underpromise, overdeliver

Abhishek Ramakrishnan
4 min readOct 18, 2020


Photo by Amy Hirschi on Unsplash

This story (just like every other story) is driven by my everyday experiences. I will try to cut my usual BS as far as possible so that we could cover the stories in vivid detail.

story #1 online shopping

Photo by Paul Felberbauer on Unsplash

This story is directly based on Flipkart — an online shopping website in India that started out selling books and now they sell cars and everything in-between. It is insane but they have been keeping up with the philosophy of “underpromising & overdelivering” since their inception. I’m not trying to suck up to them by any means but they do deliver as promised. I love how they promise delivery within 6 days and ship it to my door-step within 2. I know, the keyword here is ‘within’ but you have to admit the fact that it does make you (or anybody as a matter of fact) happy. I understand Amazon also delivers but in my personal experience — Flipkart nails it.

Side NoteI do understand the fact that this is not unique to this online shopping website but this is something I personally experienced and this vendor (for the most part,) never failed to deliver.

Please don’t expect them to deliver a cross-over within two days.

story #2 Porsche & their numbers

Porsche has a history of under-rating their numbers for a very long time. You might be wondering — ‘Why would someone need something lesser when it can clearly do better?’. The answer is — PR. Press people go nuts whenever the promised is not deliveredeven when it is better. That is what Porsche and some other car manufacturers do. To take an example of a statistic, every sports car’s performance is determined by its 0–60 mph or 0–100 km/h time (the time taken for the car to reach 60 mph or 100 km/h from 0).

Photo by Jake Noren on Unsplash | not the C8

The Corvette C8 promised a 2.9 s 0–100 km/h but delivered around 3.5 s after a number of runs by one of the car review channels on YouTube. This is the exact opposite of what Porsche does. Most automakers commit the same mistake while calculating the mileage in economy cars. Manufacturers consider only the best-case scenarios during the calculation. It's not wrong by any means since their product is totally capable of achieving that but that is not the case all the time.

Photo by Martin Katler on Unsplash

Porsche plays this game very differently. They take an average of all scenarios and publish those numbers. The press calls those numbers as ‘underrated’ because that is what it is. This is what makes them stand out from the rest of the crowd.

Side Notemany other manufacturers also follow this practice. I chose Porsche because they are my favourite of that bunch.

(edit BMW pulled off the same trick with the new M440i and if you are wondering why BMW made it look like the way it does, read my story on negative popularity)

If you have ever worked on a schedule for a client or under a manager, you should understand how this concept works. If you haven’t, this is how a manager gets the work done — The manager promises the client a schedule and always subtracts at least 20 days from the date of delivery when offered to the team. This is to compensate for any kind of uncertainties that may prevent the delivery from missing the promised schedule.

Worst case scenario — delivery on-schedule

Best case scenario — faster delivery (than promised)

Sounds familiar?

Because uncertainties happen.

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