Why focusing on the latest trends in Silicon Valley probably wont end up in you becoming one

There’s an interesting link between startups, technology and fashion. Any industry which is defined by rapid change and innovation has a fashion element to it. The latest hot stuff which is getting attention, the stuff the market gets excited by, the stuff that gets media attention, the stuff that gets the fanboys and fangirls writing blog posts about it. The startup and technology media is very trend related. So much so that we all know what the hot spaces to be involved in are:

Wearables, 3D printing, Web of things, Drones, Crypto currency, Crowdfunding, and those other ones I’ve left out….

Get a Kickstarter project going with one of these topics in the header and it seems like the funding job is already half done. But if we want to go deeper on this issue as entrepreneurs, then we need to pay some close attention to what happens in the fashion industry itself. Those consuming the fashion and paying attention to it or rarely those who are actually creating it. There isn’t a correlation between being up with the latest trend and ever creating one. In fact, there’s a real danger in being obsessed with what others are doing. It means we’re following, not leading. Fans by definition are always a little bit behind the game – literally. Their focus is on appreciating what has already happened. It means that there might be an inordinate amount of time spent on keeping up.

It’s easy to understand why we might feel compelled to keep up. There’s a lot of social pressure in a sharing economy – the kudos that goes with knowing about the latest thing, using it, or owning the hardware. The ‘have you seen this’ side of the technology revolution.

Will knowing who raised x amount of capital help you raise capital?

Will having the latest apps on your smartphone help you build your app?

Probably not. Probably more of a distraction from the real work we need to do. Sure, be across the market place, but obsessions with the latest trends probably means we’ll never create one ourselves.


Quote about design: Steve Jobs

In preparation for teaching a Brand Management Class today at Melbourne University when I came across an important quote from Steve Jobs about the industrial design of the iPod. When the first generation iPod was finally complete and ready to be unveiled to the public Jobs looked back on the process of how the iPod was designed:

“Most people make the mistake of thinking design is what it looks like. People think it’s the veneer – that the designers are handed this box and told, ‘Make it look good!’ That’s not what we think design is. It’s not just what it feels like and looks like. Design is how it works.”

Startup blog says: When it comes to design – it should facilitate function before fashion. After which time the human instinct takes over…. the function becomes the fashion.


New York Series: Barbie Celebrating in Style

It’s not secret that Barbie has had her challenges in her 50 year history, from promoting ridiculous body image, to the more recent market share battle with Bratz.

But on her 50th birthday I saw one of the coolest promotions I had seen in some time. Bloomingdales New York. It has the entire history of Barbie on display. Nearly every doll ever made in uber cool glass cases, right through the entire ladies clothing floors. It cannot be missed. and demands attention. In addition they have some life size barbies who have been dressed by leading fashion designers. Here’s a photo essay, and some important comments about it below:










If we are in the fashion business (which more of us are than we think) then we must constantly be re-inventing, and reminding our people why we are the coolest.

How does your startup show how cool it is?