Finance

How to Find Trending Products: The Jeremy Gutsche Interview

As the CEO and founder of TrendHunter, Jeremy Gutsche know how to find a trending product, one that will blow up an industry and build the future. In this groundbreaking interview, the New York Times Bestselling author reveals everything he knows about trends, entrepreneurship, and world-changing ideas.

Gutsche’s TrendHunter is the world’s largest trend-spotting firm. Trendhunter boasts over 10,000 projects for almost every major brand on the market including Samsung, Disney, Redbull, and even NASA.

If you want to start the next trend—or simply just spot on—this interview is a must-listen.

Jeremy:
So the concept of trying to find an idea that has lasting power is that you are trying to find several examples that all illustrate a cluster of opportunity. And that’s very different than looking at just one teeny tiny little idea, which might work or not work, or a giant mega trend, which everyone

Nathan:
Nathan Chan here, CEO and publisher of Foundr magazine. Welcome back to another founder interview. If you are new to this channel, you know what to do, make sure you hit subscribe. We have some of the best content out there for entrepreneurs working so hard to find incredible founders to interview how to videos behind the scenes. You name it, make sure you hit the like button to give us more views. Like we need the views as well and leave a comment below. We’d love to hear your thoughts. So let’s talk about today’s guest, his name’s Jeremy Gucci, and he’s the founder of a company called trend hunter. They are the number one trend spotting firm in the world. Their website gets like over a billion views a year. It is crazy. And I’m going to talk to him around. How do you find a trending business ID?

Nathan:
How do you find something that’s hot? How do you find something that has lasting power and how do you know whether the trend has gone or it’s just coming up. So if you want to start a business, you want to know how to find great ideas. You wonder how to find winning business ideas. Jeremy is the person to speak to. He’s done over 10,000 plus projects. Like he’s done like advisory for a lot of big fortune 500 companies. Some of the stuff he’s done is incredible. You do not want to miss this episode. All right. Let’s jump in Jeremy. Thanks so much for taking the time to speak with me today. The first question that I ask everyone that comes on is, uh, how did you get your job?

Jeremy:
Well, you know, I was always an entrepreneur at heart and it’s so tough to figure out what your, the idea is. So as a kid, I was always trying this and then, you know, every possible little kid business you could imagine, and eventually you can pick, you become a corporate innovator, started working for a bank, uh, made them a billion dollar business, which sounds good, but I didn’t find my idea. And I was getting so frustrated. So in 2005, which was before YouTube and before Facebook, I taught myself to code and I folded up trend hunter as a place for people to share business ideas. And truthfully, I thought maybe my new idea will come from some trend hunter in Australia like yourself or someone in south America, Asia, I don’t know. And what I didn’t expect was that being so early in that crowdsource world, we really grew quickly.

Jeremy:
And there were so many people looking for ideas that traffic went from thousands to millions to billions, and we didn’t have the way to monetize that. But I, you know, I was a, uh, a research guy and innovation guy in the, in the bank from the past. So I knew what people are big corporations needed. So when we turned it into a research business, suddenly we could use this platform to be about 20 times faster for, for market research. So now we’ve done about 10,000 projects for every major brand Disney Samsung that NASA red bull just pick a brand. We probably done something for them and it’s been really fun because I didn’t, in some ways pick my idea. Now I just help other people find their idea.

Nathan:
Yeah. Wow. Crazy. That’s such a cool story. Um, so at founder, um, you know, we’re really trying to democratise entrepreneurial education and we’re producing a lot of content around how to start or grow a business. And pretty much like one of the number one places that we send people to, when people say like, I don’t have inspiration or I, I, I want to start a business, but I’m not sure like what what’s, where to go. Uh, we always say one of the places, you know, all of our resources always is like go to trend hunter. Um, so it’s, it’s really cool, um, to be speaking with you and I’d love to delve a little deeper around kind of the idea of finding trending business ideas, uh, you know, how do you know if something will work? How do you know if it’s too late and all of that? So, um, where would you like to start Jeremy?

Jeremy:
Well, I guess, um, you know what I, well recently I put out a book called create the future, which kind of answers part of that question and what I tackled in phrase, the features and this idea that is interesting, and that we get caught on the path that we’re on. And there’s a term path dependency. It goes back to the 1950s, but it sort of explains why it’s difficult to take the entrepreneurial leap and what you need to figure out, because what happens is that you get comfortable and maybe successful at whatever it is that you’re doing, that everything else you look at seem awkward and clumsy and doesn’t seem like it’s the right fit. And so I think a big part of finding your entrepreneurial world is to recognise that you have so much great potential within your grasp, but the problem is then you’re so easily tempted to just stay with whatever job, whatever career that you have. So recognise that those new ideas, when you’re first starting out, they are clumsy, they are awkward and all great innovations have always been a little bit off the beaten path. You know what what’s

Nathan:
Really interesting about trend hunter is there’s some really good stuff on there. Like some really cool, innovative ideas. And these are essentially crowdsource where people are sharing their idea. Why do people share it?

Jeremy:
Well, people all around the world, like you are interested in ideas and trying to figure out what’s next. And we find that a lot of people like that, social currency of being the person in the know, so they want to hunt and find ideas before their bodies. Uh, others are the entrepreneurs, the PR companies, the brands, the actual innovators who want to get the idea out about their product. Um, and, and, you know, at the end of the day, it’s a little bit different to be someone that’s really interested in the business idea. And if you go to a lot of websites, they’ll sort of cover, Hey, this company launched model X, Y, Z, but at trend hunter, we’re very much looking for the idea. So when you go to trend under.com, you’ll see the title, wouldn’t say track launches, new electric bike. That is three X.

Jeremy:
That would be the normal pylon of bike website, but we would be saying, uh, eco electric bikes. And that’s sort of step one. So you look at the front page and you see all of these ideas. But the second part is when you click into that eco electric bike, it will show you not computer selected, but human selected, similar products or ideas, equal electric scooters, equal electric hybrids, equal electric mopeds. And what we’re actually trying to do is study your journey as a person that’s seeking ideas. Um, and, and also just get you excited by all the related concepts out there. So when it gets back to your question about why do people contribute? Well, part of it is you’re in this place where you’re discovering ideas, maybe sharing, being excited, and then suddenly you realise, oh, they’re missing, you know, this, this one thing I got to get it in there. And so then people contributed, you know, we don’t need a lot of people contributing at the end of the day, we’ve had a couple hundred thousand signup, but even just a small number of people who are really excited to account for the majority of the content. And then half of our work is not really getting the content, but studying how people interact with it. What is the crowd really interested in? And

Nathan:
I’m curious as well, like, you know, trend hunter is a great place to go to, to find and source and curate ideas for a potential business. But at the same time, what kind of things should people be thinking about when it comes to finding a, you know, a hot business idea or a trending business idea besides going to trend hunter? Like, do you have a process that you could share with people?

Jeremy:
Yeah. So I think that people use the word trend in a way that sort of ruins it because it can mean everything from what’s trending this hour on Twitter, which is whatever Donald Trump has last complained about to all the way at the other end, maybe a giant mega trend that everyone in the world already knows about. So there’s a pretty big range. And what you’re actually looking for to find an entrepreneurial sweet spot is a cluster of several ideas of consumer insight would be the marketer’s term. But we would look at it as an example where you see several ideas that are similar. People are liking the kind of suggests there might be something more there. So if I gave you an example, if we rewire around, I don’t know, two decades, and you, the first red bull or monster energy drink, you would see a caffeinated beverage.

Jeremy:
That’s one idea. Maybe it’s interesting. Maybe it’s not. But then if you also saw caffeinated potato chips and you saw caffeinated chocolate and you saw caffeinated something else, you might look at them and realise, well, wait, there’s something here. Like, what is it that people really want? Maybe it’s an alternative to coffee because maybe they don’t like coffee. Maybe it’s a different age, demographic of younger people who haven’t gotten into it. Or maybe it’s telling you about a time crunched culture, where people are doing anything to get an energy hit. So the concept of trying to find an idea that has lasting power is that you are trying to find several examples that all illustrate a cluster of opportunity. And that’s very different than looking at just one teeny tiny little idea, which might work or not work, or a giant mega trend, which everyone sort of knows about. Yeah.

Nathan:
That’s a really interesting point because yeah, trends is a hot word and it’s a hot idea, but at the same time you don’t want something like, for example, you know, hall the board, right. That’s, that’s just oversaturated, right. That it was an extremely trending product. But as fast as it came, it went down just as fast, right? You want to find somewhere where it’s like, it’s an op and comma or what you call like it has lasting power, but it’s not so much like mass market. So how do you work that out?

Jeremy:
Well, a trend mentor, our method is, uh, and if you visit the website, it’s free. So I’m not selling you anything. But it’s this idea of, we look for related patterns where we could find six to 10 examples of something that it seemed to be related, but new. And then we would actually try to test that using our website to see what’s interesting and what’s not. And if you’re navigating the site, you’ll see all of our stats. We’ve kind of expose, uh, you know, what’s out there, but if you are not using trend hunter, and you’re generally looking around the world, you’re looking for a pattern. When do you, where do you see more than just one thing that seems to be cluing you in to something else that’s new? And it’s an interesting period. Even bring a lot of this up, because what has happened in this COVID period is that people around the world have spent a year working from home and not able to do all the things they want.

Jeremy:
That’s caused the reshuffling of the deck of which companies are in the lead. It’s changed our market and perceptions and consumer interests. It sort of level the playing field. And once we emerge and we’re back out able to fully resume our lives around the world, what you’ll find is that there’s companies that are gone, companies that are new and consumers everywhere, that changed what they’re interested in. So a time period, like this is really interesting because chaos can seem intimidating, but it actually creates enormous opportunity because of the amount of consumer needs that have changed. And so if you look historically at time, periods of chaos, you’ll find some of the most iconic companies were we’re starting. So if I look at global economic recessions in those time periods, you would find Disney, CNN, Hyatt, apple burger, king, fortune magazine, Uber, Venmo, Airbnb. And I could go on and on.

Jeremy:
This is kind of my background. I studied chaos and write about it, but the point would be that those companies didn’t start randomly. Coincidentally, cause it was a recession. They were successful because in those time periods, people reevaluate, what’s important. Maybe they’re looking to save money. Maybe they’re looking for a different option. Maybe their lives have sort of changed. So we’re about to enter in 2021. What I would say will be one of the most interesting land grabs of opportunity, a window of opportunity for you to find that business idea that could be so right for what you’re interested in.

Nathan:
You found an ID, something that it looks and appears to have lasting power. It has, you know, like you said, maybe a patent of, of, you know, five to six similar type variations of the product or, or, you know, service. Ha what, how do you know if you’re on to something? What like, is it, is it just go, you know, lean startup, you know, like what, what do you recommend?

Jeremy:
Yeah. I mean, there’s a, that’s going to depend on the idea that you’re coming up with. But what I would say is that now compared to any other time period in history, you’re also able to test your idea in a way that’s very rapid, the mega trend on trend hunter that we use to describe this current period is, is called instant entrepreneurship. And it’s this idea that you could instantly become an entrepreneur. If my ball niece comes up with an idea for a little plastic dinosaur, she, uh, she could actually go to thing versus get a 3d printed prototype. You could go to Wix and for free and half an hour, make a beautiful website. She could go to Kickstarter and sell the product before it’s ready. So it’s going to be different for whatever your product is, but things like Kickstarter, all sorts of market testing platforms out there give you the potential to actually try something to even see if you could sell a service for idea before it’s ready.

Nathan:
No. When an ID has hit market saturation, like a fidget spinner, like a hoverboard where it’s just too crowded, um, you know, like the coffee scrub, that seems like it’s overcrowded, like, you know, I’m going with this, right?

Jeremy:
Sure. Yeah. I think a lot of that is about looking at how many competitors there are, and then trying to understand if you feel you can make a niche, if there’s a really unique, um, this advantage of our very rapid culture for entrepreneur, which is that it’s very easy for ideas to be copied. And it’s very easy for things to run a muck because of it. If I give the example of those shareable bikes, uh, there was so many companies that started competing in the Sharewell bike market. That pretty soon, there are a whole bunch of billionaires in China that started jumping into the market. And if you look for bike graveyard and Google images, you can see pictures from outer space, aerial photos of these dumping grounds in China that have not thousands of bikes, but like millions of bikes just stack. And it looked, they looked like lavender fields from, from set from an aerial view because so many of these bikes were overproduced that will never be written because so much money jumped into the market right away.

Jeremy:
So I’d say when you’re coming up with your idea, you really want to see if you can make something where you don’t feel like there’s too many competitors, you’re making something interesting to a specific group of people. And that’s the sort of quote that I would use. How do you be irresistible to a specific group of people? Because if I know I could make something that’s useful for a small enough group, but I could actually find region sell to and I can start to build my business, get some potential and actually monetize something without feeling like I’m getting into a market where I’m just too late in into the business. So that’s going to be different for every market that you look at. But I do think you want to try and find a way where you’re not appealing to the whole world, because then you could be competing against the whole world, but maybe find something that’s a bit contained where you feel you can win.

Nathan:
Sometimes, you know, VCs, they talk about Tam, total addressable market, and they want to big big market. What’s your take there.

Jeremy:
And you’ll also find a number of VCs who will, you know, talk about how the pitch that they don’t want to hear is for someone to walk in saying, I it’s a $10 trillion market and I need just 0.1% and then we’ll have millions of dollars. Like there’s a double sided part to that. Um, and I also think that it can be overly exciting to think that you’re going to go get venture capital money, but there’s risk inherent to that, to the there’s a stat that the average unicorn company, a billion dollar evaluation, the founder’s worth $50 million. And that I first saw that I was pretty shocked in a sad way for the entrepreneur in a way, because it just shows you how much of a company gets gobble up every time you do another round of venture capital funding. So I think it’s useful to try and think about how far you can push your minimum viable product, your small addressable market, that group, you can be irresistible too.

Jeremy:
And I think that there’s this over glamorization of quitting your job, taking the big leap and going out to get the big VC funding and, you know, and then it works or doesn’t, um, they may, maybe this is me being a Canadian and then that’s the American way. And it feels too risky to me. But I know with myself and Trent hunter, I actually just started working away at building trend hunter while I was still running innovation at the bank. So I would, you know, do my day job, come home and code in the night and code in the weekends. And I went about a year and a half before I actually took the leap. And I even hired my first hire before I left the company I was working at because I thought, well, I could get a student to be a writer, an editor, a new graduate, and then they could run it.

Jeremy:
And I could just work on developing it because I still have the safety of my bank job. And so I took a very different approach to it. And generally when I’m talking to people thinking who are thinking about what they want to offer, and I sort of sort of caution people to make sure they feel like it’s right or find the ways to test something before you feel like you have to take that big leap, you know, if you feel ready and you’re ready, cool, you’re ready. But if you’re not, and you’re thinking about it, there’s a lot of ways to start working on your idea without having to quit your job. Yeah.

Nathan:
I agree. 110%. I’ve always said, and this is why I did it with founder. I said, uh, I need six months of runway for my own personal, like rent and living expenses. And then I’ll give it a good crack for 12 months and just see what happens. But like, yeah. And just same, same philosophy around bootstrapping. Um, yeah, proud bootstrapper as well. Okay, awesome. So I’m curious what your take is around copying, right? Because many people would look at trend hunter and they’ll go, that’s a good ID. I’m just going to copy it. Um, what’d you take?

Jeremy:
Well, I think at the, uh, you know, when it comes to the big world we’re in, there are business models that can work that are effectively looking at something in one country, and then thinking about what you bring to another country. And, uh, I did spend a lot of my time touring different countries when I was 20 21, 22, just trying to see if I could get an idea that I could bring back to my, to my home country. Um, and now that again could be different based on the industry you’re looking at. If I use my personal experience with trend hunter along the way, we really just made a business model of giving away as much as possible. And then being selective about where we monetize, what it is we do. And so, because of that, because we give our trend room, a lot of our trend reports for free and our content for free and our dashboards for free our assessments for free.

Jeremy:
What has happened is it sort of made it uninteresting for someone to really try to compete. And it’s allowed us to grow because we’ve cast a much wider net, but then we’re selective of where do we actually monetize. And so we usually are only really monetizing when we have something big that we’re selling a B big, a big fortune 500 brand that is able to pay a larger check and it may be for sending more consultative. So that’s what we’ve sort of latched on to. And we’ve taken the approach of just trying to give things away for free. So answering my own experience, that’s sort of how I’ve thought about dealing with it is that you can give away more for free than you’re not worried about someone coughing you, but then from the reverse, could you find another idea to copy? I do think that there’s times where you could look at what something’s doing, someone is doing in another country, or you could look at something someone’s doing where you can see the flaws in it, and you feel like you could do it better. And using this particular service feels almost irritating to you. Maybe you have a way to just do it better. So it’s really

Nathan:
Interesting ID, um, around the idea of copying. And the reason I asked that is because a lot of people, you know, they say, I say they want to start a business, but they haven’t come up with a good enough idea yet. And then they might see, you know, they had an idea that they’ve made that claim to a stake in the ground, and then all somebody else has already done it. Okay. Now I need to think of something else. And they can’t think of a good enough idea and this idea of self it’s gotta be unique. And I’d love to explore that a little more with you, especially because like, you know, you’re, you’re an advisor to over 400 brands, billionaires CEOs range from Victoria’s secret, Coca-Cola like impressive stuff. So you would come across this, right, where there is perhaps a, an idea or trending product or service that is out there, but are you advising usually to tweak it a little?

Jeremy:
There’s a couple of ways to look at that. So first of all, there are examples where you could see an idea that successful in one market, and maybe you could bring that to another. And that’s something that exists in easily and probably 99% of business ideas. You see a real whiny cafe, that’s paired with a restaurant that’s paired with a coffee shop. That’s also a bookstore and it’s in Milan. Great. You can bring that to Melbourne or Perth or wherever it might be, and you’re not even competing against them, but that idea could inspire you in a way that you, you could expand on. But B the way that we look at hunting trends, when you’re trying to get an idea that is maybe at a different scale. So for example, for a larger company or something that you want to take international, you can look at other ideas to try to find the patterns of what’s interesting about them.

Jeremy:
And in that case, I might not look at your idea and think it’s something I want to copy. Exactly. But I might see five or six ideas that are sort of similar, and I really want to unheard. Why are these things being successful? And if I really push myself on why is that successful? Then it could actually lead me to an idea that might be even better. The third thing that you could do in looking at the other ideas in the market is find out what, what is wrong with them? And you might have a favourite business, a favourite service, a favourite product. Uh, but there’s something that’s still irks you about that. And maybe that could lead you to your integration, that that becomes your new take on something. One thing that

Nathan:
I’ve learned as well, when it comes to, uh, ideas or trends is when you look at a product or service, you can always differentiate it by changing a dimension. So I make no credit to this. This is something that, um, one of our instructors, uh, Greta van real taught me where basically you can change a dimension of something, whether it’s the design, perhaps it’s the way the product is sold. Um, like there’s many different ways that you can change how that product or value proposition is perceived. What is your take on that? Like even just changing it slightly.

Jeremy:
Yeah. So I do, there’s actually, there’s a series of six patterns that we use on trend hunter. And you can find them when you sort of navigate through our menus. They appear in a lot of different places, but it’s the idea that as you look at a product, there are a number of different ways you can think to evolve it that are, uh, patterns that tend to be successful over time. So for example, convergence, how could you combine this product with something else divergence? How might you do the opposite of this product? Uh, certain cyclicality, which is the idea that maybe there’s a retro or a generational twist that they allow you to interpret in a different way, a redirection, which is almost like a surprise, how do you take this product? But cause a new element of it, that’s completely surprising to a person and the last would be reduction. How do I dramatically simplify this, take this product or idea and remove layers, make it simple, make it less cluttered, make it more specific to a specific end user. So there’s, there’s different methods you can use to look at an idea and think about how you would specifically iterate it to have consistently worked over time, to help people unlock all sorts of different products and markets. So

Nathan:
I’m curious, you said that you’ve worked on over 10,000 projects, um, and this is more of kind of for enterprise fortune 500. What are the kinds of like projects or anything notable that you’d love to kind of tell us about, or maybe even talk us through that process of how you’ve helped some of these big companies like massive, massive, massive companies universities?

Jeremy:
Sure. So, uh, in Toronto trend, hunter has about 80 people that are, uh, paired with all sorts of different brands. And our platform allows us to do market research about 20 times faster for 10, the price. So the concept would be you work in red bull and you want to figure out if there’s a way to target females with an aggressive sport, a new aggressively competitive sports, sort of like a, a tough Mudder or something like that. But you want to try and tap into that female competitive spirit. So we would work with your team and on a monthly basis, we would do a new project, a new deep dive, continually helping you figure out maybe that project or whatever the next one is. So if you said that was what you were diving into our researchers in that given month might find for someone at red, all of the different examples of hyper competitive female sports over the top female sports around the world, the con the psychology that’s driving, that the success levels what’s working, what’s not.

Jeremy:
And then as that’s presented to our clients, it would be presented in a workshop and they would think through different ways to twist and turn on what really stood out in that meeting. They might say, oh, I really liked this, um, you know, particular angle of female competition. That was really unique. I never thought of that. Can we dive into that and take a different layer? And we would do this again and again and again, and we have a lot of really cool wins that have happened. Some of them have turned into billion dollar products, but there’s not too much. We’re always, uh, you know, allowed to talk about because you’re working with the strategy teams on, on what’s next, but we helped, uh, NASA prototype the journey to Mars. We helped the Chicago Tribune go from bankruptcy to most profitable paper in the U S uh, and we’ve got to work on a lot of new product launches for all sorts of cool brands. So, uh, sometimes I wish I could tell more about what’s in the pipeline, but for me, I’m really living my dream job to just be working with all these brands, knowing what they’re working on, that doesn’t come out for the next couple of years. Wow.

Nathan:
That’s crazy. So like, I have to ask like delve a little deeper on at least one, like the Chicago Tribune, like what did you guys specifically do? How did you get that on track? You obviously changed the positioning of the paper.

Jeremy:
So I had worked with Tony hunter who was the publisher back a lot of decade ago. I’d written a bestseller called exploiting chaos in 2008. And it was about how chaos creates opportunity kind of along the themes we’ve talked about. And what happened is I started getting invited by CEOs because the market went really chaotic in 2009, there was a financial crisis and that would help one. And then all of a sudden they would ask for me, or they would refer me and I’d get to help another, another, another. So that led me to some really interesting career scenarios for the Tribune. We’d first worked with Tony hunter when he was publisher in order to help him go digital. That was easy. That was right in our wheelhouse. But the interesting thing is one day, about four years after that transformation, he gets the phone call and he’s the publisher.

Jeremy:
And the phone call is we want you to be CEO, but, but that’s kind of weird because he wasn’t ready to be CEO. I mean, it’s a different job leap, but he’s excited in a way. And they said, great. We want you to be CEO. Then we want you to lay off 20% of the staff. And then we want you to declare bankruptcy and sell more ads. Well, that’s sounds like a terrible job. I got to fire my friends declare bankruptcy. I’m the fall guy. Like, why would you want to take that? But at the same time, you know, this is the job he’d put put 26 years of his life into. So it was irresistible that he couldn’t, he couldn’t not do it. But then in that process, he pushed really, really hard trying to think about how to turn the team around. So there are a bunch of things we did on their culture.

Jeremy:
There were posters all over his and things like culture eats strategy for breakfast. There were town halls where you would bring everyone together and involve them in co-creating the future. But then there were also hackathons that we would run where we would take the different teams and use our patterns of opportunity as an example, to have them iterate again. And again and again, how might you rethink what it is that we’re doing? So if I give you a couple examples, one of the things that was happening in the media is that every newspaper that was trying to survive was shrinking the paper size. They’re all getting smaller and smaller and smaller and smaller, thinner, thinner, thinner, thinner. The example, pattern of divergence, which we talked about is that you do the opposite of what people are doing. So if everybody else is making the newspapers smaller and smaller and smaller, I get the economics of it.

Jeremy:
I get that’s how you fight digital. But if everyone does that, what if you do the opposite? So they started making a Tribune paper that was way thicker than it ever had before. It costs more. However, the point is, if you like news about Chicago, if you want to know about the Chicago Cubs, well now there’s only one newspaper you care about because all the others got tiny and only one matters. So everyone started switching over and starting to use the attribute. So it crushes your competitors. You do better. The next pattern I’ll talk about. That’s interesting in their scenario would be reduction. So reduction is when you really boil it down, what do you really do? Who’s your customer actually, what do they really, really want from you? And if you think about a newspaper, you sort of think the end customer is the reader, but the reader doesn’t really pay for the revenues.

Jeremy:
The revenues come from the advertisers and there’s big advertisers like Mercedes Benz and American express. And then there’s the little guys, the local advertisers, the local ones actually pay way more than they account for the margin of, of a newspaper business. But the point is the local ads are also the worst. Because if you take a look at them, they’re little businesses that don’t know how to advertise. So they have terrible ad campaigns and their ads in a newspaper say, buy more stuff. We need you to buy our stuff. Like they’re just not good. So the takeaway for the Chicago Tribune was, well, if we use the pattern of reduction and we think of that as our customer, and we think about what they really need, well, they need marketing strategy. So what if, instead of just selling them ad space, we sort of make it a little bit different where we’re actually trying to give them like a CMO, like marketing services to make them better. So that’s what they did. And lo and behold, that ended up being their big opportunity of profit and success. And that caused them to go from bankruptcy, to being one of the most proper, the number most profitable news organisation in America within a small number of years. Yeah.

Nathan:
Wow. That’s impressive, man. I could talk to you all day. We have to work towards having up. Um, I’d love to talk about your latest book. Um, what compelled you to

Jeremy:
Write it? So the newest book is predict the future and it’s actually a double-sided book. So on one side it’s pre the future. And then the other side, it’s the innovation handbook, which is a rewrite, does decide to have my first book ever exploiting chaos and, uh, it’s half pictures. So, you know, it’s good. But really what I wanted to do is make like a textbook of innovation and change and take all these lessons that I’ve learned from working with hundreds of different brands now and sort of put in their lessons. So people say, oh, innovation, you gotta go change and you’ve gotta be ready to fail. Okay, cool. But how show me how, like, I’m convinced, just give me the tactics. So in that example, the book is loaded with tactics. So failure. Okay. Well, here’s what others do at Adidas. They host a project funeral to celebrate your project.

Jeremy:
That didn’t work it staples. Our client will give you a written permission slip to fail. That means go try again. We believe that, you know you for what you’re doing at the BBC, they put a gambling fund in and ideas that fail the normal screening process could still qualify for gambling fund money. But the point is we’ve been gathering hundreds and hundreds of these tactics and I’ve learned a lot from them, but I really wanted to make a resource that had them all there so that people could really figure out how do you make innovation and change actually happen?

Nathan:
Curious as well, innovation. It’s an interesting word, right? Like, um, from my perspective, when I think of innovation, I’m more think of big business and disrupting and change, but then there’s the other side of it where, you know, you can have innovation, uh, within very, very small businesses too. Or even as, just as an individual. I’m curious like from, for the, for the people that would be watching this now majority of our audience, uh, early stage startup founders, people looking to, uh, you know, start a business or they might be working on something right now or they might’ve launched it recently. What advice would you have for them? When it comes to innovation?

Jeremy:
For me, innovation is the buzzword for creativity and coming up with new ideas. And I think that the simplest way that I would put it is that there’s a misnomer, that innovation is this unattainable big thing that’s happening in a certain department in an apple, but really it’s about coming up with new products, ideas, services, or just a different way of doing things. And people build it up to be some big, complicated thing, but actually it’s as simple as trying the same thing that’s happened for years and years in a slightly different way. And what’s unique about it is because it’s sort of blown up to be this thing. People don’t really, uh, invest their time into getting to be a better innovator, but the end of the day, it’s not a creative, fluffy thing. Yes. It’s science and there’s all sorts of tactics and tools and techniques that you can do to help yourself get better and actually coming up with these ideas and refining them. So I would invest your own personal effort into actually trying to learn these tactics and techniques so that you’re more likely to succeed. And so that your product is just that much better, which could be all that it takes to get you to your next level.

Nathan:
No, I love it. Um, what about the balance though? Because innovation ideas, that’s the fun, that’s the sexy stuff, but then you’ve got your business as usual and you’ve got to keep the wheels turning. You’ve got to keep the oxygen coming in. How do you know that? How do you work at that balance?

Jeremy:
Well, I would sort of argue that innovation can be broad and it’s trying to make that day-to-day also more efficient. And one of the weaknesses that sometimes hits an entrepreneur, is this feeling that no, I don’t need innovation. I’m in an implementation phase. I just need to figure out how to scale. And, and that’s quite a track. Our model would try not to our little trademark model used to be find better ideas faster. And, and why I thought that was an interesting model to try and think about is because it’s so easy to think. No, I have an idea. I’m just trying to get it out there. It’s like, yeah, I’m just trying to make a better idea. You know, how to a good idea for a smartphone, Blackberry, Palm pilot, but apple made it just a little bit better and then they didn’t have to sell it sold itself. So you could always tweak your product to be better. And the innovation doesn’t just have to be about the product. It could be smarter ways to going to market motivating your team, thinking about all the things to basically improve your business by adapting and in a time period of now the chaos that we’re in while all those tactics and tools could really be helpful. Yeah, I

Nathan:
Agree. It’s um, it’s yeah. It’s one of those things where it’s a mindset shift, right?

Jeremy:
Absolutely. It’s a sort of continual improvement, but, but it’s also one that’s sort of ripe for this time period that we’re in today. Yeah. I agree

Nathan:
So much opportunity right now. Okay. So, um, yeah, Luca we’ll work towards wrapping up. Jeremy. This has been a fantastic conversation, really enjoyed talking with you. You’ve been so generous with your time. Um, two last questions, one, any final words of wisdom that you’d like to share with our audience of early stage startup founders and then to where’s the best place people can find out about more of your work at, uh, you know, trend hunter or create the future or any of your other books, or I know you have conferences, you have all sorts of things going on.

Jeremy:
Well, the simplest thing I would say is that you’re capable of more than you think. So the question is, what other opportunity do you have? It’s so close within your grasp and you can get there, but it takes effort. So how are you going to push harder, act sooner, fail faster and never give up because you truly can get to those higher levels. If you want to find more from me, you can visit trend hunter.com where you’ll find all my contact info are free, future festivals or webinars, all sorts of keynotes I have. And if you want to see my life work, my textbook or a visual handbook on innovation and change is create the future tactics for disruptive thinking. And you can pick it up pretty much anywhere.

Nathan:
Amazing. Well, look, thank you so much for your time. Jeremy was absolute pleasure.

Jeremy:
All right. Thank you very much. Have a great day.

Nathan:
Hey guys, hope you’re loving your videos and you’re getting heaps of value from them. If you are, make sure to hit the like button and make sure to subscribe, to join the Foundr fam. And if there’s any burning questions you have, make sure to leave them below in the comments. If you did enjoy this video and want to continue to master your skills, make sure you click here to access your free training. Now we’ll go into way more depth with this founder. See you there.

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