow... never heard anyone describe something so nice in such a technical fashion. reminds me of a forward on how "dense" a woman is.... :-P

and yes, there is always the opportunity cost involved... but one must always be aware of the dominant strategy :-D

Aparna Kar said...

@zoxcleb
Women have forever let men bask in their belief of superior intelligence, so that when they are befooled by the fairer sex, they find it difficult to believe it's true :D

zoxcleb said...

yeah women find it hard to believe its true that they are the smarter sex... so men take advantage of that. :-P

Aparna Kar said...

@zoxcleb
Oh no ! We know. We just don't let you know that we know :P

zoxcleb said...

you think you know, and hence feel that you think we dont know that you know. but in actuality, you dont know that you cud know, but we know that you dont know.
now when you know that you know, thats when we will know that its not all in the knowing, but in the doing :-D

Aparna Kar said...

we don't think that we know, we know that we know but you don't think that we know what we can know and hence think that we think we know. In absolute terms, we know the actuality. And only you who do not know think it's not all in the knowing. Coz effectively you think doing is knowing.. well... we know better :)

dolby said...

so whts the verdict now?

Aparna Kar said...

@dolby
And the battle continues...

Bubbles of FireWhiskey said...

i should have tried this before i met tanuj... :( i wish this lecture of yours had happened in my college a year back... :P (lolz dnt tell him i said that!!!)

Rizu said...

Here are the attributes I would follow for the girl I would settle down. Call it the "The Perfect Ten":

1. Looks(25%)
2. Intelligence/Wit/Intellectual Heights(25%)
3. Sex Appeal(20%)
4. Hidden/Exhibited Talents(15%)
5. Humor(10%)
6. Family Background(10%)
7. Modesty(5%)
8. Her Earnings as a professional(5%)
9. Eccentricity(-5%)
10. Dominance(-10%)

Here are my weighted averages on several attributes. Can others post their atts please?

Sam said...

ah!! i dunno... i'll rely on my instinct... i trust its leading me the right way!!!

candid diary said...

HK was in favor of fun and intelligence. He probably manipulated the weightages for the attributes heavily in favor of C. What is the rationale for these weightages?
Btw, HK had different options open before him. About options you may play door game for little fun though you may not agree with the theory of John Tierney.

Aparna Kar said...

@candid diary
You had me there! By the time I realized that I was wasting my clicks on opening the shrinking doors, I had wasted half of my turns! Predictably irrational -how true! But the premises were stated in a way that made you believe that letting the other doors shrink was an opportunity cost! Fortunately , in real life, I follow an entirely different philosophy now. I focus on my priorities only and I have seen that it helps me streamline my efforts and have a better impact on things I want to. Baaki sob chulor dorey jaak. (Excuse my French)

Aparna Kar said...

@sam
Aha! The wisest thing to do ...sometimes:D

Aparna Kar said...

@rizu
Intelligent and not eccentric?
Well established family background, good -looking, professionally successful(read: high earnings) and not dominating , even though apparently modest? Did you place a customized order to God to make such a woman for you?
The rose comes with the thorns my dear friend, and if you are wise , you'll appreciate both. Or learn to do so eventually.

Aparna Kar said...

@bubbles
na.. bolbo na.. Won't say ;)
But, like candid says, nothing guarantees that you wouldn't have manipulated the weightages for the attributes heavily in favor of Tanuj :)

saikat said...

decision making eh...my hostel life taught me that...have a dekho...

sleep for 5 more mins for a class at 9 am or go and grab breakfast (thing to be noted the time this decision is being contemplated upon is 8:53 am according to my watch) :P

go for a movie during the weekdays or save money for the weekend blast..end result do both and incraese your liabilities on the homefront

play volleyball or grab the constantly ringing phone when she is on the other end

in work front..whether to sleep during the first phase of the meetongs or the last phase...whatever u do...u dont miss anything...

well there are loads of other examples :D ....life is a decision tree...the more decisions you make..the higher u climb....but intelligent ppl dont take any decisiosn...they just shake the tree and eat the fallen fruits :D

ciao..

Da Rodent said...

Hmm.. putting education to good use ;)

Munmun said...

LOL! That's interesting! :D

backpakker said...

good one..sometimes decision making can be as simple as that :)
-lakshmi