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Microtrends – unnoticeable trends that have noticeable effects

June 16th, 2011 by dimpledbrain

Both chaos theory or commonly referred to as the butterfly effect and microtrends share one obvious similarity: that an initial small change can turn into a sweeping current of change.

The former refers to the idea that a butterfly’s wings might create tiny changes in the atmosphere that may ultimately alter the path of a tornado or delay, accelerate or even prevent the occurrence of a tornado in another location while the latter refers to smaller and more subtle changes that are extremely important but may skip the naked eye as they are barely visible. (Both definitions are taken from the internet).  
Some of the microtrends that are observed by Mark Penn, in his book Microtrends include:

  • Shy Millionaires: These are millionaires who contrary to popular beliefs, stay out of the spotlight. Most of them attended public schools but have kids that go to private schools. They may be seen at the targets looking for bargains or looking for financial planners.
  • Tattooing has gone mainstream. The author asks: Where is the Mcdonalds of Tatooing? He believes that there is a big market here.
  • The growing popularity of cosmetic surgery, thanks to advances in technology, falling prices and almost negligible recovery time.

While we may not be like Mark Penn who can capture the attention of people like Bill Gates, Tony Blair and President Clinton, we could almost certainly pick up a trick or two on microtrends in our personal capacity. Which of the events that are sweeping around us are microtrends in the making? The game plan here is not about efficiency (10 trends that I pick up are 10 microtrends) but rather effectiveness (1 out of 100 trends that I observe changes the world).
I was told by a Singaporean friend that there are 3 kinds of people in this world; the first group makes things happen, the second awaits for things to happen and the last group doesn’t know what’s happening! Let us choose carefully which group that we aspire to be in.
Click here for a related post – the theory of broken windows

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