Earlier this week I sent the 200th edition of my weekly Non-Obvious Insights email and my book Non-Obvious Megatrends just launched on Tuesday so there is lots happening this week!
Thank you to everyone who has already bought the book and shared their review. Last night I found out with hit #1 in about fifteen categories on Amazon, #2 overall in the Business category (behind the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People) and the Top 25 of ALL books on Amazon.
In honor of launch this week, I thought I would share some fascinating stories from the week organized in terms of each of the ten megatrends from my latest book. I hope you enjoy the stories this week and if you happen to live in one of the cities where we are having launch events coming up (DC, NY, Boston, Orange County, Seattle, SF or Cincinnati) – then perhaps we might meet up in person!
Non-Obvious Megatrend #1 – Amplified Identity
There were two elements of this megatrend that came out in the news this week. The first was an interesting exploration from Psychology Today on whether the extreme social withdrawal of the Hikkomori in Japan (which I also wrote about in the chapter) may be leading to a global epidemic of isolation. Another side of this megatrend is the importance of our online selves to our overall identity, and there was a story about new survey results from Kaplan suggesting that universities are once again using social media profiles to help evaluate college applicants.
Non-Obvious Megatrend #2 – Instant Knowledge
People expect to learn everything faster and are frustrated when they can’t. This story about Captain America actor Chris Evans was a perfect example of Instant Knowledge. Evans was frustrated by the length of Wikipedia entries on political topics and so he decided to create his own site to more simply explain complex issues. While this article snarkily called it “a vanity project to save democracy,” we’ll likely see more efforts like this in the coming months.
Non-Obvious Megatrend #3 – Ungendering
Every week there seem to be several stories about gender issues and how our culture seems to be evolving. This week was no different with a story about a new single from rapper Saucy Santana suggesting that anyone of any gender could be a “material girl.” This week Gucci also unveiled their Winter 2020 menswear fashion line – featuring a rebuke of toxic masculinity and including plenty of ungendered options.
Non-Obvious Megatrend #4 – Revivalism
It’s a good week for remakes and we’re just a week away from the new Star Trek show bringing back Patrick Stewart as Picard (which I’m insanely excited about) and the network already renewed for a second season. NBC is even talking about doing a remake of Quantum Leap.
Non-Obvious Megatrend #5 – Human Mode
There are continually stories of the power of human connection and authenticity and this week I loved this story about Brazilian photographer Angélica Dass who is “on a mission to capture examples of every skin color in the world, to prove that diversity goes beyond the standard confines of white, black, red, and yellow.” You can check out her collection of images here. (HT to my friend Gautam Gulati for sharing this story.)
Non-Obvious Megatrend #6 – Attention Wealth
Trust is hard and skepticism is high. This megatrend talks about both and so there were plenty of related stories this week that brought it to life. In one example, Instagram announced they would start hiding Photoshopped images. Another story focused on Nordstrom’s renewed efforts to create a more experiential retail experience to stand out. And my friends over the Future of Storytelling spotlighted a very cool new augmented reality experience called the Museum of the Hidden City which is worth checking out.
Non-Obvious Megatrend #7 – Purposeful Profit
The importance of brand purpose in an era of empowered consumers is the focus of this megatrend, and this week marketing publication The Drum explored this idea of the rise of the conscious consumer. In other news, Amazon was widely criticized for Jeff Bezos’ relatively small contribution to Australian bushfires and an excellent Vox article pointed to a key factor being Bezos’ reputation as one of the world’s stingiest billionaires.
Non-Obvious Megatrend #8 – Data Abundance
Data stories tend to be quite black and white – there are big breaches of data or smart uses of it. This week there was a positive story of how India’s top banks are launching a system that gives consumers access to their own financial data along with the ability to share it instantly. At the same time, a new story broke about how Grindr and Tinder are selling user’s personal data.
Non-Obvious Megatrend #9 – Protective Tech
Technology is getting smarter and more proactive about protecting us in every situation. That’s a key idea from this megatrend and it was perfectly demonstrated in the story this week of how Microsoft is trying to improve child abuse detection by opening it’s Xbox chat tool to other companies.
Non-Obvious Megatrend #10 – Flux Commerce
The central idea behind this megatrend is that the lines between what used to be different industries are starting to blur. In yet another example of this, Warner Brothers film studio announced this week that they signed a deal with Cinelytic, a machine learning startup that uses AI to predict a film’s commercial success.