Arjun Badola

Non Conformist

Adam Grant’s book Originals has a chapter, “Finding The Faults in Defaults” where he suggests instead of accepting the default one should look for alternatives.

He starts by sharing a study where people who rejected using Internet Explorer (The default) and used Chrome or Firefox instead were better off in life.

Well, let’s not get into the debate of the validity of the study but one could certainly say that people who did not use Internet Explorer looked for better alternatives and did not conform to the norm.

Today same is happening between WhatsApp and Signal.

WhatsApp has become like an SMS app which cannot be removed from your phone just like how Internet Explorer is in your Windows laptop.

If one had to remove it they would need to deal with the feeling of being left out from many conversations, especially groups, and that is tough. The network effects moat (competitive edge of a business) is quite powerful concept which WhatsApp has developed over the years.

I have convinced most people to make the switch with whom I have conversation on daily basis but that is still not enough.

There are lots of people to whom I don’t talk regularly but text once a month to just check on them. The relation is just that a call would be too much and both of us would prefer texting over calling. (SMS could be a solution but in my phone I can’t send a SMS due to some glitch)

Yesterday night, I reconsidered my decision of giving up WhatsApp and thought of accepting the norm but my heart did not allow me to do so. I fear what power I would be giving to a giant data mining company - Facebook.

The problem is I can only make those people switch who are at my level of interaction like, friends, family, etc. But one can’t tell their boss or someone who is at senior level to not text them on WhatsApp that is just more difficult to do as you are adding one extra effort for someone to text you. If they prefer this channel of communication one would be forced.

WhatsApp is using your vulnerability of not being able to switch towards their advantage by making it necessary condition for using the app from May 15.

I still have some energy left to fight this giant in this battle of not giving out my personal data but I believe my tipping point is also coming closer day by day. But till then I will be a non-conformist and keep rejecting the default. The cause might look small today but it will develop my attitude towards future scenarios.

Just look at this and think over your decision again (link)

Note: I request all my contacts to switch to Signal for continuing our conversation. I know it might be little uncomfortable at the start but we can bring in the change.

For understanding the arguments to make the switch read this post: link

Update: Link