[Originally posted by The Guardian.]
Are we tired of small and local? They’ve become part of everyday life, but most of us are probably followed around by the guilt that we’re not doing more to support businesses on our doorstep.
[Originally posted by the Arizona Daily Star.]
Can a state with so much unpopulated wilderness and no coastline be trendy? I confess: Before I became a part-time Tucson resident last year, I had a bit of that East Coast myopia that leads people who should know better to believe that disruption and sophistication are somehow limited to places that can see an ocean.
[Originally posted by The Economic Times.]
As we start the countdown toward another new year, trendspotters like me go into overdrive. We hold our ears to the ground to pick up what’s new and what’s next, to feel the cultural vibrations spreading around the world. I like to call them Future Headlines, and marketer Seth Godin calls them “idea viruses.” They’re a bit like epidemics: They happen only when large numbers of people are in close contact and things are changing fast.
[Originally posted by The Guardian.]
As every new year approaches, trendspotters go into hyperdrive. We look for what I like to call “future headlines” and marketer Seth Godin calls “idea viruses”—the new concepts that happen when large numbers of people are in close contact and things are changing fast. Today, that’s every single day.
[Originally posted on Forbes.com.]
In my last post, I wrote about how new concepts are being crowdsourced and incubated, new people are creating new business models, new apps are changing every facet of life, new places are hot, the old is being reinvented to be relevant again, and some simple pleasures are more pleasurable than ever—all the reasons that my work as a trendspotter didn’t ease up after I released a flurry of trend reports for 2015. Already my notebooks and digital files are filling up with ideas of what might be next. Not all of this will make it onto next year’s official lists, of course. Some may fizzle out while others go viral. But since transparency has long since gone from being a trend to being an incontrovertible fact of life, it’s time to share a little work in progress.
[Originally posted on Forbes.com.]
[This is the third in a series of six posts about trend sightings for 2015 and beyond.]
When many people hear the word trend, their mind first goes to fashion. Even though the cultural phenomena that I like to call Future Headlines exist in every discipline, many of us don’t recognize them as trends. A suddenly popular food, like the dressed-up biscuits that are the latest “it” meal, isn’t seen as a trend—it’s seen as the best thing ever. We believe new, of-the-moment business practices are simply the future, not ideas that come into vogue and fall back out.
[Originally posted on the Huffington Post.]
Some days I have blue eyes; other days they are green. On New Year’s Eve they were green … with envy and with thoughts of how to finally hit the jackpot. As my partner, Jim, and I sat at NoLa in SoNo eating a NoLa-inspired meal (translation: an oyster bar in South Norwalk, Conn., featuring the flavors of New Orleans), I found myself juggling dueling resolutions/pledges and craving the arrival of 2014. (Last year was a year from hell that included a recurring brain tumor and a ruptured appendix.)
My must-get-dones are inspired by clients and commitments:
The former makes sense if you consider my mounting recognition that I’m now in the middle phase of my life/work and that the happiest days were my entrepreneurial ones (my first job after college was a startup magazine), when I never understood the meaning of the word “no.” I zigged when others zagged, which made for a life rich in adventure and learning, but alas one with no serious cash, so I shall be toiling in the proverbial coal mines until the day I die unless I have my next big eureka and stick with it long enough to enjoy a Lotto-style payout.
The latter makes sense if you share my belief that our nation’s biggest cities (New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, for sure) are probably not where one is going to mine gold; this trio is already Disney in terms of the cost of entry. I’m much more wowed by the potential of being awesome in, say, Milwaukee, Tucson or Tulsa. (Full disclosure: Jim and I have bet the farm, our now-renovated horse farm, on the outskirts of Tanque Verde, Tucson, so I have a lot to gain in persuading Old Pueblo to embrace economic development, something it has reportedly shunned for decades, despite agencies and organizations created to bring innovation and investment to southwestern Arizona.)
But enough about us. And anyway, you will discover that despite my verve for entrepreneurship, I’m oftentimes just plain too early to the party: Proof positive is that I was truly first up with focus groups in cyberspace, with a company known as Cyber Dialogue (or American Dialogue), once the exclusive market research venue on America Online. Then there was Career Insights, a campus magazine for which I was but a lesser founder, but it too disappeared, replaced by dozens of other smart ways to connect graduates to jobs. Even my insider’s guides to employers, co-authored with Ivy League friends back in the 1980s, seem like rotary-dial phones when you contrast what we wrote, and what was published 18 months later, with the real-time updates on Vault and Glassdoor.
One thing that really jolted me as the new year began its debut was a new client (and friend) following her entrepreneurial heart. Brooke Solis, founder of JustGoGirl, was a Yale-educated attorney on the partner track in a Silicon Valley law firm when she sprung her problem, literally, after she carried a set of twins. The fitness nut has now not only named that problem—“athletic leaks”—but also solved it with the smartest, smallest incontinence pad created expressly for female athletes. Like all type A personalities, as her bio says, she didn’t just sit on the sidelines and moan; she assembled a team to create the perfect pad for athletic and yoga-pant-wearing athletes like herself. Most people with this challenge would hide it, but here’s my friend and client brokering lemonade from the lemons life dished her.
Today Brooke, and her husband, Ren, and their five kids, call Austin, Texas (the next entrepreneurial mecca if ever there was one, after Silicon Valley), home. There, in addition to founding her own startup (which I expect will have people talking and jumping this year), she practices law by representing other startups.
I recently read that “entrepreneurship is the new American (and global) dream” on the website for YFS Magazine (“Young, Fabulous & Self-employed”). I think it’s a real truism, as is one of my predictions (one of my other entrepreneurial labels is trendspotter) from half a dozen years back that is more true today than ever: “Local is the new global.” When you partner them up, you begin to understand why young people aspire to be like Brooke Solis and marry their passions with their careers.
It made me sad, then twitchy, then I totally understood when a group of awesome millennials told me point-blank they would never want my career—not this corporate career filled with tradeoffs—but I do wonder if they would have wanted the career path I started down, the one filled with startups, failures, disappointments, learning and hard knocks that ultimately propelled me to make safer choices and do the right thing: Pick healthcare benefits and consistency and upward mobility, even if the rewards (big stakes) get wiped down when you give away the treacherous risks.
So, yes, I was green-eyed on New Year’s Eve but very proud of all the new entrepreneurs I know, all the smart people who are building things and all the new things I could potentially build. Maybe this time I’ll do it more cautiously, carefully and systematically. For now, I’ll start by working on helping my startup clients and on our little Airbnb adventure.
For 2014, green is my new blue—an old trend recast all about me.
Happy New Year from Havas PR North America, which is forecasting 12 months filled with tinkering and hacking. As people struggle to deal with a whole stack of problems—from economic woes to environmental crises—somewhere out there, some smart people will be tinkering quietly with each one or boldly challenging the status quo. That from our agency’s annual trends report, available by download at us.havaspr.com. Among Havas PR’s other predictions are “the millennial habit of toiling whenever and wherever,” as agency CEO Marian Salzman told The Star-Ledger on New Year’s Day. “The idea that the working day must correlate with a morning-to-evening schedule will be less of a certainty.… Instead, expect employees to log hours ‘when it’s good for them and the business.’”