Author: Louis Patler
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
A Parable: The CEO and the Winter Weather
Part One: The TrendSmart Leader
Overview: Trends Are Not Trendy
Chapter 1: Lasting Trends: Where the Future Bypasses the Present
Chapter 2: Visionary Myopia: Where Vision and Results Meet
Chapter 3: Generalized Priorities: Where the "Big Picture" Guides Little Decisions.
Chapter 4: Delayed Urgencies: Where the "Urgent" is Chronically Delayed and the "Important" Is
Chapter 5: Acrobatic Structures: Where Agility and Stability Meet
Chapter 6: Grounded Risks: Where Bold Action Aligns with Bold Values
Chapter 7: Standard Deviations: Where the Creative Exception Becomes the Norm
Chapter 8: Proactive Luck: Where Finding Good Luck Is Not an Entitlement Program
Part Two: The TrendSmart Consumer
Overview: Know Thy Customer
Chapter 9: Mass Customization: Where One Size No Longer fits All…One Size Fits One
Chapter 10: Local Universals: Where You Act Locally and Think Globally—and Vice Versa!
Chapter 11: Instant Branding: Where "The Big Idea" Meets the Big Brand
Chapter 12: Selective Service: Where the Best Customers Get the Best Service
Chapter 13: Episodic Loyalty: Where Customers and Employees Have Multiple, Fleeting Loyalties
Part Three: The TrendSmart Employee
Overview: Pieces of a Puzzle
Chapter 14: Paid Volunteers: Where Workers Work Because They Want To
Chapter 15: Fringe Deficits: Where People Weigh the Benefits and Liabilities of Work, Products, and
Chapter 16: Perpetual Innovation: Where Innovation Is Everybody’s Everyday Job
Chapter 17: Positive Negatives: Where Building on Strengths Is Not a Weakness
Chapter 18: Temporary Careers: Where the Career Ladder Has Very Few Rungs
Chapter 19: Complementary Competence: Where Opposite Competencies Attract
Chapter 20: Business Casual: Where the Conventional and the Unconventional Meet
Chapter 21: Working Contradictions: Where Contrarian Trends Join Hands
Today's business world is confusing and uncertain. Things move so fast, it seems that every day there is
a new technology, a new marketing strategy and a new way to attract customers. How do you make
sense of it all? Is the hot new trend you're hearing about the wave of the future or just another passing
fad?Louis Patler has the answers. As a leading trend-analysis and market-research guru for companies
such as American Express, General Dynamics, Lloyds Bank and Dell Computers, Patler has spent the
last twenty years studying emerging business trends and tracking their impact in the marketplace.
Through this intense research and remarkable insights into the most successful and innovative
companies, Patler has discovered the key to doing business in the 21st century—the trends and
strategies that are here to stay.—Don't expect loyalty. Today's employees will not stay at a job for more
than three years. Plan for this and take advantage of it.—Forget what you do "best." Your company's
most valued traditions or processes are often the ones holding it back.—The customer is not always
right. Offer savings and specials to your most valuable and loyal customers and let the rest shop
somewhere else.—The future is here. Things will never "go back to normal"; this is normal!—and
countless more...TrendSmart not only reveals the most important business developments, but shows you
how to use them to make your business strong and leap ahead of the competition. TrendSmart managers
lead with strength and vision, create a group of happy and loyal customers and give employees the tools
they need to help the company grow. TrendSmart is the tool every leader, manager and business owner
needs to succeed today and in the future."Louis Patler is to change as Mark McGwire is to baseball—a
man with the power to shatter myths, raise standards and inspire greatness."—Jay Conrad Levinson,
author of Guerilla Marketing"Reading Louis Patler awakens your mind and renews your energy for this
marathon race we call business."—Jim Kouzes, Chairman, Tom Peters Group Learning Systems
“I wanted to know how much information you could give with how few words just like the lines in a
—Diane di Prima
“The biggest lesson in [business] is that it is going to be a roller coaster.”
—Marc Andreessen, chairman of Loudcloud/cofounder of Netscape
The “normal” ebb and flow of a zip-zap, turbocharged world of business has changed dramatically. Added
to this, the quest for security and predictability have to compete with a growing sense of uncertainty. The
truth is, neither exponential change nor increasing uncertainty are likely to diminish in the foreseeable
future. Today’s workplace is decidedly different, and the new “normalcy” is that exponential change and
large mixtures of uncertainty are here to stay.
We now live in a world taken over by ironies, working contradictions, and oxymorons, a world where the
line between conventional and unconventional wisdom is drawn with a disposable pen filled with invisible
ink. The rules that once seemed so useful, even profound, now wax and wane like a hyperactive harvest
Open the business section of any newspaper or magazine and you see it before your eyes:
• New companies quickly move full circle from not-com to dot-com to hot-com to not-com.
• A five-year-old software company sells for more money than Ford paid to acquire Volvo.
• Top leadership at American Express announces the creation of a new senior-level position: “Vice
President of Customer Listening.”
How do we become and remain successful in the face of such a dynamic marketplace? How do we know
what it takes to thrive in such a chaotic environment? Where do we turn for good information early on?
New times call for new thinking, and new thinking requires new perspectives. This book has been written
to offer the reader insights, strategies, and useful tactics to be successful in an uncertain and changing
Is That a Real Trend... Or Did You Just Make It Up?
This said, exponential change and economic uncertainty are now old news. The new news is that there
are, in the pages that follow, twenty-one significant and lasting trends that are affecting and shaping the
nature of business today and for years and years to come. The trends cited, fully understood, provide a
strong foundation for competing in a volatile world.
Still, in the face of such challenges, the need for good information—or more specifically, the value of
predictive information—has never been greater. At my company, Near Bridge, Inc., our focus is on finding
useful information that makes the journey from point A to point B easier than you might think. We pride
ourselves on knowing a trend from a fad, as well as how to put trend information to strategic, and
With more than twenty years in the trend-spotting business, using proprietary methodologies and curious
minds to help with the research, I have learned many lessons that are shared in this book. In the pages
that follow, you will hear about more than two hundred companies and two hundred individuals who were
tracked, interviewed, and/or monitored as part of a four-year research project for this book.
An award-winning author, speaker and consultant, Louis Patler is the chairman of Near Bridge, Inc., a
trends and strategy company that provides customized consulting, briefing, off-sites and training and
development programs. Patler brings pioneering technologies for identifying emerging business and
consumer trends, practical problem solving and unparalleled quality-service initiatives to Fortune 500
companies, multinational corporations and foreign governments. He is the author of TILT!: Irreverent
Lessons for Leading Innovation in the New Economy and is the coauthor of the New York Times
bestseller If It Ain’t Broke…BREAK IT!: Unconventional Wisdom for a Changing Business World.
anging Business World.