Frameworks for Predicting the Next Big Trends in Tech



Industry-shifting opportunities come along about every five-to-ten years. In this Sept. 24th conversation at Stanford, Ceci Stallsmith, Slack’s Director of Platform Marketing, outlined her methodology for detecting platform shifts before it’s too late to jump on a trend. Given that the media industry is incredibly trend-driven and that the impact of innovation seems really short-lived in media, Stallsmith outlined what she called a four-part “flywheel” model:

    • Platform emerges. (Ex: iPhone had strong launch, customer pickup)
    • Ecosystem responds. (Developers wanted in, and Apple said yes)
    • Flywheel spins up – or fails. (iPhone users adopted apps, paid more, and phone became more useful)
    • Next platform comes out, as an extension of the former. (Superior to Android, more sales, more developers build more apps)

To be sure, she said, major platform shifts (computer to mobile to messaging) can be hard to discern from other trends that get overhyped then fade.  Her advice? If you want to determine what the next big thing is, get to know the last big thing incredibly well. Check out Ceci’s talk here: