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jerryking : trend_spotting   12

Quitting to set up on your own is risky and rewarding
December 30, 2019 | | Financial Times | by Lucie Greene.

(JCK: GO AHEAD-JUMP! ☑ February 26, 1996 | FORBES ASAP | by Andy Kessler.")
21st._century  entrepreneur  entrepreneurship  forecasting  founders  Los_Angeles  solo  trends  trend_spotting  women 
7 weeks ago by jerryking
The biggest gender divide is in mathematics
September 5, 2019 | | Financial Times| by Carola Hoyos.

Numeracy is vital for everyone. But according to Alain Dehaze, chief executive of Adecco, the world’s biggest recruiting company, the most valuable mathematical skills in a more automated future, especially for those people who can also communicate them to generalists, are the ability to spot patterns; to problem solve logically; and to work with statistics, probability and large data sets to see into the future.
biases  Communicating_&_Connecting  culture  gender_gap  generalists  girls  high_schools  massive_data_sets  mathematics  numeracy  parenting  pattern_recognition  probability  problem_solving  statistics  trend_spotting  women 
september 2019 by jerryking
Spy tactics can spot consumer trends
MARCH 22, 2016 | Financial Times | John Reed.
Israel’s military spies are skilled at sifting through large amounts of information — emails, phone calls, location data — to find the proverbial needle in a haystack: a suspicious event or anomalous pattern that could be the warning of a security threat.....So it is no surprise that many companies ask Israeli start-ups for help in data analysis. The start-ups, often founded by former military intelligence officers, are using the methods of crunching data deployed in spycraft to help commercial clients. These might range from businesses tracking customer behaviour to financial institutions trying to root out online fraud......Mamram is the Israel Defense Forces’ elite computing unit.
analytics  consumer_behavior  cyber_security  data  e-mail  haystacks  hedge_funds  IDF  insights  intelligence_analysts  Israel  Israeli  Mamram  maritime  massive_data_sets  security_&_intelligence  shipping  spycraft  start_ups  tracking  traffic_analysis  trends  trend_spotting 
april 2019 by jerryking
Italian luxury group Zegna tailors its cloth to suit millennials
NOVEMBER 19, 2017 | FT | by Rachel Sanderson in Milan.

Casual wear has become the fastest-growing luxury segment as tech savvy consumers want a high-end iteration of the “hoodie and sneakers look” favoured by tech entrepreneurs from Silicon Valley to China.....The response of Mr Zegna, who together with his sister Anna and cousin Paolo run Zegna, has been to “reinvent ourselves in the casualisation world”.
.....So-called casualisation of luxury is one of the biggest trends in the €250bn industry, according to consultant Bain. Luxury brands invested €500m on developing “rubber slides” (a type of flip-flop) last year alone and €3.5bn on sneakers in an effort to attract millennial and Generation Z consumers, estimated to make up nearly half of the luxury market by 2025.

Failure to spot the trend can prove costly. Patrizio Bertelli, co-chief executive of family firm Prada, last month blamed a failure to spot the trend for luxury sneakers behind a tumble in revenues in its first half.

The luxury industry invested €3.5bn on sneakers last year as they tap the trend for upmarket casualisation © Bloomberg
“If there is one product today that is impulse driven and creates emotions [among consumers] it is the sneaker,”
..Zegna’s strength is that it controls its entire supply chain. ....Zegna three years ago bought a 6,300 acre farm with 10,000 sheep in Australia. Last year, it bought 60 per cent of a textile factory in Italy. Mr Zegna likes to say that Zegna goes from “sheep to shop to screen”, the latter in a nod to the rise of online shopping for luxury. Of its 7,000 employees half work in the industry and half in distribution.
.......Zegna says having raw materials and manufacturing at its fingertips has surprisingly proven a boon. “In this day in which the suit, like the tie, is not so popular, people are going for personalisation,”
.....In the world of men’s luxury — like other disrupted industries — consumers either want things “very fast” luxury or “very slow”, he argues.

For those willing and able to pay upwards of €5,000 for a bespoke suit, “It will take at least three months for you to have your beautiful garment,” says Mr Zegna with an evident satisfaction.
luxury  Italian  mens'_clothing  suits  millennials  CEOs  trend_spotting  sneakers  family-owned_businesses  Zegna  digital_savvy 
november 2017 by jerryking
Twitter's Lucrative Data Mining Business - WSJ.com
October 6, 2013 | WSJ | By ELIZABETH DWOSKIN.

Twitter's Data Business Proves Lucrative
Twitter Disclosed It Earned $47.5 Million From Selling Off Information It Gathers

Twitter's data business has rippled across the economy. The site's constant stream of experiences, opinions and sentiments has spawned a vast commercial ecosystem, serving up putative insights to product developers, Hollywood studios, major retailers and—potentially most profitably—hedge funds and other investors....Social-data firms spot trends that it would take a long time for humans to see on their own. The United Nations is using algorithms derived from Twitter to pinpoint hot spots of social unrest. DirecTV DTV +0.99% uses Twitter data as an early-warning system to spot power outages based on customer complaints. Human-resources departments analyze the data to evaluate job candidates....While estimates of the market value of the social-data industry are hard to come by, one research firm, IDC, estimates that the entire "big data" market has grown seven times as quickly as the information technology sector as a whole. It may be valued at $16.9 billion in two years....Each social-data firm boasts proprietary dating-mining tools that go beyond basic keyword searches. Some can zoom in on a subset of people—say, women in a certain ZIP Code—and monitor phrases that show emotion. Then they can create a heat map or a sentiment score that measures how that subset feels about a topic. They have trained natural language processing algorithms to look at slang and broken grammar and to highlight tweets that indicate urgency because of words like "BREAKING."

"We don't just count the volume of these trends. That's naïve," says Nova Spivak, CEO of the Los Angeles-based firm Bottlenose. Rather, his firm looks at the momentum of trends....Many smaller analytics startups are now turning to four companies that Twitter has dubbed "certified data resellers." These brokers, Gnip, Data Sift, Topsy and the Japanese firm NTT Data, 9613.TO -2.04% account for the bulk of Twitter's data revenue. Last year, they paid Twitter monthly fees of about $35.6 million.

Twitter's exponential growth has meant its influence extends well beyond marketing and crisis PR. Nonprofits, human-resource managers and politicians have found Twitter data useful, too.
data  data_mining  Twitter  massive_data_sets  sentiment_analysis  social_media  social_data  trend_spotting  Gnip  Data_Sift  Topsy  NTT_Data  Bottlenose  NLP  hotspots  UN  human_resources  insights  Hollywood  hedge_funds  momentum  product_development 
october 2013 by jerryking
Ideas Conferences as Brand Builders
11/19/2012 | Forbes | Marian Salzman, Contributor.

Smart talk is today’s hot commodity, whether you’re speaking, listening or, perhaps most important, hobnobbing after the formal sessions...But what do they say about your personal brand? Are Davos people different from TED people different from SXSW people? What about the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) and Renaissance Weekend? Is there a big half-dozen in conference-going that lets you borrow for your brand (today’s equivalent of name-dropping) and build it up? And if there is, do you have to attend all of them (who has time?), or do you need to decide what each stands for and how it helps make a person a brand? Does your choice of conference send a message about what generation you see yourself in?...I’d argue that some conferences are becoming so ubiquitous and trendy that their velvet ropes are being pulled back.
personal_branding  trends  trend_spotting  public_discourse  Clinton_Global_Initiative  Davos  SXSW  ideacity  TED  Renaissance_Weekend 
september 2013 by jerryking
The Top 10 Trends in 10 Industries - WSJ.com
February 9, 2004 | WSJ | By GEORGE ANDERS.

The Top 10 Trends in 10 Industries
How do trend spotters find what they're looking for? They keep their eyes open...read voraciously and brainstorm with colleagues. Travel to hot spots of innovation, or just a few miles down the road. The ultimate goal is the same: to find the latest business trends with staying power. That's because their long-term professional success -- just like that of countless other executives -- depends on being early and accurate trend spotters....Some trend spotters rely on obscure journals, others on key groups of people they think are ahead of the curve. Some pore over data, others follow the money...."It's important at the top levels of an organization to spend time looking for big new ideas," "Farther down, people aren't going to have as much time to break away from the daily demands of their jobs to do this. But good leaders should help set a culture where this intuition about what's next is rewarded."....Distinguish between valuable trends and embarrassing fads.
trends  industries  idea_generation  trend_spotting  Accel  boring  Jim_Breyer  hotspots  discernment  fads  ahead_of_the_curve  George_Anders 
may 2012 by jerryking
The Door-To-Door Billionaire Daryl Harms knows how to turn dull businesses into big profits. But can he really do it with your garbage? - May 1, 2003
By Ed Welles
May 1, 2003

Harms spots trends sooner and bears down harder than most entrepreneurs--a combination that has made him wildly wealthy, if not exactly famous. But his next venture--more on that later-- just might transform him into a household name on the order of, say, Warren Buffett. Like Buffett, Daryl Harms, 51, patiently trolls for perfect businesses in which he can build long-term value via his Masada Resource Group, based in Birmingham. He hunts down overlooked opportunities that don't trade on trendy brand names or cutting-edge technologies...When selling cable service, Harms went block to block, zeroing in on houses with the tallest antennas. Other salesfolk reflexively bypassed such homes because they assumed that better reception wasn't an issue for them. Harms targeted those customers first. "I told them, 'I can see you stand tall. Of all the people on the street you understand the value of TV,' " he recalls saying. " 'If we put cable in, you can compare it with what you have now. If you don't like it, we'll come back and take it out.' " Such "influencers," in Harms's lingo, made it easier for him to convert whole blocks....Spurred by a poll that showed that 92% of Americans considered themselves "environmentalists," Harms and his employees spent a year studying the recycling market only to decide that the real money lay in garbage. From there they sought out the best ethanol conversion technology. Having found it--at the Tennessee Valley Authority--they worked for five years to tweak the science, an effort that has earned Masada 18 patents. "Today's risky business climate warrants thoroughness," Harms says..."The theme is that there is always a consumer need to be addressed," explains Wheeler. "People will always talk on the phone, watch television, and produce garbage."...Asking the right question, it seems, comes naturally to Harms. Entrepreneurs fail, he believes, because they "get too microscopic in their thinking. In business it's very easy to get the right answer to the wrong question." According to Wheeler, Harms failed to ask the right question when he set up a venture called Postron, which allowed cable TV subscribers to receive their bills via cable and print them out on a printer attached to their TVs. What Harms didn't ask, says Wheeler, was "whether consumers wanted another piece of hardware." They didn't...Harms finds customers where no one else thinks to look. When he started selling burglar alarms in 1985, he didn't target high-crime areas. Instead he identified places where the perception of vulnerability was greatest--which he determined by calculating how much space the local paper devoted to crime. The first cellphone license he sought was for a desolate stretch of highway between Lincoln and Omaha rather than in a major population center. Why? Because, as Page says, "what else were people going to do in their cars but talk on the phone?" Aside from overlooked customers, Harms seeks another component to every business: recurring revenue of roughly $25 a month per user. "That's a bite that most people can get used to paying," he reasons. For him it translates into healthy cash flow, which fosters predictability and enables a business to survive hard times. Besides, "the more reliable the cash flow, the higher a multiple of that cash flow you can get for your company," he notes.
asking_the_right_questions  cash_flows  consumer_needs  counterintuitive  entrepreneur  hard_times  hidden  latent  moguls  overlooked_opportunities  missed_opportunities  predictability  questions  subscriptions  thinking_big  trend_spotting  unglamorous  wide-framing 
november 2011 by jerryking
How to Spot Trends Before Everyone Else
September 20, 2011 | BNET | By Penelope Trunk.

Here are three ways to do it:

1. Notice crowds of unmonetized people.
I played volleyball in college, but my summers unfolded on the beach. Beach volleyball was big in Chicago. After college, I turned down many job offers and went to Los Angeles. I told people I was going to play beach volleyball. ....Beach volleyball was essentially my first startup. I ran it like a business, getting Fortune 500 sponsors and even a contract with Budweiser. Other players wondered why I spent so much time cutting deals and not as much time playing the game. I wondered the same thing. From there, I was able to identify my skills as a marketer and focus on my next business idea.

2. Notice crowds of disenfranchised people.
In the late 1990s, I was getting paid to write about my career. I was supposed to write stories about my wacky adventures in the work world. These stories wound up having huge appeal for kids just out of college. Turns out they did not think my career was so wacky; they wanted a career like mine that was about adjusting work to my personal life rather than climbing a corporate ladder. So I did some thinking: If people stop climbing a corporate ladder, then what will they do? If you're in that situation, "job hop more" is good advice, "stop job hunting" is good advice, and "live with your parents" is good advice, too. I was able to launch my most recent company, Brazen Careerist, because I could see what they wanted before they could.

3. Find what's broken before people will admit it's broken.
The public school system is not going to get fixed in our lifetime. The problems are too deep..... It's a great idea, but we can't afford it.

Once I saw this, I realized that homeschooling is going to be huge.....homeschooling is growing at a fast rate among mothers who have bachelor's degrees. And only about 35% of homeschoolers today do it for religious reasons......The first thing I did when I realized this trend was launch a blog about homeschooling, because I understand things by writing about them......public schools are the best babysitting system in the world, but as an educational system, it's only effective for educating kids to work in factories. This is not going to be a popular thing to say, but I'm sure this is going to lead me to my next business idea......Try to understand new, unpopular ideas instead of arguing against them. Because by the time an idea is popular, it's too late to start a business around it.
Fortune_500  homeschooling  howto  pattern_recognition  public_education  public_schools  trends  trend_spotting 
september 2011 by jerryking
WSJ: Galleon and the Trouble With Insider Trading
Jan/Feb 2010 | The Corporate Board | Andy Kessler.

Information now travels at the speed of light. The edge to human traders
is mostly gone, arbitraged out by fast computers.
Near-term blips in stocks will always be driven by those with industry
contacts, legal or illegal. The only way to truly beat the market long
term is to use your head, think out long-term trends, figure out where
productivity and therefore wealth is being created in the economy,
and invest alongside it. This might include investing in wireless commerce, gigabit broadband, personalized prescription drugs, oil shale extraction, or electric smart grids that can better allocate power to where it is needed.
**********************************************************************
[January 06, 2020 |WSJ| Tech Will Rule These ’20s, Too by Andy Kessler]
So what’s next? My fundamental rule for finding growth trends is that you need to see viable technologies today, and then predict which ones will get cheaper and better over time. Microprocessors, storage, bandwidth—all still going strong after half a century.
2020s  alpha  Andy_Kessler  arbitrage  beat_the_market  broadband  commoditization_of_information  hydraulic_fracturing  ideas  insider_trading  JCK  long-term  personalization  power_grid  productivity  productivity_payoffs  Raj_Rajaratnam  shale_oil  smart_grid  strategic_thinking  technology  traders  trends  trend_spotting  wealth_creation 
june 2011 by jerryking
What's The Big Idea?
Mar 12, 2011 | Financial Times. pg. 28 | by James Crabtree. Forward to R. Mayot re. IdeaCity

From Davos, to Long Beach, to north Wales, 'ideas conferences' are burgeoning. But, asks James Crabtree, are they really the new crucibles for creative thinking - or just exclusive talking shops?

Aficionados of cult television know Portmeirion simply as "the village". Here, in the 1960s show The Prisoner, Patrick McGoohan insists "I am not a number, I am a free man," and plots his escape from a mysterious captive community. But, last weekend, the town hosted a different sort of exclusive gathering - and one perhaps better known for those trying to get in, not out.

Against a backdrop of pastel-painted Italianate cliff-top villas, around 120 specially invited guests descended on the Welsh coastal village for what its organisers describe as a global "thought leadership symposium". Such self-selected elite groupings seem, at first glance, to be little more than a weekend break for an already-fortunate section of the chattering classes; what one Portmeirion participant dryly described as "a socially concerned Saga mini-break, dressed up as something more serious".

But such events are also part of a wider trend in the burgeoning market for "ideas conferences" - exclusive conflabs that bring together groups of leaders with the aim of sparking creative ideas, untethered from the niche subjects, academic specialisms or industry segments that have long dominated professional events.

Examples are not hard to find. The business summit in the secluded Swiss mountain resort of Davos is the most famous. But the first week of March also saw the latest TED conference, an exclusive annual USD7,500-a-ticket gathering in Long Beach, California, dedicated to "ideas worth spreading". Elsewhere Google runs an annual invite-only conference, known as Zeitgeist, while American internet evangelist Tim O'Reilly hosts excitable technology entrepreneurs at Foo Camp, which modestly stands for "Friends of O'Reilly".

Dozens of smaller meetings are popping up too, such as Portmeirion, now in its third year and with the FT as one of its sponsors. They represent a shift in the market for conferences, now forced to be more eye-catching to attract the attention of more demanding and distracted audiences. But their blossoming also illuminates a wider trend: the growing importance of unusual ideas and rich social networks, in an economy in which information is both increasingly valuable and confusingly abundant.

Those gathered at Portmeirion this year formed an eclectic group, ranging from polymathic finance expert Nassim Nicholas Taleb to actress Miriam Margolyes and rock concert promoter Harvey Goldsmith. Elsewhere the resort's narrow streets were thronged with a mixture of senior bankers, newspaper columnists, politicians, entrepreneurs, authors and think-tank boffins.

Portmeirion itself used to be something of a salon for London's recuperating elite, hosting guests such as Noel Coward and Bertrand Russell. The idea of hosting a contemporary event there stems from this: it is the brainchild of British public relations guru Julia Hobsbawm, whose father (the Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm) brought their family to the town for summer holidays.

Top-level gatherings have long been a feature of politics and international affairs. Historian Simon Schama points to The Poker Club, a distinguished salon at the heart of the Scottish Enlightenment of the late 1700s, which counted David Hume and Adam Smith among its members.

Today's ideas conferences are less serious affairs than their antecedents, with agendas that go well beyond the straitjacketed worlds of politics, foreign affairs and business. Videos, jazzy graphics and blaring music between sessions all help keep participants engaged. Informal, unscripted agenda-less "unconferences", are also popular.

A defiantly cross-disciplinary ethic marks out this new class of events, whose programmes are seemingly incomplete without sculptors, comedians and bioethicists to balance out the economists and business gurus. Portmeirion's two most memorable sessions were its most eclectic: a plea to save the seas from oceanographer Sylvia Earle, and a moving film about Indian prostitution from filmmaker Beeban Kidron.

The flipside of this variety is a certain intellectual vagueness, as organisers try to hold together a programme full of clashing insights. The gnomic theme of the most recent TED, for instance, was "the rediscovery of wonder" - featuring a live talk from an astronaut in an orbiting space station, and a demonstration of a machine that "printed" human body parts. The theme of Portmeirion, meanwhile, was simply "community and values", into which one could read just about anything.

Certainly, it isn't always clear what these conferences are meant to be about. The ideal speaker, therefore, is someone able to cross many intellectual boundaries at once [jk: does this meet the definition of "transgressive"??] - as with Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of The Black Swan, who kicked off the Portmeirion gathering with a magisterial address on the topic of "anti-fragility" in complex social and economic systems. His remarks ranged from mathematics and economics to political theory and Greek history, leaving attendees at once stimulated and more than a little perplexed.

There is an underlying economic rationale too. Delegates often work in professions that place a premium on finding and exploiting the ideas central to processes of innovation in modern businesses. This makes the events business-friendly too - a fact compounded by their need to win extensive corporate sponsorship, which in turn pays for the meals and accommodation that non-paying guests and speakers enjoy.

Yet if the ideas are a little fuzzy, and the business jargon a little too prevalent, this is because, more than anything, these conferences are meant as a celebration, and a test, of the individuals picked to attend - those high-powered, busy, professionally successful types who make a living telling others what they should watch, read or buy.

RSA chief executive Matthew Taylor notes the importance of intellectual cross-dressing at such events: "They allow people to throw off their professional persona for 48 hours: journalists become social theorists, businesspeople become green warriors, and academics become showmen. But on Monday morning - perhaps to everyone's secret relief - it's back to work."

Although their easygoing participants would tend to deny this, these events are a new form of elitism: a novel way of marking out a social and professional hierarchy, in which sensibility and interestingness replaces class or creed. What follows is stimulating, but also reflects the similar outlooks of the media and intellectual elite in a post-ideological world: an ersatz form of intellectualism, which might have raised an eyebrow in Eric Hobsbawm's day.

Even so, such ideas events prosper because they solve a problem faced by many at the top of their professions. The much-discussed "death of distance" never happened; globalisation and the profusion of technology makes place more important. Similarly, a world of abundant, instantly accessible information seems to make personal connection more vital. This puts a premium on private events, which force their participants to spend time developing ideas without distraction. The ideas conference is here to stay.

The Polymath

Nassim Nicholas Taleb

As the guru credited with spotting the unexpected "black swan" events behind the global financial meltdown, Nassim Nicholas Taleb (illustration above) has a track record for spotting unusual ideas. He worries that we have still not learnt the lessons of the crisis, identifying ongoing major threats arising from "expert problems". The risk, he notes, is that "a pseudo-expert astrologist doesn't have many damaging side- effects, but a pseudo-expert economist certainly does".

Taleb is sceptical of some ideas gatherings. Davos is a particular bugbear; he turns down the annual invitation on the grounds that it is "too big, on the wrong topics, and with the wrong people". Other events have their problems too - in particular their tendency to turn "scientists into entertainers and circus performers".

Taleb is currently developing his thinking for a forthcoming book, which he describes as a deeper "volume two" of the themes he explored in The Black Swan. His new big idea is "anti-fragility", or the stability that comes from decentralised, complex systems - such as those found in nature (i.e. biomimicry), or artisan industries - which allow regular small acts of self-destruction, but adapt to keep the system as a whole stable. He contrasts this with fragile, centralised systems - such as the post-crisis banking industry - which prop up their failing parts.

The Agent

Caroline Michel

It is the books with the "big themes" that sell well nowadays, explains Caroline Michel (below), one of London's leading literary agents. Her job, she says, is one in which "amazing people come to me with brilliant ideas, and it is my job to work out what to do with them". In this role she styles herself as part of a new class of "professional mediators", a cadre of ideas professionals whose role it is to weed out "Pot-Noodle knowledge", and give the public new ways to find the valuable information they need.

Consequently, she is a confirmed ideas conference fan, citing book gatherings such as the annual Hay Festival as a source of inspiration. But when facing "an extraordinary spaghetti of knowledge and information", she says, even knowledge professionals find themselves struggling to "to pull through strands" they can understand. A world in which "we have access to this huge mass of information, and in which we are all instant doctors and instant reporters" therefore only increases the importance of those few "people you trust to show you the way through it" - and makes doubly important the chance to listen to them, and to interact with them, in person.

The Entrepreneur

Will … [more]
antifragility  conferences  cross-disciplinary  cross-pollination  David_Hume  Davos  fragility  hierarchies  ideas  ideaCity  invitation-only  Nassim_Taleb  self-destructive  TED  Tim_O'Reilly  thinking_big  trend_spotting  Zeitgeist 
march 2011 by jerryking

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