Google's Chaitanya Chunduri on 'Modern Molinism'

By Chaitanya Chunduri , Google, Mumbai | In Marketing | May 02, 2016
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Are marketers 'modern day molinists', asks Google India's Chaitanya Chunduri.

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


Chaitanya Chunduri

Morioka Shoten bookstore

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 of the week 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.

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.

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?

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

Grab from

Quote from the cult movie The Matrix

The more you click, the further you go and the more wackiness you can experience. Exactly like in the case of 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?

(The author is principal account manager, FMCG vertical, Google India. He blogs at

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