It has been an epic week for TH, with our Chief Trend Hunter Jeremy Gutsche scoring two major awards for innovation and entrepreneurial skill.
This has resulted in tons of media attention from publications like Canadian Business, the Globe and Mail, and most recently, Postmedia's Canada.com. The latter article is brimming with praise for both Gutsche and Trend Hunter, with author Misty Harris exploring the charisma, energy and staying power of the site and its creator simultaneously.
Trend Hunter boss bags top innovation awards
By Misty Harris, Postmedia News
At a time when trends expire faster than milk, Canada's Jeremy Gutsche has carved a profitable niche plumbing the pop-culture depths for ideas with real staying power — whether in fashion, tech, art, luxury, design or marketing.
This week, the Toronto-based trend whisperer is the recipient of two of the Business Development Bank of Canada's highest honours: Young Entrepreneur of the Year, for Ontario; and the Cisco Innovation Excellence Award, for Canada.
Both recognize the 33-year-old's stunning transformation of the grassroots website TrendHunter.com into a multi-platform juggernaut that, after just three years of incorporation, brings in seven figures annually, attracts 40 million page-views a month, and boasts a client list of Fortune 500 companies such as PepsiCo, Google and Microsoft.
"We think of ourselves as the largest, most updated collection of new ideas," said Gutsche, founder of Trend Hunter Inc. "We're always looking for the next big thing."
TrendHunter.com was among the first to report that Sarah Palin's coveted eyeglasses were custom-made frames based on the Kawasaki 704 series.
That online gallery of pregnancy photos-gone-wrong that blew up in January? The site had a hand in that, too.
Even the popularity of AwkwardFamilyPhotos.com — a site that didn't go viral so much as bubonic — can be traced back to a TrendHunter post that was spotted and shared by actor Ashton Kutcher.
"The system we've made is really, really fast, so we tend to break stories well before other people. The average article gets about 2,000 views, but the best articles will see a million views or more," said Gutsche, whose trend-spotters get paid per-view through Google ads (a major web hit can fetch between $500 and $1,500 in a single day of heavy traffic).
The site's crowd-sourced ideas and consumer insights are later compiled into detailed trend reports that analyze patterns and suggest ways in which businesses can benefit. For this added level of expertise, companies pay anywhere from $960 to $30,000.
The BDC took all of this into account in choosing to honour Gutsche at a gala event Tuesday.
"It goes beyond just celebrating his success, and really recognizes the efforts that he's invested in helping other businesses innovate," said Michel Bergeron, the BDC's vice-president of corporate relations. "This is an important step on the way to any entrepreneur becoming a real Canadian player."
A cultural kingmaker in sneakers, Gutsche is every bit the picture of a dot-com hipster. But unlike Facebook's twitchy, socially awkward impresario Mark Zuckerberg, Gutsche is more a genetic hybrid of motivational speaker Tony Robbins and infomercial dynamos Tony Little and Ron Popeil; his electricity is so palpable, you could charge an iPad on his abs.
Since 2008, the Calgary-raised man has written a book (Exploiting Chaos), made more than 180 keynotes at international events (his passport is decorated with stamps from Switzerland, Istanbul, Pakistan and Mexico), started his own intern academy (10 summer students will soon join him for four months of trend archeology), sold trend reports to top-tier companies and, as of this week, logged more than 500 million page-views on TrendHunter.com.
Gutsche's success has also allowed him to upgrade his office. In April, the company moved into a converted 1800s horse-carriage factory, complete with Atari wall decals, old-fashioned telephone booth, electric fireplace, beer fridge and digital scoreboard for real-time web traffic-tracking.
The 180 square-metre space prominently features a Trend Hunter sign on the wall, which Gutsche happily described as his long-awaited validation that it's "a real company." His client roster, which reads like a Forbes power list, probably would've sufficed.
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