Microtrends

Microtrends: The small forces behind tomorrow’s big changes
By Mark J. Penn with E. Kinney Zalesne
5/7 stars

Trends tend to be easy to spot, at least when they are on a large scale. Everyone knows that bellbottoms were popular in the 70’s, and grunge wasn’t widespread until the 90’s. It is much harder, however, to spot a microtrend. Penn defines a microtrend as a trend that affects 1% of the population. This is big enough to be a viable market and small enough that the market is most likely untapped. In Microtrends, Penn examines 75 different microtrends and their possible implications.

It should be noted that this book was published in 2007. A few of the things he pointed out, like the rise in bankruptcies and subprime mortgages, were incredibly relevant in the next few years in the economy.  A few others, such as stay at home dads and internet dating, are no longer really news.

What I found interesting about this book is the slightly historical perspective I could take on it. DIY doctors sure got a leg up thanks to WebMd. No, the pet industry didn’t explode quite like Penn thought it would, but boy, Greece and Italy sure had reasons to be concerned about the lack of jobs for their young people in 2007. Senator Obama was mentioned several times as and up and coming politician.

As any book written nearly a decade ago, Microtrends has some things that are relevant and some things that aren’t. That said, I think it is worth looking at a snapshot of the culture and seeing how it has developed.

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