By January 7, 2013 Read More →

Trends for 2013: The Rise of the Entrepreneur

trends for 2013

The purpose of this post is to inspire you with what’s possible in 2013 and help you reimagine your future.

2013 is the year of the entrepreneur.

No matter where I look, innovation is hot.  With extreme economic pressures, ultra competition, and people asked to do more with less, innovation is in demand to find new ways to do things better, faster, and cheaper.  With the power of the Cloud and social computing, smart people can spin up businesses that reach around the world in a more cost effective way than ever before.  Throw in the pains and opportunities in the education and health arena, and it’s set to be a year of great change.

This year is clearly the rise of the entrepreneur, and innovation is the name of the game.  Just remember that the game keeps changing.  And, “agile” is the way to play, if you want to thrive for the long haul.

The Balcony View for 2013

Each year, one of the most important posts I write is the key the trends for the year. At the start of the year, I take a step back and take a balcony view of what’s going on. I look for key trends in the consumer space, the Enterprise space, and select industries to identify interesting patterns that are relevant for work and life.

This is my roundup of key trends for 2013.

Before I even start to talk about trends, I should probably take a step back and share why trends matter, why I do this, and how I do this. I’m a big believer in looking for trends, over fads. Faith Popcorn of BrainReserve, describes trends in this way:

“Our Trends are not fads. Our Trends endure. Our Trends evolve. They represent underlying forces, first causes, basic human needs, attitudes, aspirations. They help us navigate the world, understand what’s happening and why, and prepare for what is yet to come.”

The Power of Trends

Long ago, Tony Robbins convinced me that the best way to rise above the noise in life is to look for trends. They help you anticipate and see things in advance. Rather than be surprised or side-swiped by changes, you can actually anticipate them. Even when you don’t know exactly how things will go, you start to know what to look for, and you can play “what ifs.” The Art of the Long View teaches us that we can’t predict the future, but we can play out the “What If’s.” Smart companies use scenario planning to dream up new products or processes, and how to respond to potential disrupters.

Smart people use trends to play out possibilities for work and life.

Trends help you explore, check, and validate your path – everything from where to live, to what jobs might exist (or go away), where to go to school, what to learn next, etc.

I focus on trends help you get an edge, and better anticipate and respond to potential changes, opportunities, and pains with the changing landscape.

My Approach for Trends

I don’t just sit back, smoke a pipe, and dream of what’s to come. Instead, “I do the work,” Steven Pressfield style. I get curious, creative, and connected. I use data. I look to key sources and the sources of sources. For example, I talk to accountants to find out what’s working in terms of making money and small business ventures. After all, they have the balcony view across many clients. They have the numbers on what works and what doesn’t.

On the technology front, I like to find out what CIOs are investing and betting on. That helps me see where technology is going and how big businesses might change shape. I also take a look at platform and platform bets to figure out where the money, attention, and growth will go. I also like to see what analyst firms like Gartner, are saying. I also like to find out what’s going on the world, according to IBM, especially because they stay connected with C-level executives.

On the consumer side, I check out consumer trends to see how they might impact interesting industries and how they might shape the Enterprise.

To make sense of what I see, I look for values. Values are a lightning rod. For example, some of the hot spots in the world today are employment, education, health, and natural resources. Where there are pains and needs there are opportunities, especially for innovation. I look for principles in action, shifts in power, and how the pendulum swings. For example, there are shifts in power from corporations to consumers, ventures capitalists to Entrepreneurs, book publishers to self-publishers, formal education to self-education, etc.

The most significant thing I do is synthesis.

Key People to Learn Trends From

This is my short list of who’s who in the zoo — key people that always provide insight into the world around us and the road ahead:

  • Al RiesAl Ries has written some amazing guest posts for me.  He is a legendary marketing strategist and a best-selling author.  He’s also the guy that taught the world about positioning in the mind, and that “to build a brand, you narrow the focus.”
  • Eben Pagan – Eben Pagan’s life work has focused on understanding people, psychology, behavior, marketing and business. He’s featured in Tony Robbins’ The New Money Masters.
  • Guy KawasakiGuy Kawasaki is a best-selling author and was the chief evangelist of Apple.  He pays attention to how technology impacts our lives and changes the world.
  • Faith PopcornFaith Popcorn is the “Trend Oracle.”  Faith is key strategist for BrainReserve and trusted advisor to the CEOs of The Fortune 500.  She’s identified movements such as, “Cocooning,” “AtmosFear,” “Anchoring,” “99 Lives,” “Icon Toppling” and “Vigilante Consumer.”
  • Jim CarrollJim Carroll is a world-leading futurist, trends, and innovation expert, with a track record for strategic insight.  He is author of the book The Future Belongs to Those Who Are Fast, and he shares major trends, as well as trends by industry, on his site.
  • Robert ScobleRobert Scoble is an avid tech trend hunter.  He often sees ripples and changes coming in IT (Information Technology) long before others do.  He draws from a lot of sources and stays connected so he can take a balcony view of the technical landscape.
  • Rohit BhargavaRohit Bhargava is a Professor of Global Marketing at Georgetown University and author of Personality Not Included, LikeOnomics, and 15 Marketing Trends In 2013 And How Your Business Can Use Them.  He tries to help companies be more human.
  • Sandy CarterSandy Carter is IBM Vice President  of Social Business and Collaboration, and author of The New Language of Marketing 2.0, The New Language of Business, and Get Bold: Using Social Media to Create a New Type of Social Business.  She’s not just fun to read or watch – she has some of the best insight on social innovation.
  • Seth GodinSeth Godin is author of The Icarus Deception, The Dip, Small is the New Big, IdeaVirus, and other favorites.  He says a lot with a little, but that’s just another reminder that it’s value, not volume.  And yet Seth has mastered volume, too.   He’s very good at tuning in to what counts, testing ideas, and spreading ideas in a viral way.
  • Tim O’ReillyTim O’Reilly is the founder and CEO of O’Reilly Media, Inc.  He’s baked sustainable innovation into his business philosophy and culture.  One of the ways Tim stays ahead of the curve is with Foo Camp.  Tim started Foo Camp as a way to foster cross-pollination between people and technologies  to help create and see the future.
  • Tony RobbinsTony Robbins is author of Unlimited Power and Awaken the Giant Within.  In the bigger picture, Tony is a strategic advisor to leaders around the world, an authority in peak performance, a humanitarian, a successful business strategist, philanthropist, international best-selling author, an award winning speaker, and an innovator in psychology and intervention.   Tony is a source of sources, he is always tapped into what matters in the world around us, and he knows how to shape destiny.

Key Sources to Learn Trends From

This is my short-list of key sources that help shed light on where the world is going and what the future has in store for us:

Trends for 2013

Before we begin, let’s take a step back to look as some of the key mega-trends that shape our “tech meets life” world and our ever-blending reality.  In IBM’s Fast Track to the Future: The 2012 IBM Tech Trends Report, IBM identifies the top four mega-trends:

  1. Business analytics
  2. Cloud
  3. Mobile
  4. Social

They also identify a significant skills gap, as well as adoption and deployment gaps in these areas.

With those as key themes in the technology space, let’s dive in and take a look at some of the key trends shaping our world in business and in life:

  1. A Deepening Mobile Reliance — It’s always with you. Take it wherever you go. In their article, 10 Trends CIOs Should Watch in 2013, CIO Insight says, “According to Gartner, mobile devices will overtake PCs in 2013 as the most likely way employees will access the Internet. That will increase a company’s reliance on handsets and tablets, and force CIOs to determine which products are right for their employees.”
  2. A Lot More Noise in Your Life – Expect a lot more noise. In the article, Scoble’s Prediction for a Lot More Noise in Your Life, Dorie Clark writes, “If you’re not facing similar overload now, there’s a good chance you will soon. … with smartphones and sensors, expect the volume to be turned up significantly.” A while back, Clay Shirkey pointed out that we need to think about the problem as filter failure – “Thinking about information overload isn’t accurately describing the problem; thinking about filter failure is.”
  3. Actionable Analytics – In their article Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2013, Gartner says, “Analytics is increasingly delivered to users at the point of action and in context.” Location-aware and context relevant will continue to provide deeper, more personable, more specific, more actionable insight.
  4. Again Made Here – In 10 Crucial Consumer Trends for 2013, Trend Watching.com writes, “The perfect storm of consumers’ ever-greater lust for NEWISM and niches, the expectation of (instantly!) getting just the right product, ongoing eco-concerns and the desire for more interesting stories will all combine with the spread of new local manufacturing technologies such as 3D-printing and make-on-demand, to trigger a resurgence in domestic manufacturing in established markets in 2013.”
  5. Agile goes mainstream — Businesses and individuals are looking for ways to become more agile. I’ve seen this coming for a long time. I was lucky enough to work with some of the early Agile thought leaders, including Ward Cunningham, father of Wikimedia (the platform that runs Wikipedia.) I was on the patterns & practices team for several years, and we were an early adopter of Agile methods at Microsoft. Now, businesses around the world are asking how they can go Agile and achieve business agility. I’ve also seen an uptake in my book, Getting Results the Agile Way, which is about “Agile for Life.” I’ve done several talks on Agile Results, and I already have more scheduled for this year.
  6. Benefit Brands — According to the Trend Hunter 2013 Trend Report Reading Sample, Benefit Brands are “Social cause companies badging themselves with B Corp certification.” Here’s what they say: “B Corp certification is a new accreditation given to companies that use the power of business toward social and environmental issues. … this new level of certification stands to change the way social businesses — and perhaps even profit-driven businesses — are created and operated, as well as redefine business success in today’s socially conscious society.”
  7. Better, faster, cheaper – You used to have to choose. As a consumer, you are really in the driver’s seat and can choose better, faster, and cheaper products. As a producer, you can deliver better, faster, cheaper thanks to a mash up of ultra-competition, a digital economy, digital processes and products, dynamic software, the Ubiquitous Web, a global, connected market, and strategic sourcing and outsourcing.
  8. Big Data — In her article on Venture Beat, Robert Scoble and Guy Kawasaki on the Technology Trends that Will Shape the Future, Christina Farr writes, “’We are seeing weird databases spring up like mushrooms,’ said Scoble. These include NoSQL, Firebase, and MongoDB. Big data is far more than just an enterprise mega-trend; it is paving the way for innovation in healthcare and education.”
  9. Bionic Senses – I their executive summary of their 5 in 5 Series on key trends that will impact the future, the IBM research team writes, “emerging technologies will continue to push the boundaries of human limitations to enhance and augment our senses with machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), advanced speech recognition and more. No need to call for Superman when we have real super senses at hand.” Explore the five trends and articles to learn more: 1) Touch: You will be able to touch people through your phone, 2) Sight: A pixel will be worth a thousand words, 3) Hearing: Computers will hear what matters, 4) Taste: Digital taste buds will help you eat smarter, 5) Smell: Computers will have a sense of smell.
  10. Change Outpaces Adoption — Cycles of change speed up even more thanks to technology, competition, and a connected world that’s “always on.” Life cycles shift to warp speed and lines blur between versions, creating living, breathing products. This creates pressure to master change management, adopt more Agile methods, figure out compliance and governance for the new landscape. In Consumption Economics: The New Rules of Tech, J.B. Wood shares how change outpaces adoption. Adoption is the bottleneck now. Customers won’t want more features until they can successfully consume the business value of your products they already have. Adoption and change leadership become key enablers and critical to the success of product companies in a digital economy of “pay for play.”
  11. Changing the Way We Pay – In U.S. E-commerce trend forecast for 2013, according to Rakuten, “The choice of payment methods that retailers can offer to consumers seems to be constantly evolving and it’s often make or break in a purchase decision. Alongside the growth of mobile transactions, NFC, and contactless payment methods could dramatically change how people pay for products.”
  12. Cloud Goes Mainstream – Cloud is everywhere. More businesses will “move to the Cloud,” “use the Cloud,” or “be the Cloud.” Expect to see more app stuff available from the Cloud. We’ll also see the growth of personal clouds.
  13. Consumerization of IT — A while back, Gartner said Consumerization Will Be Most Significant Trend Affecting IT During Next 10 Years … I think we will continue to see this trend accelerate.
  14. Context is Everywhere — It’s the rise of relevancy.  In their book, Age of Context, Robert Scoble and Shel Israel write about five radically expanding technologies:  1 ) Sensors 2) Wearable computing, 3) Big Databases 4) Social network behavior, 5) Location.
  15. Context-Relevant Shopping – It’s like a buyer-aware ballroom and relevancy is king. In her article Commerce Weekly: Predicting 2013, Jenn Webb summarizes insight from PayPal president, David Marcus: “He sees cash registers going mobile, with customers able to pay from the store aisle or even the changing room, and predicts location-aware and context-relevent shopping and payments will be more disruptive than many now expect.”
  16. Custowners and Presumers – In 10 Crucial Consumer Trends for 2013, Trend Watching.com writes, “As consumers will embrace even more ways to participate in the funding, launch and growth of (new) products and brands that they love, expect pre-ordering, crowdfunding and consumer equity to compete with traditional consumption in 2013.”
  17. Digital Economy – The future is here, as money, jobs, and value go digital. Bill Gates talked about a digital economy in The Road Ahead. Back in 1997, In his book, The Digital Economy: Promise and Peril In The Age of Networked Intelligence, Don Tapscott talked about how how “children, empowered by new technology, are taking the reigns from their boomer parents and making inroads into all areas of society, including our education system, the government, and economy.”
  18. Digital Health — This is where cloud, BI/analytics and diagnostics can seriously change the game. There is also a shift to more user empowerment. For example, if you take a stroll through Best Buy, you might notice the expanding Digital Health shelf. This is an area where more people may start to outsource their health to smart applications that can see patterns, provide monitoring, and alerts.
  19. Disruptive Innovation – Disruption can be your friend, unless you’re on the receiving end.  What you don’t expect, can hurt you.  While you can’t be ready for everything, you can be *ready for anything*, and even just reading about trends help you prepare for the possibilities.  The Insight Centre says there are three kinds of disruptive innovation: 1) Low-end disruptions, 2) New-market disruptions, and 3) Next generation breakthroughs.  Low-end disruptive innovation, pioneered by Clayton Christensen is where new market entrants can establish “new performance attributes that are now more relevant than those offered by the traditional market leaders – e.g. low costs or convenience.”   With new-market disruptions, “’Non-consumers’ instead of low-end customers are the target. By addressing a niche of people who currently do not consume the traditional product, organizations can create a new niche market.”
  20. Do-It-Yourself (DIY) – From self-reliance, to self-sustainable, to self-education, to you name it.   With so much access to free information and expertise around the world, it’s easier than ever to be a polymath or a Renaissance Man.  What do you want to learn, today?
  21. Do-It-Yourself Education – DIY education and education transformation is hot.  People aren’t getting the skills they need from traditional sources, or can’t afford the cost and time of traditional paths.  Expect more education reform, with strategies like “Learner-First.” Expect innovation in everything from “school at your own pace” to school on your terms to online mini-classes to everyone with experience and skills can be a mentor.  In his book, Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns Clayton Christensen writes about how technology can better serve students and bring our schools into the 21st Century.  Bill Gate’s favorite teacher, Sal  Khan created Khan Academy.  The Khan Academy is the free classroom for the world with hundreds of free videos and exercises and it’s mission is to provide a world-class education to anyone, anywhere.   In his MIT Challenge, Scott Young shares his story of self-education where he learns the entire 4-year MIT curriculum for computer science, without taking any classes, in under a year.
  22. Dynamic PLAs (Product-Line Architectures) – For tech companies around the world, the potential for specialization and customization is the way of the future .  With software, it’s possible to provide mass customization. While physical products are hard to customize and specialize, software can be easily customized and specialized at scale. Common software applications can be extended with configurable knobs and switches, and adds-ons, to stretch to a niche-like solution, for a whole lot of niches. Dynamic PLAs (Product-Line Architectures) will become a more popular term as software companies figure out how to extend their baseline applications and platforms to more dynamic and configurable product-lines. Mike Hinchey, Sooyong Park, and Klaus Schmid wrote an article for Computer magazine, on dynamic PLAs, titled, Building Dynamic Software Product Lines that elaborates on this topic.
  23. Enterprise App Stores – This is big. In their article Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2013, Gartner says, “By 2014, Gartner believes that many organizations will deliver mobile applications to workers through private application stores. With enterprise app stores the role of IT shifts from that of a centralized planner to a market manager providing governance and brokerage services to users and potentially an ecosystem to support apptrepreneurs.”
  24. Entrepreneur Power — The power has shifted from investors to entrepreneurs. In her article on Venture Beat, Robert Scoble and Guy Kawasaki on the Technology Trends that Will Shape the Future, Christina Farr writes, “Kawakasi, who recently authored a book on the practice of self-publishing, talked about how the power has shifted from venture capitalists to entrepreneurs. ‘You can do a lot of damage for $50,000,’ he said. For entrepreneurs, it’s cheaper and easier than ever before to bootstrap a technology company.”
  25. Everything is a Prototype – Our world is a work in progress.   Think iterative and incremental as we unfold the future.  In Building a Better Beta, Faith Popcorn writes, “We are living in a beta world. Economic instability, political upheaval and environmental corruption, combined with an unprecedented access to information, technology and resources, have created a new class of citizen; architects of a new reality. We call them the beta-tects.”
  26. Free – More value is given away for free than ever before. Partly, it’s because it’s possible – digital products, digital distribution, and a digital economy make this possible. Partly, it’s because it’s a way to compete or to build awareness.
  27. Going Private in Public – In their 10 Trends for 2013 report, JWT Intelligence says that “In an age when living publicly is being the default, people are finding creative ways to carve out private places in their lives.” This trend is true in the Cloud, too. Individuals and businesses want more control, along with the convenience and agility of the Cloud. The time is ripe for Enterprises to move to the cloud, and private clouds and integration will be key stepping stones.
  28. Innovation is “En Fuego.”  Innovation is hot.   It’s everywhere.  People are looking for better, faster, cheaper … and different.  Businesses are looking for ways to innovate in their process, and their products.  People are innovating in their lives, whether it’s education, health, or how to make a living.
  29. Instant Impact – A shot can be heard around the world … faster, louder, than ever before.
  30. Intelligent Agents – Get bots to do it for you.  In his article for Redmondmag.com, Microsoft Predictions for Itself, Kurt Mackie writes: “… according to Ballmer’s November 28 address … The second big area is making technology more intuitive and able to do what we mean and act on our behalf instead of at our command by using new technologies in the area of what we call machine learning and big data.”
  31. IT as a Service – This one is big. I’ve seen this first-hand in the making over the past few years. Rather than build or host your own IT (Information Technology), you consume it from other sources, that specialize in it, that are better, faster, and cheaper. A business can literally leap frog its IT capabilities by consuming services in the Cloud. I’ve helped multiple customers make this transition over the past few years, and it’s game changing. It’s ripe for innovation, and it’s a pillar in our emerging digital economy.
  32. Imposed Interaction – Workplace designers are figuring out smarter ways for collaboration, creativity, and productivity.  According to the Trend Hunter 2013 Trend Report Reading Sample, Imposed Interaction is “Designers create workspaces that force collaboration and idea-sharing.” The big idea is this: “Research suggests that the more people in a work environment are forced to interact and converse, the more innovative ideas will be created. Studies in this area have concluded that knowledge transfer of any kind can stimulate people to think more creatively — seemingly unrelated conversations can often lead to moments of insight. To this end, augmenting worker interaction is becoming a primary goal of workplace design as more brands begin welcoming these interaction-promoting areas instead of looking at them as places of unproductive socializing.”
  33. Intrapreneurs – Be indispensable to your company. According to The American Heritage Dictionary, an intrapreneur is “a person within a large corporation who takes direct responsibility for turning an idea into a profitable finished product through assertive risk-taking and innovation”. Seth Godin popularized the idea in Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? According to Linchpin, “There used to be two teams in every workplace: management and labor. Now there’s a third team, the linchpins. These people figure out what to do when there’s no rule book. They delight and challenge their customers and peers. They love their work, pour their best selves into it, and turn each day into a kind of art.” Best of all, “Linchpins get the best jobs and the most freedom.”
  34. It’s a Gamer’s World. I don’t just mean Farmville. It’s like Second Life meets the real world. With virtual goods on the rise, and more people connecting and having fun through games online, it’s a sweet spot for innovation. To fully appreciate why it’s a gamer’s world, check out Jane McGonigal’s TED Talk on How Gaming Can Make a Better World. (Here’s the gist — Games like World of Warcraft give players the means to save worlds and the incentive to learn the habits of heroes. What if we could harness this gamer power to solve real-world problems?) I expect more lines to blur with work and fun and edutainment, as companies find ways to use gaming approaches to motivate today’s Web worker world. It’s gamer + education + business + life.
  35. Jobless, Economic Recovery – Businesses will do better, employees will not. Businesses will do more with less, including less people. More processes will be automated, the digital way.   More people will have to find a way to create their own jobs, and Entrepreneurs that create jobs for others, or help others create their own jobs, will be gold.
  36. Manufactured Addiction — According to the Trend Hunter 2013 Trend Report Reading Sample, Manufactured Addiction is, “Gamified shopping keeps customers hooked & coming back for more.” Here’s what they say: “An increasing number of websites are gamifying shopping, which, psychologically, can cause buying addiction. These sites include ‘flash shopping’ sites with limited-time sales that make us feel a thrill when we buy something against a ticking clock, rewards-based sites that offer points in return for purchases, and deal-based sites like Plukka, in which the excitement is based on getting a great deal only if enough people agree to buy.”
  37. MeFunding – Dream it.  Fund it.  In 15 Marketing & Business Trends in 2013 that Will Change Your Business, Rohit Bhargava writes, “Crowdfunding evolves beyond films or budding entrepreneus to offer anyone the opportunity to seek ‘me-funding’ to do anything from taking a life changing trip to funding a college education.”
  38. Method Consulting – Share your “secret sauce” with the world.  In 15 Marketing & Business Trends in 2013 that Will Change Your Business, Rohit Bhargava writes, “Successful entrepreneurs and companies create ‘on-the-side’ consulting models to help others duplicate their success.” In addition to Disney, Bhargava shares a few great examples of how companies are actually doing this. My favorite was his write up on MindValley Insights : “Instead of selling their know-how in the publishing and personal development space — Independent publisher Mindvalley took the unheard of step of open sourcing their entire business model and all the tools and resources they use.”
  39. Microinnovation – Little changes add up.  In 15 Marketing & Business Trends in 2013 That Will Change Your Business, Rothi Bhargava writes, “Thinking small becomes the new competitive advantage as slight changes to features or benefits create big value.”
  40. Micropayments – One of my colleagues, Imran Anwar, has been beating this drum for a while, and I see it in action. Imagine the buzz here whether it’s the banking industry, PayPal, mobile phones replacing credit cards, etc. People like to shop, but they don’t like to pay, so reducing friction is a way to radically change behavior – like a slippery slope.
  41. Millennial Madness — According to the Trend Hunter 2013 Trend Report Reading Sample, Millennial Madness is “Focusing on the Gen Y segment to better understand burgeoning needs & demands.”
  42. NUI experiences — NUI (Natural User Interface) is in. Great user experiences are the differentiator that drive adoption and make things stick. This is a great area for innovation, principles, patterns, and practices to change the game.
  43. Open World — Optimize for open over closed.  One of the way so win in today’s world is to build great experiences on top of open standards.
  44. Partnership Publishing — In 15 Marketing & Business Trends in 2013 That Will Change Your Business, Rothi Bhargava says, “Aspiring authors and publishing professionals team up to create a new “do-it-together” models of publishing.” You can see this in action with Seth Godin’s The Domino Project: “The Domino Project is a new way to think about publishing. Founded by Seth Godin and powered by Amazon, we’re trying to change the way books are built, sold and spread.”
  45. Peer Power – In their 10 Trends for 2013 report, JWT Intelligence says, “The peer-to-peer marketplace is expanding in size and scope, moving beyond goods to wide range of services. We’ll see it start to upend major industries, from hospitality and education, to tourism and transportation.”
  46. Perfect Competition – According to Economics Online, perfect competition is “ a hypothetical market where competition is at its greatest possible level. Neo-classical economists argued that perfect competition would produce the best possible outcomes for consumers, and society.”
  47. Personal Cloud –Stick your stuff in the sky.  Get it from anywhere.  In their article Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2013, Gartner says, “The personal cloud will gradually replace the PC as the location where individuals keep their personal content, access their services and personal preferences and center their digital lives. It will be the glue that connects the web of devices they choose to use during different aspects of their daily lives. The personal cloud will entail the unique collection of services, Web destinations and connectivity that will become the home of their computing and communication activities.”
  48. Personal Curration – Personal information management gets extreme.  More people have more stuff to manage.  This is another area ripe for innovation.   In The personal curation of digital objects: A lifecycle approach, Peter Williams, Jeremy Leighton John, Ian Rowland, write: “This paper aims to set out a coherent intellectual framework to help to better understand how people create, organize, manage, use and dispose of their personal digital archives. The context for this is the increasing volume and diversity of digital information objects being captured and stored by individuals in their personal capacities and the need to find ways to preserve this material for posterity.”
  49. Personal Platforms – From blogs, to Twitter, to Facebook, to Linked-In … more people are recognizing the power of a personal platform whether it’s for spreading your message, building your brand, or selling information products to your tribe of raving fans.  In his book, Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World, Michael Hyatt shows us what “best-selling authors, public speakers, entrepreneurs, musicians, and other creatives are doing differently to win customers in today’s crowded marketplace.”
  50. Physical Virtual — According to the Trend Hunter 2013 Trend Report Reading Sample, Physical Virtual is “Providing both an augmented reality and tangible experience in one.” Here’s what they say: “… bridging the gap between the physical retail store and the completely virtual shop are ‘stores’ that provide a physical environment but virtual, or augmented reality, goods. This combination of virtual and physical works to satiate the appetite for virtuality while at the same time providing the comforting aspects of a physical environment.”
  51. Reputation based – Recommend this, Like that.  Plus this.  It’s reputations that cut through the clutter and rise to the top, helped by word-of-mouth marketing and raving fans.  Metrics like Net Promoter Score become an even more important indicator of success.
  52. Servant Leadership – Stephen Covey wrote of the road ahead:  “the Age of Wisdom, in my opinion, will follow the Age of Information, where the essence of leadership will be to be a servant leader.”  In, The Servant as Leader, Robert K. Greenleaf, says: “It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions.”
  53. Showrooming — One of my colleagues has been educating people on the rise of showrooming. Showrooming is where you browse without buying in a traditional brick-and-mortar retail store, but then buy online. For example, shop around in Best Buy, but then you purchase on Amazon. In fact, a great article on this is Showrooming is Real, Best Buy is the Big Loser, and Amazon is Eating Everyone’s Lunch. Retailers fight back by slashing prices, adding more value-added services in the store, and taking advantage of location, context, and convenience.
  54. Skills-for-Hire-Economy – Got skill?  Specialization, market maturity and rapid cycles of change drive a demand for key skills.  Companies want to hire people that have done exactly this, or exactly that, and can deliver better, faster, cheaper because of deep experience and expertise.  It’s also a world where you can sell your skills online around the world … think eLance, oDesk, 99Designs, etc.  The key is to balance “generalist” skills in business and technology, along with specialized skills that the market values.
  55. Small is the New Big – Think small to go big!  In Small is the New Big, Seth Godin shares “how small companies with targeted ideas and savvy marketing are turning out to be the next ‘big’ thing.”
  56. Social HR – Here’s that social + analytics theme again. In Top 13 Social Business Trends in 2013, Sandy Carter writes, “In 2013, we believe that social will revolutionize this process. HR leverages external networks for recruiting, retention and employee brand monitoring. Emerging education networks and mobility channels create new options for learning. To have more analytics, matching culture to the person and their talents can make more companies more competitive.”
  57. Solopreneurs – Between the digital age, the Web on your side, social computing, virtual workforces, Cloud computing, and personal platforms, now is the time to call your own shots.  According to Urban Dictionary, a solopreneur is “An entrepreneur who works alone, “solo,” running their business single-handedly. They might have contractors for hire, yet have full responsibility for the running of their business.”
  58. Smart Cities – Is your city smarter than a 5th grader?   What better place to innovate and raise the quality of living than right in your home town.   According to Wikipedia, “the ‘smart city’ has been introduced as a strategic device to encompass modern urban production factors in a common framework and to highlight the growing importance of Information Technologies, social and environmental capital in profiling the competitiveness of cities. The significance of these two assets – social and environmental capital – itself goes a long way to distinguish smart cities from their more technology-laden counterparts, drawing a clear line between them and what goes under the name of either digital or intelligent cities.”
  59. Specialization Over Generalization – In a world of better, faster, cheaper, it’s specialization that gets you there.  That’s why small is the new big.  That’s why relevancy is king.  That’s why context matters.  That’s how maturity in a niche plays out – it gets more specific.  If you want to master something, you don’t generalize, you specialize.  The world wants more mastery.
  60. Storytelling – More individuals and businesses will change the world by telling and selling their stories. Rohit Bhargava writes, “Organizations uncover that one of their greatest assets to inspire loyalty can come from taking people behind the scenes of their brand and history.”  In their new book, Stories That Move Mountains, Martin Sykes, Nicklas Malik, and Mark West share the CAST (Content, Audience, Story, & Tell) method to help you sell your ideas and trigger change in your organization. In his book, Start with Why, Simon Sinek shares an approach you can use to inspire action. In my talk on Getting Results the Agile Way, I lead with “Be the author of your life and write your story forward”, and I show people how to use three stories to drive their day, their week, their month, and their year.
  61. Subscription World – There’s a subscription for that.  According to the Trend Hunter 2013 Trend Report Reading Sample, a Subscription World is where “Busy consumers look to on-demand niche services for convenience.” Here’s what they say: “… a new wave of subscription-based services have hit the marketplace, offering all types of products and packages catered to different consumer groups. In today’s world of busy schedules and on-the-go living, such targeted subscription services are exactly what convenience-minded consumers are looking for.”
  62. The Age of the Conducer – Consumers create without starting from scratch. In MIA Wombat, Age of Conducer, Mia says, “Virtual worlds such as SL introduces a new genre of experience where consumption and production are synonymous, where we as consumers buy into a piece of entertainment to produce our own entertainment . This hybrid role of a consumer/producer has been described as that of a ‘conducer.’”
  63. The Age of Insight – According to Stephen Covey, the Age of Wisdom (or Insight), will follow the Age of Information. Covey wrote, “I suggest it will be wisdom. Unless you have have principles at the center of a person’s heart and soul and in the relationships and culture of an organization, you cannot build high trust. And without high trust you cannot have empowerment. When rules take the place of human judgment, you can’t nurture a climate of innovation and creativity; instead you will nurture a kiss-up culture. Without high trust and aligned structures and systems based on an abundance paradigm, you cannot get TQM or quality. Of necessity, the Age of Wisdom, in my opinion, will follow the Age of Information, where the essence of leadership will be to be a servant leader.”
  64. The Greater Good – As connections get stronger, the world gets smaller.  What goes around comes around … Faster than ever before.   The world wants more good … more good for people … more good for the environment … more good in general.  When something’s not good for other people or not good for the world, people will know and share it faster.
  65. The New C-Suite – CxOs expand what they’re capable of.  In Top 13 Social Business Trends in 2013, Sandy Carter writes, “According to Sandy Carter, Social and social tools means that CMOs need to know more about Technology, and that CIOs need to understand more about how to engage clients, and marketing.”
  66. The Rise of Relevancy.  Relevancy is King.  If it’s not relevant, it doesn’t matter. People are looking for precision, where precision is filtering out everything that’s not relevant, or honing in on the most directly relevant things. From context-aware, to location-aware, to longer search-phrases with more specific terms, etc., the world is getting more specific.
  67. Tribes — Tribes are who you’re making your products for. Tribes are your network. You’ll find your next job through your tribe, or you’ll help members in your tribe find their next job. Seth Godin wrote about tribes in his book, Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us. The book description says it all: “Now the Internet has eliminated the barriers of geography, cost, and time. All those blogs and social networking sites are helping existing tribes get bigger. But more important, they’re enabling countless new tribes to be born, groups of ten or ten thousand or ten million who care about their iPhones, or a political campaign, or a new way to fight global warming.”
  68. Wearable Computing – Forget parachute pants and Pony sneakers with fat laces.  It’s high-tech gear time.  Maybe X-Ray Specs will finally work?  In 2013 – The Dawn of Wearable Computing, David Hill writes, “With so many developers, entrepreneurs, and hackers pushing into wearable computing, our relationship with technology is poised to change and change quickly. Once computers migrate from being next to us to being worn on us, how long before they become a part of us?” Hill provides a couple of possible examples: “Next year is shaping up to be all about headsets, but developers are looking into other ways to make computers wearable. A recently issued patent uncovered Google’s efforts to create a computer that would be a Minority Report-like Smart Glove. Another big player, Microsoft, is exploring a “wearable multitouch projector“, a device (possibly glasses or something else) that projects the screen outward, turning any surface into a touch interface.”
  69. Wellness Gaming – Get your game on to get your health on.   Maybe it’s time to win more health points and level up in life.  According to the Trend Hunter 2013 Trend Report Reading Sample, Wellness Gaming is “Enhancing health and providing treatment through games.” They say, “Video games are still considered by many consumers to be a waste of time, and while that might be the case for some games, there is a growing market for wellness-based games, which actually help to enhance a person’s quality of life. These games, whether they’re used for stress-relief, treatment, fitness or overall mental health, are products that appeal to people who would never classify themselves as typical ‘gamers.’”

Key Strategies for 2013

Here is a handful of strategies that you can scan through, sift, and draw from to inspire how you make the most of 2013:

  1. Adapt or Die — Darwin taught us long ago that it’s not the smartest or the strongest – it’s the most flexible: “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the most adaptable to change.”
  2. Adoption-First – Users wants friction-free experiences. They want to feel successful. Among a sea of choices, they want a great experience right off the bat. Don’t make them work, too hard. If they have a great experience, they’ll tell their friends. It’s word-of-mouth marketing at it’s best, and if you focus on adoption-first, you can build a tribe of raving fans, and experience more viral adoption. Adoption-First means planning and designing with adoption in mind. How many more ideas might survive or thrive if they started from an “Adoption-First” mindset with a  focus on friction-free adoption?
  3. Agile for Work and Life – Embrace change as a way of life.  Use change as a catalyst to create opportunities.  One way to gain agility is to chunk things down.   Instead of “big bang”, think “rolling thunder” or building momentum.  Another way to gain agility is to have smaller, lighter-weight plans.  You can be ready for anything if you embrace and expect change as a way of life, rather than fight it, or fear it.  Just think about the edge you’ll have in work and life, if you get change on your side.
  4. Be Everywhere – Don’t limit yourself to a single channel or a single arena.  There are so many channels and so many places and ways to show up.   Have you ever noticed how something suddenly shows up, and then it’s everywhere?   Better brands do this by design. Different animals want different watering holes.  Different people have different channels that they prefer.  Pat Flynn did an incredible talk for BlogWorld on “How To Be Everywhere” to help you “get off of that plateau and get back into growth mode.”  Pat is now working on a book entitled, Be Everywhere to show you how to expand beyond a blog to build a better platform and brand.
  5. Blue Oceans – Find Blue Oceans for your business.  Find Blue Oceans for you.  The big idea in Blue Ocean Strategy, by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne, is that you should create new demand in an uncontested market (a “Blue Ocean”), rather than compete head-to-head (the “Red Ocean.”) Long ago, in his book, The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding, Al Ries pointed out that on the Web, you need to be #1 in your niche. One of the ways to become #1 is to narrow your focus and narrow your niche. For example, you don’t compete with Amazon by being another book store on the Web. Instead, you specialize in, say Business Books, and be the best business books on the Web.
  6. Build a Beautiful Mind – In his book, How To Have a Beautiful Mind, Edward de Bono teaches us that the keys are: Explore ideas with others, appreciate alternate views, seek possibilities and alternatives, see shades of gray, and be interesting.
  7. Build a Better Brand – A simple way to start building a better brand is to think of 3-5 attributes you want the brand to be about.   In a noisy world, it’s brands that stand out and rise above the noise.  Better brands beat lesser brands.   Brands are force multipliers and amplifiers.  If you’ve ever had your reputation precede you in a good way, you know the power of a brand.  Hone your personal brand.   Make the most of what you’ve got and make sure your differentiation is obvious. For example, one of my differentiators is “agile” and at work, I’m known for driving “extreme customer value.”
  8. Business Agility – Business agility means the ability to change your process or change your product.  The key here is building a learning culture where you can learn and respond to insight.  The Cloud creates new opportunities for more business agility, but true agility comes through a combination of people, process, and technology.  If you have a culture that’s slow or risk averse or command-and-control, you’ll have a hard time competing in a rapidly evolving, connected world.
  9. Change Leadership – Change leadership is hot, especially given how bad change efforts can go when people don’t’ know what they’re doing.  Drive change with skill.  Did you know you could actually get certified in change leadership?  Instead of react or get run over by change, you can do it by design and actually lead change efforts with extreme skill. Think of all the failed change attempts that could be avoided.  For example, there are highly skilled, certified change leaders that can swoop in and lead change efforts with high success rates that change how thousands of people work.
  10. Cloud-Ready – Are you Cloud-ready?   Cloud is the biggest transformation in information technology.   Find ways to ride the wave.  The Cloud changes processes, products, and even jobs.  On the personal side, think about ways to simplify your life and simplify your information management with your personal Cloud.   On the business-side, think of ways to improve business agility and innovation with a “Business-Ready” Cloud, or a “Cloud-Ready “infrastructure.
  11. Collaborative Consumption – In the book What’s Mine Is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers champion the idea of collaborative consumption. Botsman says it’s a social revolution that allows people to “create value out of shared and open resources in ways that balance personal self-interest with the good of the larger community. In her Ted Talk, Botman said that “reputation capital creates a massive positive disruption in who has power, influence and trust.”, meaning that trust, across multiple platforms, would be the currency of a new collaborative economy.
  12. Collective Perspective –  Come at things from multiple angles and perspectives.  Embrace diversity.  Use diversity as your force multiplier.   On a personal level, this could be a simple as setting up your personal “board of advisors” — the people that you trust in your inner-circle to give you honest feedback.    On a leadership level, this could be as simple as creating a culture of diversity where diverse people, ideas, and approaches are valued.   As Ken Blanchard says, ““None of us is as smart as all of us.”
  13. Connect with Skill – If you build the right network, it can help you stay informed and ahead of the game.  When you look for jobs, it’s your network and what you know. In a skills-for-hire economy, your network is how you find the opportunities.  People hire people they know, over people they don’t.  Connect with your peers to survive and thrive in changing times and to enjoy the journey.  Connect up, down, and sideways to know what’s on the radar, what’s relevant, and where the insight and action is.
  14. Create Something Remarkable – To be remarkable, you can’t just be good.  You need to be really good.  And when you’re really good, they call you “Cracker Jack.”   In his book, Free Prize Inside: How To Make a Purple Cow, Seth Godin shows us how to create those nifty free prizes we got in cereal boxes or in Cracker Jacks.   The book description says, “We live in an era of too much noise, too much clutter, too many choices, and too much spam. … the old ways of marketing simply don’t work anymore. The best way to sell anything these days is through word of mouth—and the only real way to get word of mouth is to create something remarkable.”
  15. Data-Driven Decisions Win Over Guesswork.  It’s tough, especially when statistics lie and we want to trust our instincts over our indicators. Start by asking, how do the great businesses drive their great decisions? Between information markets and crowd sourced intelligence and social networking, the real issue is how you leverage the data and turn it into intelligent decisions and smart feedback loops, and how you learn and respond.
  16. Design for BI – Insight is where the action is. Focus on extreme insight.  Design for Business Intelligence.  What you don’t know can hurt you.  What you do know will help you survive and thrive in changing times.   Companies like Amazon and Google are extreme learning companies where business intelligence is by design.
  17. Do the Opposite – Sometimes your best strategy is to do the opposite. Doing the opposite can be a great way to differentiate (aka a “differentiation strategy.”)  If you can’t beat them, don’t join them.  Do the opposite.  Examples of doing the opposite might be simple Web pages over crazy busy ones, focus over fanning out., quality over quantity, etc.   If some of your strategies over the past year haven’t panned out for your, try doing the opposite.
  18. Empathy for Information –  Peter Drucker taught us long ago that you need empathy to make good decisions and to exercise good judgment.  In a world of information overload, empathy and experience will help you better prioritize.  To put it another way, it’s nearly impossible to know what’s really important when you don’t actually have any empathy.   That’s why people that build great products either hate the problem or love the solution.   They have empathy for it.  They live and breathe it.
  19. Energized Differentiation — According to John Gerzema and Ed Lebar, brands stand out by how they communicate excitement, dynamism, and creativity.  That’s energized differentiation.  It’s a big deal because there’s a direct link between energized differentiation and loyalty, pricing power, and brand value.  It’s also a big deal because it turns out that the classic way of measuring brand equity, by measuring 4 attributes (trust, awareness, regard, and esteem), just isn’t working anymore.
  20. Focus – If you want to stand out, zone in.  Focus can be a powerful way to amplify your impact.  In the age of distraction, individuals and businesses that focus will rise above the crowd.  Jon Gordon says it with the title of his article for Fast Company: The Most Productive Way to Meet Your Company’s Goals This Year: Choose Just One Word.   Sometimes the best way to focus is to find your one thing and live and breathe it.
  21. Follow the Growth — Follow your own growth, and follow the growth in the market. For example, in the tech industry some growth areas are mobile and cloud. Along these lines, create the growth.
  22. Follow the People — Great people have track records for a reason. Find the people who are connected and always seem to be ahead of the curve. Great ideas flow from great people and this is an idea economy.  If you take a look around, there are people that are going places.  You can help them get their.  They can lift you up.  As one of my friends puts it, “Ride the coat tails.”
  23. Get Back to the Basics — Practice the fundamentals. They work. Among the chaos, there are always core principles, patterns, and practices that you can bank on.
  24. Give Your Best Where You Have Your Best to Give — Share and scale your unique value with the world. If it doesn’t help you be your best, cut it out. This means living your values, and playing to your strengths. It also means giving your best where you have your best to give, as a person, and as a company. It’s how your survive, and it’s how you go from surviving to thriving. Any other way drains you in the long run and you get priced or pushed or competed out of the market. It’s the sustainable path.
  25. Grow your tribe of raving evangelists.  Expand your reach through affiliate marketers.  More individuals and more businesses are using affiliate marketing to grow business for them.   Digital information products, digital distribution, and automated payment systems make it possible to offer extreme commissions on both high-end and low-end products.
  26. Invest in Yourself – If you don’t, who will.  You are always your best bet.  You are one of the best investments you can possibly make … after all, wherever you go, there you are.  You always take you with you.   As long as you are always there for the ride, focus on continuous improvement as a way to stay in the game, and prepare for the future as the future unfolds.
  27. Know the Cycles – If you know the cycles of change, you can better anticipate.   Knowing the path from cradle to grave, gives you an edge. It helps you apply levers where they count.  For example, at a meta-level, there is a pattern for market maturity cycles. According to Alonso Martinez and Ronald Haddock, the 4 stages of market maturity are: 1) survival, 2) quality, 3) convenience, 4) customization.  If you know which cycle the market is in, you can be smarter about your competitive strategy or differentiation.
  28. Move the Free Line — Eben Pagan tells us — Freemium to Premium – Chris Anderson championed the idea of “freemium” and that you should move the free line up in his book Free: How Today’s Smartest Businesses Profit by Giving Something for Nothing. The combo of free + paid is one of the most powerful business models in our emerging digital economy. Free reduces friction, and can help create a glide path for building a tribe of raving fans.
  29. Pains, Needs, and Desired Outcomes.   The beauty of this little mantra is that it cuts through so much waste and gets to the core of what matters.  You can use this little lens as a way to shape a compelling product.  After all, how can you be remarkable if you don’t know the pains, needs, and desired outcomes.  And, you can use this little lens to shed light on what you want out of your own life.  The more clarity you have on your own pains, needs, and desired outcomes, the more you can get intentional and actually go for it.
  30. Pair Up – Nobody stops you from pairing up with your peers, or teaming up with people that bring out your best.  If you’re a “Starter” pair up with a “Finisher.”  If you’re a “Dreamer”, pair up with a “Doer.”  If you’re an “Engineer”, pair up with a “Marketer.”  The power of pairing is that you bring out the best in yourself, and when you pair well, you bring out the best in each other.
  31. Productive Artist – As my friend puts it, “Do more art.”   If there’s one thing we learn from The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield, ThinkerToys, by Michael Michalko, and Tactics: The Art and Science of Success by Edward de Bono, it’s that we need to get up to bat more.   As Wayne Gretzky says, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”   The description for Seth Godin’s book Linchpin, might say it best: “There used to be two teams in every workplace: management and labor. Now there’s a third team, the linchpins. These people invent, lead (regardless of title), connect others, make things happen, and create order out of chaos. They figure out what to do when there’s no rule book.  They delight and challenge their customers and peers.  They love their work, pour their best selves into it, and turn each day into a kind of art. ”
  32. Reimagine.  My dictionary says reimagine is “to imagine again or anew; especially : to form a new conception of : re-create.”  That’s powerful stuff.  Khan Academy is a great example of “education reimagined.”  What would your life look life, if you reimagine it?
  33. SEO for the Rest of Us – It’s like a having a map where X marks the spot.   You don’t have to guess at what people want.  You can actually test.  This is gold if you are building a business.  In fact, you can start to see companies that don’t master SEO actually become irrelevant.  They don’t know what people are looking for.   They don’t know what’s hot.   Another scenarios that is painful to see is when somebody has great information and products, but they are never found because they didn’t use the right words.  The right words make you relevant.  The right words can make or break your business.  To give you a simple example,. my default choice of words would have brought in under 500 visitors a month.  With a simple change in words, it brings in 25,000 a month.
  34. Slow Down to Speed Up – Ready, Set, Go.  Go where?  Go faster.  How fast?  Why?  What’s good look like?  Wait a minute, who was this thing for again?   Who asked for it?  Does anybody still want it?   If you slow down, you can speed up.  Clarity is the key to acceleration.
  35. Specialize — Al Ries teaches us that people prefer specific over general. In his book, The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More, Chris Anderson says we should focus on the long-tail, rather than the the high-volume head of a traditional demand curve. In his book, Small is the New Big, Seth Godin teaches us we should focus on a portfolio of niches, over one big market. It’s a game of lord of the mole-hills versus king of the mountain.
  36. Surround Yourself with Smart People –  You’re the sum of your network and you are who you hang with.  You end up modeling your friends.  They can grow you, or they can hold you back.  It influences what you think about, how you feel, and what you do.  While you can rise above any challenge, the key is to find as many sources of support and build a firm foundation for your success as possible.  Think in terms of your inner-circle as your “board of advisors” or your “wolf pack” or your “band of merry-men.”    As one of my mentors puts it, “You’re the average of the 10 people you spend time with.”
  37. Stay True to You – Authentic wins in the long run because it’s sustainable.  You might “fake it ‘till you make it”, but to make it for the long-run, you need to live and breathe your values.   Whenever you need to recharge, remind yourself to spend more time in your core values, and connect with who you really are, and what experiences you want to create.  You are often your own best source of power.
  38. Take Charge of Your Education — Don’t hope for a great education to land in your lap or for your company to grow the skills you need to thrive in the future.  Build your own library of profound knowledge and grow your knowledge, skills, and experience, by design.   You have free access to amazing information sources such as TED Talks, MIT Open Courseware, ChangeThis, etc.  There are also great self-paced learning such as The Great Courses, and great digital dojos including Udemy.com, where people share their skills and experience from the real-world.
  39. The Workplace as a Marketplace – Consultants already know this, but more and more corporate employees are waking up to the fact, that you aren’t entitled to your job and that your job can change under your feet.  Instead, it’s a very dynamic exchange of skills and value.  As more companies lean down, they look at things like value, efficiency, effectiveness, and overhead.   If you don’t find ways to tell and sell your value, you can get “pushed” out of the marketplace.  If you don’t find ways to delivery way more value than what you get paid for, you can get “priced” out of the market.  If you don’t find ways to flow unique value, you can get “reduced” or “de-duped” out of the market.  On the upside, the workplace can be a powerful place to rise and shine when you find creative ways to flow your unique value with your team, organization, and the world.  It can be an arena for your greatest results, and a dojo for your greatest personal growth.
  40. Think “Pull”, Not “Push” – “No, I do not like green eggs and ham.”  Why not just ask what people actually want?   Rather than a “push” approach, more individuals and businesses are adopting a “pull” approach.   Demand-generation is tough.   Throwing things over the wall and hoping they stick works when things are relevant and there is appetite.  When things lean down, it’s relevancy and demand that help you see what people are “pulling” off the shelf.   Lean manufacturing is making a comeback as more businesses get back to the basics, eliminate waste, and focus on flowing value.
  41. Tribes of Raving Fans – The description for the book, Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us, by Seth Godin, says, “The explosion in tribes means that anyone who wants to make a difference now has the tools at her fingertips.”   Marry that idea to the idea in Ken Blanchard’s book, Raving Fans, which reveals “startling new tips and innovative techniques that can help anyone create a revolution in any workplace–and turn their customers into raving, spending fans” … and you have a powerful idea virus.
  42. Version, Learn, and Iterate – What can I say … it’s the Agile way.   If you want to ship ideas, then chunk them down, iterate on them, learn as you go.  Use versions to ship meaningful chunks of value.  You might go so far as to ship a reimagined version of yourself (See You 2.0.)

As you wonder what the future holds for you, remember the words of Alan Kay:

“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.”

Best wishes as you reimagine your future for 2013.

I’d be happy to hear of any trends or insights you see in your niche of the woods.

Image by @boetter.

16 Comments on "Trends for 2013: The Rise of the Entrepreneur"

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  1. Gary Danoff says:

    J.D., the amount of information you gathered is both amazing and a gift so Thank You. I look forward to reading and digesting. And seeing Faith Popcorn’s name again (it has been a while) was a treat.

  2. JD says:

    @ Gary — Thank you.

    I’ve always enjoyed how Faith Popcorn names things — she really makes the concepts pop, through her choice of words.

    That’s actually a key pattern among the best trend spotters — they name things in a sticky way.

  3. Tariq Ahmed says:

    @JD – This is an absolute wealth of knowledge, I can’t imagine how long it must have taken to compile all that information. But a great read for anyone in the industry as we start off 2013.

    Appreciate your efforts. Thx.

  4. JD says:

    @ Tariq — Thank you.

    It took me way longer than I expected. It’s one of the most important posts I do each year, so I planned for two hours, but it took me about eight. It was worth it though because I really got to see deep patterns and connect a lot of dots.

    It was very eye-opening.

  5. Awesome post. I have to admit right now that I haven’t actually read the whole thing yet, but what I have read is amazing and then there are some links that I want to follow up on as well. Thank you for taking the time to put this together. Oh, and wow!

  6. JD says:

    @ Carlie — Thank you.

    It’s like a Russian nesting doll, there’s information inside of information, and you can keep unpacking it.

  7. JD, thank you for sharing your gift of synthesis with us. I’ve shared this with some others in our organization who are interested in these trends, but who don’t necessarily have the time to spend investigating them.

  8. kimbundance says:

    Wonderful post on entrepreneurship. I’m looking more into entrepreneurship. This is an excellent resource. I enjoyed reading it.

  9. JD says:

    @ Aaron — That’s great to hear.

    The more I talk to folks about how to thrive in the digital economy, the more I realize how there is so much to know. One key concept I shared in one of my talks today was how we have to find ways to simplify and automate many of our personal processes, if we want to move up the stack.

    This is true for businesses, too. If businesses don’t get radically smarter about how they in-source, out-source, crowd-source, and Cloud-source, they will lose to the competition that does.

    The other big point that really resonates is when I tell folks the key to success is that the way forward is to share and scale your unique value with the world, in a better, faster, and cheaper way, for the greater good. It’s a lot of ideas mashed up, but people get the idea.

    @ Kim — Thank you.

    The beauty of today’s world is that there are low-cost ways to start and test businesses, and learn amazing insight along the way. There are ways to break ahead of the pack, too, especially if you study things like strategy, game theory, SEO, etc.

    The real key of course is focusing on pains, needs, and desired outcomes, and flowing value in an iterative and incremental way.

  10. Oliver says:

    This is awesome, thanks for sharing. I couldn’t finish it in one sitting because it auto-unpacks in your head as you read.

    I see a lot of parallels with a recent interview with the author of Pendulum I listened to this week on ILoveMarketing.com ( http://ilovemarketing.com/episode-90the-one-about-intuition-hacking-with-michael-drew/ ).

  11. JD says:

    @ Oliver — Thank you.

    That’s a good sign that the trends are both easy to relate to, and pervasive.

  12. jessica says:

    Thank you JD for this amazing future hack. It feels impossible for most of us to do what you’ve done here. Understanding these trends and their implications is so valuable for individuals and businesses alike.

  13. robinhood says:

    Eagerly waiting for your take on 2014 . Hope you publish one soon.:)