How do we spot ideas in the early stages?

Hunting What’s Next in High Tech

  • Spotting these ideas has an element of serendipity and luck to it
  • It’s one part looking in the right places and cultivating the right sources, and one part noticing anomalies and acting quickly
  • Anything from subscribing to newsletters and discovering good blogs in that space, to attending meetups and conferences
  • “Early adopters” – people who are more likely to find and use new technology
  • College campuses make great testbeds for not only spotting but trying out new products070226.news.adoption
  • Trends often start with young people in cities, rather than in sprawling suburban neighborhoods – because these early adopters are extroverted, have lot of social ties and hence the ideas spread faster through the group
  • Compare leading versus lagging indicators, because a big mismatch between the two is often a sign of rapid growth
  • How does one tell a trend  —  something that continues to spread  — from a fad  —  something that flares briefly and dies?
  • Ridesharing apps were an important trend, but they were only enabled more broadly and recently by the larger trend of smartphones everywhere
  • Another path is by latching on to a different fast-growing community
  • “Coolhunting” can be a surprisingly good way to catch these monumental shifts, compared to traditional market research or deductive reasoning from experts
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