Trendwatching is not just about tracking trends that have already permeated people's minds but rather about identifying them in their infancy and building possible future scenarios. Yaroslava Antipina. Jmind
Netflix switched from DVD to streaming in time and is now the leader among streaming services. And the startup Clubhouse caught everyone's eye at the beginning of the year but rather quickly ceased to be a trend.
August 1, 2003, and February 4, 2004. What do these dates have in common? The social network MySpace was founded in 2003 and Facebook in 2004.
Of course, it's interesting to speculate about why MySpace failed and Mark Zuckerberg didn't. But I will focus on trends: what to do to spot them in time and how to track them. As we understand from the MySpace and Facebook examples, you don't have to be first. The most important thing is to show up on time. This is what trendwatching teaches.
Trendwatching is not just about tracking trends that have already permeated people's minds but rather about identifying them in their infancy and building possible future scenarios.
Those who do this can be compared to predictors, only more effective. They analyze all the available information and conditions for the development of a trend to see if it fits into the existing picture of the world and how it will affect consumers.
The first advantage for a business that comes to mind is staying on track with new business ideas and updating those already out there.
You will also be able to foresee the threats and risks that a particular trend poses to your company, and take action in time to avoid them.
A good example is Netflix. The company, which started as a subscription DVD rental service, is now the leader among streaming services and has a huge base of its own content. They switched from DVDs to streaming just in time.
A bad example is Blockbuster. In 2000, Netflix offered to buy Blockbuster's 49% stake for $50 million. The offer was rejected and for nothing. By mid-April of this year, Netflix had a market capitalization of $241.25 billion.
That's why businesses need to test themselves by answering a simple question from time to time: If I am successful here today, will I be successful here tomorrow?
Trendwatching has a formula. It's one where changing some variables doesn't affect the outcome. In this formula, you combine what helps you not to miss opportunities and stay among those who are not just keeping up with the times, but ahead of them.
For example, my trendwatching formula is like this:
To consume targeted information
I have a clear understanding of what I need to read, listen to, watch, and on what resources. We are drowning in information. Reading aimlessly will not only fail to develop your intuition, but will also clog your brain.
Yes, I'm the kind of person who likes different reports. These can be financial reports from companies in industries, global economic reports, forecasts, and so on. At JMind, we also constantly analyze the markets where our clients work.
It develops. Yes, I study so much information that over time I begin to see patterns. In the language of intuition, it's easier to call it "feeling." For me, it manifests as a momentary insight. Imagine a situation where you pat yourself on the forehead and say, "That's what it is!" That's how my intuition works.
I'm subscribed to a lot of people I'm interested in on LinkedIn. I occasionally use Twitter. I have practice. Suppose I watch a Bloomberg Technology show or Bloomberg Businessweek magazine or other favorite resources, and a person from there interests me. In that case, I go straight to LinkedIn and subscribe to them. As a rule, company speakers are active on social networks. This way, I get information directly, without the "interference" of the media.
The item looks strange on such a list, but still, I am constantly learning. It allows my brain to develop actively. Developed brain ⟶ fast information processing ⟶ "pat on my forehead" from intuition.
I understand that I have to get a holistic picture of the world, so I study data from a variety of fields. This is economics, politics, often philosophy, business, sociology.
I like to walk around with a cup of coffee and observe people. In my head, I try to model their needs, to understand what's important to them now, at home, at work. You can, of course, think about people without walking. But I need to see them and feel them.
"That's a very interesting question," I would say on the air. They don't usually say it to compliment you, but to take a pause and have a few seconds to think.
I don't have a formula for how to check if it's trending. But I will give you an example: Clubhouse, which made a splash at the beginning of the year. Everyone wanted invitations, they were sold out, and the world was once again divided into iOS and Android.
"It's a trend!" they shouted at the top of their voices from every corner.
"It'll succeed," I was sure. After all, everything made sense: quarantine, limited communication, fatigue from the usual social networks, and an acute demand for new ones, the feeling that you belonged to a certain caste of the chosen ones.
And Clubhouse would have succeeded if it had stuck to the valuable things that users found in it. I can't say that having an Android version or any of the features we're used to like text messaging, would have saved the day. In the pursuit of mass appeal, the audio startup has gone from a trend to hype.
Will "voice" become a trend? Well, it became a trend a long time ago. There are more and more podcasts, and the fact that it's not very developed here doesn't mean that it's not a trend.
We'll get to the voice yet, even if right now you start tapping on the screen loudly and saying, "I'll never listen to these podcasts or audio programs!"
Especially given the temporary collapse of Clubhouse. That said, I understand that they have a chance, but only if they agree to maintain their exclusivity. Podcasts are going strong in the world. Spotify's business model relies on the fact that podcasts can be monetized, global leaders and stars are actively creating quality programming. Media is also not just creating podcasts, but starting to monetize them. And, of course, the hands-free lifestyle is becoming more and more relevant.
There are resources that will help you build some kind of picture of the world if you dive into them regularly. That way, you can gradually track trends correctly yourself:
Future Today Institute publishes annual Tech Trends Reports.
International Monetary Fund — World Economic Outlook reports on global economic forecasts.
Bloomberg Studio 1.0 — interviews with leaders from various industries. You can also get them from Bloomberg: Bloomberg Technology, Bloomberg Wall Street.
The Economist is probably the best media outlet about the economy.
Foreign Affairs is about geopolitics and international relations.
The Information — insider media about IT. You do not necessarily have to work in IT because this content gives you an understanding of which companies are emerging and which of them are attracting investment, and therefore could become a new trend.
On LinkedIn, I occasionally write about trends and business opportunities.
I don't recommend trend books. When the book comes out in print, the trends will have already changed.
Relevant articles, interviews, technical and product news
As the market is expanding rapidly, we have decided to research 50 popular GCC-based e-commerce platforms with web traffic starting at 50K (as of August 2021) to understand their functionality and competitive advantages in the industry.How are e-commerce platforms competing in GCC?
More integrated, personalized and intuitive purchasing experiences using omnichannel ecosystems as well as innovative approaches and technologies facilitate consumers to engage more in the buying journey and benefit from it.Future trends disrupting global e-commerce
While considering the global context of COVID-19 pandemic, e-commerce has strengthened its position as the new norm in the MENA region while creating various opportunities in this fast-growing market.How e-commerce is shaping the world