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By PASCAL FINETTE

The Heretic is a free bi-weekly dispatch delivering insights into leadership in exponential times. For entrepreneurs, corporate irritants and change makers. Raw, unfiltered and opinionated.

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Oct 17th, 2017

Headlines vs. Trend Lines

Former US President Bill Clinton once said:

Follow the trend lines, not the headlines

It is a valuable insight — particularly in both the exponential as well as the somewhat tumultuous times we live in. It is easy to get distracted by headlines; not only with what is happening in politics but also in business — and forget to check the underlying trend lines. And even more so: To try to build businesses on headlines without fully understanding the further reaching implications of the trend lines.

Here is how this tends to play out: Entrepreneur consumes his blogs and news sites (back in the day this was Tech Crunch), talks to his friends (who also read the same news) and identifies hot new trend X, which he then goes and tries to build a business around. The problem with this approach is twofold: By the time our entrepreneur has build X, he is the n-th entrant into the market and thus has missed his window of opportunity. Furthermore — as he hasn’t put in the work to deeply connect with the problem nor has he truly understood the underlying trends and thus can only build a me-too product and not something truly innovative.

It is easy to fall for this fallacy. Trust me — I have been there myself.

What you should do instead is to (largely) ignore the headlines and rather spend your time and energy truly understanding the underlying causes and effects of a technology or solution.


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