Status: what drives us

How important is status-seeking?

Kunal Shah is the founder of CRED, a fintech company in India that’s raised over $225mn. Previously, he started and sold Freecharge, one of the few fintech companies in India with a successful exit.

He’s a philosophy graduate by education and today probably more people know him for his insights into human behavior and philosophy than for being a founder of two famous startups.

His fundamental belief is that we’re driven primarily by status and even though the idea sounds simple, it has many interesting consequences for society, economy, and individual satisfaction.

What we talk about

0:05 – Introduction
2:04 – What is status and how does it drive human motivation?
11:54 – The role of status in shaping societies
16:21 – Bootstrapping status
18:57 – Why do we want to shape the society in our image?
24:54 – Seeking status to seek immortality
30:00 – Does status inequality exist in societies?
39:53 – Competence vs being popular
42:39 – High trust vs low trust societies and the correlation of status with wealth
54:09 – How to scale trust in low trust societies
1:00:06 – If you had the power to change India as a country, what would you do?
1:07:20 – What factors do you attribute to your success with raising the money vs the other entrepreneurs?
1:11:24 – Do the negative messages/comments on social media impact you psychologically?
1:12:54 – What is CRED and why did you build it?
1:18:47 – How did you justify making a huge investment in IPL ads? And how did this play out?


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