Modern Molinism

Quick Read: Want a sure shot ticket down a rabbit hole? Your bet: Choice Design. So much for free will. 

Morioka Shoten Ginza is a book store in Tokyo where you wouldn’t have a problem with deciding which book to buy.


Because in any given week it sells copies of a single title. Each title is displayed for six days in a row—Tuesday to Sunday—and then swapped out for a new book.

Yoshiyuki Morioka – the founder of this “single room with a single book” concept believes that focusing on a single book would help foster a deeper relationship between a book and its reader and drive up the pleasure of reading to a whole new level.

Additionally, every evening an event is organised to discuss the book and connect its author with readers, while pieces of art that relate to the book are displayed around the store for the readers to soak in and enjoy.


(Morioka Shoten bookstore: Pic Source)

Unsurprisingly this approach of ‘choice design’ combats decision fatigue and stifles crippling indecision that customers tend to face in a conventional book store set up – online or offline.

Result: An invisible hand that influences its customers’ free will, subtly leading them from a cursory browsing mindset to that of a deeper meaningful engagement leading to purchase.

One customer at a time. And one book title at a time

According to Morioka, the store has sold more than 2,000 works since it opened last year and attracted numerous visitors from all over the world. (source)

Meanwhile at the other end of choice spectrum 

A unique adventure beckons you with the promise of debilitating you with mind boggling levels of choice at every turn of the journey.

Sample this.

You’re sitting alone in your apartment minding your own business when, out of nowhere, someone bursts through your front door. So what do you do? 


(Source: Clickventures)

So begins your adventure that starts off on a simple note.

But even before you realise, you will soon find yourself deep down a rabbit hole staring into frustrating levels of complexity and a ridiculous set of choices being thrown at you at each turn.

And surprisingly you find it addictive!

Clickventures, as they’re called, are exercises in absurdist escalation.

Despite the apparent air of triviality around them, each clickventure is an evil design experiment that lies at the intersection of comedy, interactive fiction, game design and behavioural research.

No wonder, brands are not far behind in tapping into this space.

For e.g, Old Spice has created a wild and wacky choose-your-own-adventure social experience on Instagram with Wieden + Kennedy.

The more you click, the further you go and the more wackiness you can experience. Exactly like in the Clickventures. Try out few of them here and see who wins.

Your “free” will? 

A basic tenet of Molinism is that in addition to knowing everything that will happen, God also knows what His creatures would freely choose if placed in any circumstance.

It’s essentially a doctrine which attempts to reconcile the providence of God with human free will.

Molinism is perhaps still going strong in the 21st century. It’s just that these molinists go by a slightly different name today.

And they subscribe to a doctrine that attempts to reconcile the providence of an invisible hand (also known as the ‘choice designer’) with human free will.

Now, did I just call marketers, the modern day molinists?

(Featured Image: Quote from the cult movie The Matrix)

The Job Hunt – Part 2/3

Check out my previous post for the part 1 of this series.

For many job openings, getting the foot into the door – getting recruited – tends to be the most tricky part. Obviously different companies have different ways of going about this. 3 latest trends that I see playing out in the job hunt marketplace:

  • Recruitment by Resonance.
  • Recruitment by Challenge.
  • Recruitment by Algorithm.

This post shall be on the second trend.

Recruitment By Challenge

The Internet has gifted a phenomenal reach for every organization around the world irrespective of its its actual physical presence. Expanded Reach –  not just in terms of the channels for selling their wares but also in terms of an Expanded Access to a massive global talent pool. Obviously this means that organizations can cast their nets wide and far while recruiting for potential hires.

For them, a  Potential Fit is defined as a person who is ‘man’ enough to meet a ‘challenge’ and thereby stand apart from the other bunch of applicants.This is what I call as ‘Recruitment by Challenge’ – throw a challenge at them, and pick the one who addresses it the best. While the trend per se is not particularly a new one, it has now started to garner a mainstream acceptance as a viable recruitment tool for organizations across sectors and borders.

Yes –  challenge driven recruitment practices have been very common with software companies for getting coders of real mettle. But these days even international Intelligence agencies have jumped onto the bandwagon.

For example, the British Intelligence Agency GCHQ, which works in partnership with MI5 and MI6 have recruited for potential ‘spies’ by throwing an open challenge and inviting aspirants to crack a code in 2011. The initiative was called as ‘Behind The Code’ and has generated a global interest.

When Wieden + Kennedy needs a Social Strategist to work on Old Spice, what do they do? They throw 10 challenges and ask applicants to revert within 5 days. Read about all the 10 challenges here.

As L Bhat (a renowned blogger) points out in his blogpost:

The actual job description is not very different from a ‘regular‘ Social Strategist. But the sheer novelty of this approach sends in a lot of messages: (a) it is a high profile job since the expectations will be very high for Old Spice and W+K given the track record; hence anything ‘regular’ will not suffice (b) blogs and media across the world are writing about this novel approach; that’s how buzz is created (c) it gives a cool image to the agency as a place to work.

In fact even for their planning placements that they had opened in Oct 2012, W+K have thrown a gauntlet at the applicants by way of a set of 4 questions that need to be answered within a month – by Nov 25th 2012.

And thus starts a long list of organizations that have begun downplaying resumes and references in favor of puzzles and challenges that have proved the ability to attract brilliant people.

Did you come across any such challenging/interesting recruitment drives of late?