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Sprouter: Jeremy Gutsche and Trend Hunter Profiled

— December 16, 2010 — About
As the crowdsourced site hits 31 million+ pageviews per month, Trend Hunter along with its founder Jeremy Gutsche was profiled in Sprouter in reference to the entrepreneurial aspects of the popular website.

Check out the amazing review below to see what it is that makes up the Trend Hunter community, and how Jeremy Gutsche gets inspired when it comes to the site's development.

How TrendHunter Turned Spotting Trends Into 350 Million Pageviews and Counting



By Erin Bury

When companies and individuals want to know what's “cool” they don't turn to newspapers, TV shows or even their peers. They turn to Jeremy Gutsche. Gutsche is the founder of TrendHunter.com, the largest and most popular trend community in the world. Whether it's baby toupees, tattoos for couples or half-shaved heads Gutsche and his community of over 40,000 Trend Hunters around the world are spotting it first. He wasn't always looking for the next hot trend though. Growing up he was looking for his next hot business idea. “I always wanted to be an entrepreneur, from when I was a kid with a lawn-mowing business to when I was a university student with a web design firm and a painting company,” he says. But when it came to thinking of his 'big idea' he was at a loss and wasn't really sure what he wanted to do.

Gutsche was inspired to start Trend Hunter in 2006 after watching a video in his MBA class about 'cool hunters' who get paid for their discoveries of the next big thing. “The whole idea had me rather fascinated and I saw an opportunity to create something that was crowd-sourced and more international than anything else out there,” he says. His business background leading Capital One's innovation team led him to develop a business model around spotting trends. “A big part of innovation stems from an original 'idea', or emerging trend. However, it was disappointing that there was not a service that could 'score' emerging trends and provide more quantitative metrics around consumer trends.” The aim of Trend Hunter is to provide a place where innovators can discover ideas, ones that are crowdsourced from the network of global Trend Hunters and scored using their pageviews of data – over 350 million views to date, and over 31 million monthly.

With over 98 trend articles posted every day and media appearances and speaking engagements around the world (not to mention a business to run out of TrendHunter's Toronto office) it isn't surprising that Gutsche cites time as his biggest business challenge. “At Trend Hunter, we have a massive list of things we'd like to do, but the reality is that a growing company really needs to focus its resources,” he says. “That limits our scope, but also makes it more possible for us to create something that is irresistible to a specific group of people.” But the strong personal brand Gutsche has built over the past few years has helped grow the business. “A big part of our business is related to our professional services, including our premium trend reports and workshops, so there is a natural tie-in,” he says. “Over the last three years, I've delivered about 150 keynotes and 200+ media interviews. Each of those appearances help us to expose Trend Hunter to marketers, CEOs and innovation professionals.”

Gutsche is also the author of the bestselling book Exploiting Chaos, which explores how businesses can thrive in times of uncertainty, and his keynotes discuss the same subject. He's quick to explain why a recession or other time of 'chaos' can lead to business success, citing companies like Disney, CNN and Apple as examples of companies that were formed during periods of economic recession. “The reason is that in a period of chaos, people still buy things, but what they buy changes. If you are able to identify emerging consumer needs, you'll win while your slower-moving competitors halt their decisions, waiting for 'things to return to normal'. The world never returns to 'normal'.”

As for dealing with the chaos that comes with being an entrepreneur, Gutsche has a few pieces of advice. First he says you have to proactively pursue inspiration. “Realistically, your next big idea will not land on your lap, you will have to find it,” he says. “So develop a system for staying inspired.” He also says you have to relentlessly obsess about your story. “What is it exactly that you sell? Why should I choose you? You should be able to articulate that in a consistent seven words or less, and so should everyone on your team,” he says, recognizing that it's tough to do but that it should be an important challenge. “At this point, Trend Hunter's seven words would be something like, 'The largest collection of cutting edge trends:' but I'm still working on it.” Finally he says you can't become complacent with success. “Once you experience your first big success, it will be easy to become complacent. If you are never satisfied then you will keep finding ways to understand your consumer and create something that is irresistible.”

Gutsche's ubiquity in the media and on stages around the world combined with Trend Hunter's massive traffic and popularity indicate success, but Gutsche is far from complacent. In the early days of the business he would stay up until the wee hours of the night working on the web design and making the site better, and he still has the desire to constantly improve his company. Right now he's focused on ramping up the professional services side of the business, including Trend Hunter PRO, TrendReporters.com and their advisory program. “Companies like eBay, Microsoft, P&G, Pepsico and Nokia use these services when they are stuck for ideas and need inspiration,” he says. “I think we can build upon that client list and develop more tools that make it even more useful for people to use our quantified consumer insight.”

Check out the full article on Sprouter

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