When most laypeople (like myself) speak about surfing, they focus on ‘catching the wave.’ Based on my one surfing lesson and viewing the classic Patrick Swayze film Point Break, though, my understanding is that this not exactly correct. It may be more accurate to say that successful surfers don’t really catch waves, they catch swells. The fact is, by the time the wave forms it is too late to catch it and get a high quality ride. Real surfers sit out in the water, studying lumps on the horizon. The biggest lumps can build into swells which then become waves.
If you miss the swell, you will miss the opportunity to build momentum and ride the surge into the wave. Even if you catch the surge, you still have to know where the wave will break. Paddle through the break and the wave will crash on top of you.
I think this is a pretty good metaphor for trends. In order to successfully leverage a trend you have to get ahead of it – but not too far ahead of it Wait too long and it will pass you by. Of course, the ones who are most successful in leveraging trends (as well as the ones who are most successful in surfing waves) are the ones who can see them coming, build their momentum, and catch them at just the right time.
Lucky for us, we have Michael Tchong joining us at Brand ManageCamp this year. Michael is the founder of ICONOCAST, MacWEEK, Trendscape, and Ubercool, and he is an expert on spotting emerging trends. His main focus is on what he calls ‘Ubertrends’ – those trends that will actually change values in the business and consumer populations. Michael is going to teach us about the Ubertrends he has identified and give us the insight we need to start our momentum towards catching the swell and riding these waves earlier, faster, and better than our competition.
Don’t miss Michael Tchong and 13 other amazing speakers at Brand ManageCamp 2013, Sept 16-17 in Las Vegas. Register by July 31st to save $200.
Special thanks to Hugh MacLeod at Gapingvoid for the cartoon. If you like it, please pass it along! You can also follow us on Twitter and join our group on LinkedIn.