Quizzing in Email: An Innovation in the Inbox (Part 1)

Quizzes and Me

I love quizzes. Being able to answer a question creates an inner sense of joy and triumph. My earliest memory of experiencing this thrill was as a 10-year-old at Poona Club. I remember being asked a question about the profession of an individual whose name I cannot now recollect. I correctly answered (more like guessed), “Dancing.” It was right! I won a cash prize. I then had the option of answering a second question. If I guessed right, I could double my winnings. If I guessed wrong, I would lose what I won. Or I could choose to walk away with the cash – which is what I did. I figured the odds of me guessing correctly twice in a row were quite slim!

As a school-going kid, I remember listening to Bournvita Quiz Contest which was an inter-school quiz contest broadcast on radio every Sunday. I would then buy their annual book which had all the questions (and answers). I memorised many of them. I would ask my friends to ask me a question at random and more often than not I answered correctly. In the ninth standard at school, I was part of the four-member team that participated in the inter-school Nehru Science Centre quiz. One of the happiest moments of my childhood was winning the trophy – and getting a small segment shown on Doordarshan’s Marathi News (called Batmya).

In IIT, I realized there were many better quizzers than me! So, as hostel and Institute Literary Secretary, I switched to conducting quizzes. The ones I liked the most were the specialized ones – on PG Wodehouse and Sherlock Holmes. The esoteric knowledge that the winners had never ceased to amaze me!

Among my childhood memories is listening to BBC Mastermind on radio. (I used to watch the TV version later on.) The questions were tough – and I was happy if I managed to answer two or three questions before the participants. My “General Knowledge” had a long way to go. In India, a program that did very well in India was Siddharth Basu’s Quiz Time, an inter-collegiate contest broadcast on TV. In the early 2000s, I was captivated by KBC (Kaun Banega Crorepati, an Indian adaptation of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?”). Watching “Jeopardy” reruns during the early pandemic months was also something I enjoyed.

Every once in a while, I will come across a quiz and I am willing to be challenged. There is something about the format which instantly attracts, challenges, educates, and tests. In schools and colleges, tests are called “quizzes”. It is a word that is never far away from even our adult lives – books, websites and apps abound.

As I was thinking of interesting AMP use cases, I thought of quizzes. None of us has seen a quiz in an email because emails have not been interactive. Clicking through to a landing page and then answering questions creates inertia and we just let the moment pass. Remembering to open an app daily and participate leaves quizzing to the most passionate. I asked myself: what if we combined the power of AMP in email with the attraction of quizzing? Imagine getting a few questions daily in the inbox and answering them – all in a matter of seconds. Could it bring back the excitement we all felt as casual quizzers in the early years of our lives?

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.

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