5 Ways to Spot Trends Before They Happen
Want to recognize the next big thing before everyone else? Here’s how it’s done.
How do some people seem to know about the next big thing way ahead of everyone else?
Because they know how to recognize early signs of change.
To get a look at how it’s done, I talked to Panos Panay, founder and CEO of Sonicbids, an 11-year-old social music marketing service that connected bands with more than 95,000 gigs in 2011. Panay says the music industry is among the three most competitive (the other two being media and technology), and the ability to spot trends before they happen is a life-and-death skill. Here’s how he does it:
1. Stop talking and listen.
“Today, there’s too much broadcasting and not enough receiving,” Panay says. “Everyone is focused on pumping out information, but turning off our own signal and receiving and digesting, that’s a skill that has gone away.”
Panay says that he likes to immerse himself in a topic by reading about it. “I dedicate an hour in the morning, and again before I go to sleep, to reading. I actually schedule it.” He says he started Sonicbids after reading Blur, published in 1999. “The book talked a lot about how the Internet was about to change everything and I started thinking, ‘How will it affect my industry?’ Playing that scenario through gave me the inspiration for Sonicbids.”
2. Look beyond your own business.
“You have to look around and ask: ‘What are the general trends going on, even though they haven’t affected my business yet?’” Panay advises. Early this century he noted that people weren’t yet ready to buy music by the download, but the way they found new music was shifting. “I thought, today it’s record labels, but I can see how companies will become major players launching new music, such as Apple through its commercials, or Starbucks with its stores. I saw a trend where people weren’t necessarily interested in discovering music by walking into a record shop or watching MTV anymore.”
Continue reading this article at INC.com after the break!
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