Would you trade your time for durians?

A typical durian hunter at work.

Trading time for durians.

When I saw this news, I was frankly puzzled why anyone would do that.

Wait hours and sometimes from the wee hours of morning for something as arbitrary as a durian tree dropping its fruits, literally by random happenstance.

Majority of Singapore’s natural Durian trees are found in Yishun, as are cats and weird stories.

It is durian season now and I do enjoy a good golden Musang durian.

The creaminess, the sweetness, the pungent odor and if you bother refrigerating it for a bit, it literally tastes like ice cream.

OK, I get it. Durians are tasty for some, virtually poisonous to others.

But why wait and stand hours under a tree in a park awkwardly for durians to drop?

According to NParks, it is illegal to take the Durians even if they fall on the ground!

You can even buy higher grade Durians just around the corner from the park.

Isn’t there better things to do? Like mining dogecoin or doing a deep dive on Covid clusters spreading in Singapore?

Then it hit me.

People are willing to spend the time to do it because it is thrilling to do something illegal and can give them an instant dopamine kick when the Durian literally falls on their feet, as if the trees are rewarding them.

Call it the thrill of the chase or the dopamine effect, similar to how you secretly smile inside when someone likes your social media post.

So get this, if you really understand your customers, know what makes them tick and you will get maximum effect out it.

For example, instead of just selling Durians straight up, I purport that during Durian season, NParks sells $5 tickets to anyone on a first-come-first-serve basis to enter the parks to “wait” by the trees. They pick the tree and timeslots, and get to keep the loot (if it ever drops).

You regulate the crowds, prevent people from doing weird and potentially dangerous antics and the Durian lovers get what they want.

Seems like a win on all sides.

If you actually execute on this idea, give me some credits please! =)

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Durwin Ho is the CEO of StartupX, an innovation company that has just launched the HyperX Sustainability Hackcelerator. He also heads Startup Weekend Singapore.