- Hardcover: 144 pages
- Publisher: Portfolio Hardcover (June 2, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1591840910
- ISBN-13: 978-1591840916
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 7.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 11 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #784,168 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Trendmaster's Guide: Get a Jump on What Your Customer Wants Next Hardcover – June 2, 2005
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B is for Bunny.
C is for Cookie.
We're all familiar with these sorts of books from reading to our kids - usually in the age 2-4 category.
This is the format that Robyn Waters, self-styled trendmaster par excellence has chosen for this book.
Given the nature of this work, it's a good choice. In the introduction Waters writes, "My goal is to simplify and demystify the art and science of trend". Instead, what she's succeeded in doing is writing a skimpy and simplistic book that insults the intelligence of her reader.
So - A is for Antennae.
B is for Big Picture.
C is for Connect the Dots.
And so it goes...
The main content is a conglomeration of anecdotes and stories about products the author apparently likes. Some may be mildly interesting, but certainly nothing rises to the level of helping the reader to "Get a jump on what your customer wants next".
Along the way we encounter platitudes, nonsense, and much that's just inane. A couple of examples -
"When you're faced with an important decision, why not try the Trend Taste Test? Think. Feel. Swallow. Yum? Yuck? Yawn? You know what to do next".
"Think of each small trend you observe as a thread that you can weave, twist, braid, knit, or splice together with other common strands into a tapestry of opportunity. Get creative. Create a masterpiece".
OK, I think you get the idea.
Trust me, if you skip this one, you won't be missing a trend.
For years, Robyn Waters served Target as VP of Trends; transforming a purveyor of low-end goods into a rocketing success of desirable affordable high-end design. When she suddenly and simultaneously lost her job and her marriage, this master of trend set about the transformation of her career.
The Trendmaster’s Guide was written as Robyn explored and “test-drove” a number of career options. She produced it, beautifully designed and packaged, as an accompaniment to her resume, and sent it out a modest number to select recipients…including a New York publishing company which immediately offered her a three-book deal. The rest is history.
Today, Robyn talks trend to global companies, is touted by Tom Peters as a design genius, and is at work on her third book.
The Trendmaster’s Guide is written to be accessible to both college students and CEOs. It is packed with ideas for rethinking products and services, and for honing awareness of emerging consumer/business needs. With Robyn’s guide in your pocket, you may not even miss that mythic crystal ball.
As she carefully differentiates, a "trend tracker" is someone who is alert for indications that help his or her business to stay [begin italics] up to the minute [end italics] whereas what she calls a "Trendmaster" uses that information to determine [begin italics] where that minute is going [end italics]. Years ago when asked to explain his effectiveness as a hockey player, Wayne Gretzky replied that others know where the puck is while he knows where it is going to be. Larry Bird once said that when he played basketball, he saw plays develop as if in slow motion and he could "see" exactly what would happen next. There are countless other examples of precisely the same skills on which Waters focuses, all of which almost anyone can possess and then improve.
She may be overstating the case when suggesting that what she recommends is a "new way of looking at the world." The fact remains, however, that her insights will seem "new" to those readers who were previously unaware of "the invisibility of the obvious" and may have been captive to what Jim O'Toole calls "the ideology of comfort and the tyranny of custom." As a result, they have failed to recognize seemingly insignificant indications of emerging trends which (sooner rather than later) determine success or failure in any competitive marketplace.
I highly recommend this book, especially to decision-makers in small-to-midsize companies which have limited resources and thus must somehow do more and do it better, do it sooner, and with less. I agree with Warren Buffett who said something to the effect that "price is what you charge but value is what others think it's worth." This is especially true of current and prospective customers. Mastering the use of various tools which Waters provides will help each reader to become a Trendmaster. Because trends evolve in sometimes unexpected directions, the same tools and skills can then be used to make necessary adjustments of the given strategies and tactics.
Waters includes a brief section, Recommended Reading, in which she lists a number of outstanding sources. To them I presume to add five others: Thomas S. Kuhns's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Joel A. Barker's Paradigms: The Business of Discovering the Future, Eileen C. Shapiro and Howard H. Stevenson's Make Your Own Luck: 12 Practical Steps to Taking Smarter Risks in Business, and two by William Bridges, Transitions and Managing Transitions. To varying degrees, all five of these books develop in much greater depth several of Waters' core concepts.
She does include Seth Godin's Purple Cow on her list (which I think is terrific) but his recently published All Marketers Are Liars is, in my opinion, even more relevant to those who intend to become a Trendmaster. So, I recommend reading both of Grodin's books as well as Waters'.