Baba ka dhaba and the curse of virality

I’m very happy for Baba Ka Dhaba and that its proprietor was able to get his small business back on track because of the power of social media virality. 

I’m also thinking about how much his business would have increased due to the viral effects, both in short and long term. I’m afraid, not very much. We saw a huge queue of enthusiastic foodies at his shop, but most of them had to return because they ran out of food pretty quickly. Why was that? Because there probably weren’t sufficient cash flows to acquire raw material, there wasn’t enough labour to meet the demand and there probably wasn’t a credit line either. 

Now people are trying to make other such dhabas viral, but those efforts likely won’t reach that critical mass. That’s the curse of virality. It becomes a victim of its own halo effect. Even if these effects do become viral, it will again lead back to a similar situation like Baba ka dhaba where there will be unmet consumer surplus. 

Social impact entrepreneurs must think of how to leverage the power of virality for entire underprivileged communities. Think about how one viral post can benefit 5000 babas ka dhabas. The demand will be spread out, supply will be moderated. It will lead to sustainable growth for their businesses.


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