Friday, January 25, 2008

"Microtrends" by Mark J. Penn with E. Kinney Zalesne

Mark Penn is worldwide CEO of Burson-Marsteller and President of Penn, Schoen and Berland. E. Kinney Zalesne is a former White House Fellow, Counsel to Attorney General Janet Reno, and was president and executive vice president of two national social-change organizations, College Summit and Hillel.

They applied the "Page 99 Test" to their new book, Microtrends: The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow’s Big Changes, and reported the following:
Page 99 wraps up the 20th microtrend -- of 75 -- in Microtrends: The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow’s Big Changes. This chapter is about America’s Hard-of-Hearers – the nearly 30 million people (up from just 12 million in the early 70s) who strain to hear, or miss out on sounds entirely.

It’s a classic microtrend: Americans are largely focused on myopia, but it fact deafness is the hot new sensory malfunction. And more pointedly, the rise in Hard-of-Hearers has huge, untapped implications for business and policy. Look for deafness-related innovations -- like bionic ear processor implants that run on a 15-year battery, or antioxidant drugs that protect cells in the inner ear – to take off in the stock market. Look for a public health campaign against noise (assuming advocates can get over the challenge of being heard in Washington without shouting). And look for more revolutionary inventions: both the telephone and the Internet were actually invented by men who were trying to improve their communication with their deaf wives.

We like Page 99 as a solid sample page of Microtrends – on it or almost any other page, you can grasp a new, under-the-radar but growing group of people in America who, by virtue of their circumstances and/or passions, are reshaping our nation. Office Romancers. Working Retired. Pro-Semites. Protestant Hispanics. Impressionable Elites. Long Attention Spanners. Caffeine Crazies. XXX Men. In the 75 groups, you will see yourself, your friends, your family, and your co-workers. And you will get a better understanding of how society works and where it’s going.

The big picture, from the microtrends, is that America is niching out into small, intense groups. But what sustains them all is an increasingly common set of values around tolerance and respect. That’s our strength and our challenge as a nation: we can meet the needs of more and more people, but only if we recognize that what makes that possible is the shared understanding that there’s more than one way to be an American.
Read an excerpt from Microtrends and learn more about the book at the publisher's website.

--Marshal Zeringue