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Ready to create lasting and sustainable business growth? Join our weekly show with hosts Adam Hartung & Manny Teran of Spark Partners. Combined they have created over $3 Billion in customer value and leverage Adam’s deep domain expertise on Disruptive Innovation to teach business leaders how to transform their businesses. Do you want your business to be a market leader or a market laggard? Discover business trends and learn how to leverage them to create lasting business success and become a ...
 
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show series
 
Recent headlines were awash in news that China’s population is shrinking. You might have asked “why should I care?” This podcast explains why trends, like demographic changes, have an impact on EVERYONE. It’s not just big business affected by demographic shifts, it’s all business. Years of using Chinese laborers at low wages to make products for US…
 
ChatGPT has received a lot of news lately – and for good reason. Ask this software robot a question and it can deliver eloquent answers often at the level of graduate school grammar. Artificial Intelligence (or Augmented Intelligence if you prefer) is going mainstream. College students are using it to do their homework, and people are faking expert…
 
How much time do you spend really thinking about customer needs? I don’t mean how they want you to improve your product service. I mean really thinking about their needs? What they want, what they wish, what would make their business a lot better? Most of us don’t do this nearly enough. We’re so busy trying to solve our own problems, trying to reso…
 
Every business leader knows they need to sell more stuff. And they need to make money. So leaders invest in sales, marketing, operations and supply chain management. But actually, after selling more stuff the most important thing every business leader must know how to do is raise money. Look at Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk. All …
 
2022 was a tumultuous year! Interest rates went from zero to 4.5%, while finding employees continued to remain nearly impossible, and supply chain interruptions dominated the output landscape. Climbing out of the pandemic was as fraught with difficulties as shutting down had been. This podcast reviews many of the changes that happened in 2022 – inc…
 
In 2022 Federal Funds rate went from 0% to 4.25% in just 7 months. An unprecedented jump in rates – but it started from an equally unprecedented base of 0%. Looking back 100 years there was only one time when interest rates were below 1% - and that was during 2010-2022. Can you recognize that the 2010’s and pandemic were the aberration, not the nor…
 
The world is abuzz about the World Cup. But esports is actually much, much bigger than soccer – or the NFL, NBA or MLB! Do you realize that gaming is a $200B business? And while all major team sports are flat to declining, Gaming is growing at 25-50% PER YEAR! This podcast overviews how to interpret the data so you can understand just how big a tre…
 
Business leaders think very unidirectionally about their business. Meaning they think about how to push more of what they have onto customers. But customers tend to be unwilling to buy what they don’t want. Eventually leaders scratch their heads asking “why can’t I sell more stuff” without realizing the obvious problem is you aren’t selling the rig…
 
We love how Netflix pivoted from delivering DVDs to streaming content, then pivoted from streaming other people’s content to making its own. We love comparing how Netflix destroyed Blockbuster which refused to pivot from retail stores to other distribution channels. But we forget that the Netflix’ CEO Reed Hastings was pilloried for making those pi…
 
FTX recently failed, wiping out $32B of value in one week. Less than 3 years old, FTX’ 20-something CEO raised over $1.5B and charmed the media that crypto was the biggest thing since the internet. And the fad had been working. Listen in this podcast how all it took was one seller (most likely Binance) to cause a run on FTX’ reserves and expose the…
 
Who Challenges Your Thinking? Do You Need “Affirmative Action”? Last podcast we discussed how assumptions lead to biases which can lead to bad decision making. We often don’t know what we don’t know, so we plunder forward hoping what used to work will continue to work. But the world changes, and often we fail to change because nobody pressures us t…
 
Is the Situation at Facebook As Bad As It Seems? In 2023 Meta (Facebook’s owner) stock has dropped from $350 to $90. That’s a market value loss of 75% in just a few months. INCREDIBLE! Are things really that bad? Meanwhile, last week (between 10/25 and 10/28 of 2023) Apple, Alphabet, Amazon and Meta lost $420B of value in just 3 days! It sounds lik…
 
We all have assumptions. We wouldn’t get anything done if we didn’t have assumptions. Built on facts, assumptions help us to focus on new problems rather than constantly resolving old problems. Only….. the world changes. The situational facts change. And assumptions become out of date. When that happens we make bad decisions, because when we get th…
 
If you have a formal business education – like a BBA or MBA – you were taught how to do more, better, faster and cheaper. You were taught to assume the customer will not change – in fact almost nothing will change. Your job is to defend the business as it exists, and hopefully extend it just a bit. Only, that is a path to ruin. Because the world is…
 
All strategic planning should be forward based, and thus built on trends. Scenario planning requires understanding trends, including their direction, speed of adoption and impacts. Yet, many planners struggle to know the difference between a trend and a fad. And many more don’t know how to measure trends – or track them. This podcast describes very…
 
We all like to do what’s easy. Studying trends, and evaluating their impact, is not easy – especially when looking at threats as well as possibilities. It’s a lot easier to just hope the future will be like the past – but is hope really a strategy? This podcast explains when you don’t study trends and plan for them you end up like millions of Flori…
 
From 2012 through 2019 most small and mid-size organizations started to see the need for more strategic planning, especially related to growth. But then the pandemic happened, and their business either caught an unexpected growth wave – or hit a wall. Either way, many stopped planning and began reacting to current events. Then in 2021 the economy t…
 
Queen Elizabeth II funeral drew over 4 Billion viewers. An incredible number of people from around the globe. This podcast admits this caught Manny and Adam by surprise, and it indicates there is a very important need that the Queen fulfilled. What is that need? And will King Charles III meet that need? We all can be caught off guard by new trends.…
 
Even though entertainment trends shifted to at-home (Netflix, et.al.) a decade ago, when the pandemic hit Cineworld (parent of Regal Cinemas) borrowed money to keep their theaters. Now demand declines have continued and Cineworld is filing bankruptcy. Better they should have done it in 2020, at least fewer debtors would have been harmed. The compan…
 
Running a business is a lot of hard work. Every day things can go wrong, customers complain and competitors take pot shots at you. But if you fall into just defending your business fixated on today’s issues you will fail. Success requires we all do scenario planning for the future. This podcast tells us how to move beyond hearing about headlines, t…
 
For 15 years the trends have clearly pointed to the end of broadcast TV, and the decline of cable. In Q2 2022 more TV time was spent #streaming than on cable. From now on, infotainment and entertainment will be dominated by streaming. This #podcast interviews Dr. Rom Gayoso, who abandoned his career as an economist to launch a new media company. Ro…
 
Smaller companies tend to focus on daily operations, and see activities in Washington DC as remote and unhelpful. But the Inflation Reduction Act is setting aside $392B for environmental projects that are good opportunities for small companies. Combined with the Chips act and the Infrastructure act there is well over $500B in money for smart busine…
 
What is a “tech” company? Meta is a publisher. Amazon is a retailer. Tesla sells cars, solar panels, whole house batteries and bores tunnels. Google makes nearly 100% of its revenue selling ads. Netflix makes and distributes entertainment. Yet people think of these companies as tech companies. This #podcast explains why your biggest value may well …
 
Everyone gets stuck in their thinking. It is unavoidable. Whether you are starting a new business, or trying to grow your current business, your mental assumption set gets in the way of alternatives. And your internal biases, created from education and years of experience, cause you to fail defining a clear Value Proposition or finding alternative …
 
Wine sales have been a high growth market for years. But there are hundreds of competitors, and the market has been dominated by well known, long historied and superbly financed competitors. This podcast describes how in this competitive minefield Mark Beres successfully built a vineyard and wine brand. By (1) focusing on an underserved market [Ari…
 
UK and Europe are suffering the hottest temperatures ever recorded. Temps over 100° are dominating Texas and Oklahoma, running all the way through the Dakota’s. Wildfires out of control in western USA, Australia, France and Spain. Record rainfall is washing away entire towns in Germany, while lakebeds go dry in Africa and California. Everyone sees …
 
Elon Musk has walked away from his offer to buy Twitter. Now the company is suing him to force the acquisition. Usually management, and the Board, love their company and try hard to avoid an acquisition. But at Twitter the founding CEO (Jack Dorsey) walked away, saying he didn’t know how to lead the company. And the Board has no idea how to lead th…
 
Growth is good. Revenue growth hides a multitude of errors. It is true that businesses are either growing, or dying. Yet, it is a mistake to grow without a sustainable business model. WeWork grew, but lacking a sustainable business model it crashed. Amazon, Federal Express, Netflix, Facebook – all had sustainable business models that meant they cou…
 
Strategic Planning should be focused on the future. Strategy should be built on forecasts based on trends. And it has to be constantly updated; not an annual or bi-annual event. Because the world keeps changing and success requires we all keep updating our plans and making better decisions. This podcast walks through how recent Federal Reserve acti…
 
Leaders are constantly faced with difficult decisions about investing for the future. This Podcast reveals a sure-fire approach that can help you make these decisions faster, and better. And even cover yourself when you make mistakes. Tesla pioneered the EV market, and its leader Elon Musk has become legendary. But recently he has been way off tren…
 
If you don’t have robust future scenarios that you use to guide your decision making, then you’re letting inertia drive your planning. You’re letting your past push you into the future, even if it’s pushing you the wrong direction. To succeed you have to create robust scenarios, and then make decisions that send you in the direction to take advanta…
 
2022 has been terrible for equity holders. The DJIA down 15%; S&P down 18%. After the longest bull run in stock history, the bears are taking over. And no stocks have been hit harder than growth stocks. Does that mean our mantra of “grow, grow, grow” was wrong – or is now out of date? This podcast explains why events unrelated to company performanc…
 
Last week Netflix lost $50B of market cap in one day. Since it's November peak the stock is down 50%. These are huge investment losses, and is causing many people to say Netflix' good days are behind it. This podcast explains why this way of thinking probably isn't so, and why Netflix is most likely very undervalued due to the recent sell-off. Whil…
 
For nearly 60 years there has been a universal trend toward greater international trade. We called this trend Globalization. This trend increased exports from America, and dramatically increased imports as American companies sourced from other countries. Everything from manufacturing to assembly to computer coding to security tracking to customer s…
 
This podcast reviews the history of Twitter, and why it is in such a business predicament. From start-up through 2013 Twitter delivered on its Value Proposition of connecting like minded people organically, and providing an ad platform for reaching potential customers and growing your business. Under CEO Costolo Twitter had revenue growth and reven…
 
CNN spent $300M-$500M and 2 years creating CNN+. Only to have new owners Discovery Network shut down the project 2 weeks after launch. Smart to save money? Not hardly. This podcast explains why in a market moving as fast as streaming entertainment killing a White Space project is really, really dumb. Discovery leadership has decided it doesn’t need…
 
GROWTH REQUIRES MOVING OUTSIDE YOUR COMFORT ZONE Changing the way we do business can seem risky, but it is less risky than being late to market shifts. You need to find a way to align your business with emerging trends in order to grow your business and remain relevant. What's the problem? Comfort!! The Status Quo is Comfortable: - We know how to d…
 
We almost always define our Value Proposition too narrowly. Because we wear the blinders of our existing products/solutions and business model. We get so tied up in delivery we forget the real reason customers value us. This causes us to miss abundant opportunities to grow. Do people buy antacids so they stop pain, or do they buy antacids so they c…
 
If you don’t know why people buy your stuff, you have no chance at success. You must know your customers’ needs – especially the unmet or under-met needs. Then you give them solutions that meet those needs. Success isn’t from just being “more, better, faster, cheaper” than the other guy. Success comes from understanding needs, and offering the best…
 
Big corporations get most product development wrong. They have a customer, and they just want to sell that customer a little bit more. They keep trying to satiate an already known need with new variations. Entrepreneurs often get product development wrong, because they have a solution in need of a market. An "answer" looking for a "question." The e…
 
Global trade has become the norm. Ever since Nixon went to China we've been pushing supply chains global for lower cost. Global supply chains are so prolific we don't even think about them any more. No longer. The long-term mega-trend of globalization is taking a severe turn in reverse. Trust is broken, and all the indicators say there is a lot of …
 
This podcast interviews Sunmeet Jolly, entrepreneur and founder of start-up company Grotu. Grotu is using all the 2020-2030 Trend Drivers - mobility, asynchronous interactions, AI and the Gig Economy - in its start-up. Listen to the decision-making process and how Grotu leadership is growing its MAU (monthly active users) and DAU (daily active user…
 
Lots of thoughts abound for why Russia would invade Ukraine. But as business people we can understand that demographic shifts have started to impact national policy in not only the USA, but in Russia and China as well. It would be a big mistake for business people to ignore the importance of demographic trends and how they are pushing Russia and Ch…
 
The founder of Squarespace is now worth ~$3B. He saw the long-term trend in media away from controlled, edited content and toward democratization. So he invested his small sums in podcasting, and now those small investments are measured in billions. This long-term trend has continued, and now we all have access to enormous amounts of free content f…
 
Meta reported a .05% decline in Daily Active Users, and projected a 3-11% growth rate for 2022 last week. And the company's value fell by over $200B. Another record set by Facebook - lol. But not a laugh for investors. Was this market reaction justified? This podcast delves deeper into what's happening with trends, including the rise of Tik-Tok and…
 
Market changing events are not linear. Small incremental changes, driven by internal improvements, do not change markets. Markets shift when external events cause a "Punctuated Equilibrium" that forces us to adapt to emerging trends rapidly. The COVID pandemic was just such an external event that punctuated the old ways of doing business and ushere…
 
In the pandemic we unleashed asynchronous work methods. No longer were we required to all go to an office everyday. No longer were we sucked into time-wasting meetings. We learned we could work asynchronously, focusing on doing our work, was much more productive. Doing our work alone increased productivity, with asynchronous interchanges using emai…
 
Autonomous processes are those which use technology to monitor inputs, and make decisions without human involvement. This started 40 years ago with programmable thermostats to control indoor temperature, leading to programmable lights and other products that lower use of energy. These solutions have grown significantly. Today Amazon has created aut…
 
Companies have never had a requirement to be responsible to their employees, suppliers or community. Leaders have only had a responsibility to their investors. Thus, very little time or resources were spent by companies trying to be environmentally friendly or socially aware. But in the last 5 years a real movement has been created to push investor…
 
The Environmental Awareness mega-trend is having a big impact on all businesses today, and will continue to do so for 20 years. Businesses that seize the opportunity can profitably grow, while those that ignore the changes will suffer negative consequences. This podcast overviews why electric vehicles are part of this trend, and why the transition …
 
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