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InsideToronto: Jeremy Gutsche on How to Track the Next Big Thing

— June 9, 2011 — About
Our Chief Trend Hunter Jeremy Gutsche has built a successful business on staying abreast of pop culture; however, there is much more to Trend Hunter than meets the eye. Gutsche highlights the two sides of the Trend Hunter coin in today's issue of InsideToronto.

According to Gutsche, Trend Hunter is "a playground and people are very curious and they go and look at all these ideas and see what's interesting, but on the other side, we can figure out what that means." That "other side" is the PRO and Trend Reports sector of Trend Hunter, which offers other companies the chance to follow in the footsteps of Gutsche himself by capitalizing on what's hot and happening.

Tracking the next big thing

By: Maria Tzavaras, InsideToronto

He's won several prestigious awards, recently celebrated 500 million views of his online magazine and has just moved into a cool new office space in Toronto.
Jeremy Gutsche is a young entrepreneur whose success and evolution has been fast and furious. The 33-year-old boasts an impressive resume. He is the chief founder of Trendhunter.com, a website that lists the latest in innovative ideas and what's trendy.

The site has 40,000 contributors from all over the globe, who send him and his editorial team all the latest in trends in pop-culture, technology and fashion. If there is a creative or wacky product out there, you can find it on Trendhunter.com

But more than being a site that dishes about products and trends, Trendhunter, Gutsche said, has a business side. Trend Hunter PRO and Trend Reports can be utilized by businesses owners and companies as tools to determine where the trends are and translate them into business opportunities.

With more than 100,000 source articles and 513,000,000 views of data, the site Gutsche and his team have taken this information and identified 1,100 clusters and patterns and put them into reports that companies can use when they want to kick-start innovation in their businesses.

"On one side it's a playground and people are very curious and they go and look at all these ideas and see what's interesting, but on the other side, we can figure out what that means, within design, or within food, and if you can start to pull out the innovations that people are most interested in, well then that's going to give you a head start when you go to innovate new products and ideas," Gutsche said.

This, he said, is ideal for large and small companies alike because, for example, if they are noticing a trend in people wanting more customized or quirky items for the home, the takeaway is to not just put out bland products, but choose more personalized or funkier items.

Gutsche has experience kick-starting innovation. He practiced management consulting, helping large companies launch their business divisions; studied innovation at Stanford; and worked at Capital One as a business director, running the innovation side for one of their business lines.

"It really exposed me to all the different case studies you can imagine that would lead a company to create breakthrough change, that sort of thing, and I built up a huge amount of examples," he said.

Some of those examples and stories are written in his book, Exploiting Chaos, 150 Ways to Spark Innovation in Times of Change, and shared through keynote speaking engagements around the globe.

He has done more than 300 speaking gigs in the past two years, sharing his stories with thousands of people who flock to see him, and is considered by many to be the go-to guy for what's trendy, cool and the next big thing.

But interestingly enough, trendhunter.com was born out of Gutsche's personal search to find out what business he wanted to launch. He said he always knew he wanted to be an entrepreneur, but didn't know exactly what he wanted to do.

He recalls growing up in Calgary, Alberta, and even as a young boy was always trying to launch business ideas.

"I had a little lawn mowing service that maybe had a couple of neighbours, or I would just try to come up with little business ideas. I remember making a whole bunch of peanut butter and it was basically was taking peanuts and playing with oil and I don't even think it was healthy at all, just always trying to think of little businesses I could do," he said.

In university, Gutsche ran a web design business, but even then he said he was "frustratingly paranoid" about what business he would start.

He moved to Toronto in 2000 after finishing his undergrad at the University of Calgary, and while working at Capital One, took his interest in web design and discovering new things and created Trendhunter.com as a hobby in 2006. Soon, his hobby became the business he was always looking for, and in 2008 he left his day job to run Trendhunter.com full-time.

Gutsche has won several awards, most recently the Business Development Bank of Canada Young Entrepreneur Award as well as the Cisco Innovation Award, which he said was a complete surprise.

"That was really cool because for me when you say young entrepreneur, well that's kind of an individual thing, but when you say Cisco Innovation Award, well that is much more easily applied to the whole team that made it all happen, so I was actually ecstatic to win that because that's the celebration of work the whole team put in everything," Gutsche said.

Gutsche's schedule doesn't allow for much free time, but as busy as he is, he said his work is his hobby and he has a lot of fun with it, especially his keynote speaking engagements.

"I love it, I think that's my sweet spot. I'm very high energy, I love telling stories, I'm very visual, I use multimedia slides with jokes and videos, and I think that's my element and where I really excel," he said.
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