4) Be a “nowist” instead of a futurist.
Joi Ito, Director of MIT’s Media Lab and an early stage investor in both Twitter and Flickr, notes that the ability to respond to suddenly emerging trends is key.
It’s one thing to identify long- term trends, but it’s entirely another to understand the moves you need to make ahead of time.
Consider what’s happened during this financial crisis.
Most investors were totally unprepared for the chaos in 2007 just as they were in late 1999. On the other hand, those who had prepared for the unexpected did just fine, including many Money Map Report subscribers.
Why? Because they invested in companies that had strong international sales, diversified assets, competent management and healthy cash flow. In other words, the “glocals” I’ve favored and will continue to favor until this mess resolves itself one way or the other.
These are the companies that are quite literally prepared for anything. Many, like ABB (NYSE: ABB), CNH Global NV (NYSE:CNH), SPDR Gold Shares (NYSE:GLD), and iShares Silver Trust (NYSE:SLV) actually melted-up in the triple digits.
Now, with the markets getting ready to roll over again, we’re preparing to repeat the process if needed.
5) Watch people and travel if you can.
I got started people watching with my grandmother, Mimi. You’ve heard me talk about her before.
She was widowed at a young age and managed to turn a small life insurance settlement into the money she needed to live out her life in style by becoming an extremely savvy self-taught investor.
We used to go to malls, the country club and even to burger joints (her favorite) just to watch the sea of humanity that paraded in front of us.
At the time, I didn’t really understand what she was looking for. Over the years, though, I began to understand Mimi was also watching how and what people bought.
Were they more interested in bulk purchases? Did they favor ultra-expensive goods or counterfeits? Were they paying in cash or whipping out credit cards?
She paid particular attention to folks she referred to as the “most important consumers on the planet”…our middle class. Mimi reasoned that what and where they were buying told her a lot more about the state of the economy than any “five dollar dandy” in a suit on Wall Street ever could.
And, when I’m travelling, I go out of my way to plunk down in a local shopping mall if I can.
Sometimes this involves luxury goods carried by those stores in Shanghai’s Xintiandi shopping complex or along the Avenue des Champs-Elysees in Paris.
Other times, it’s simply a Publix (PINK:PUSH) Market in Sarasota, FL, that catches my attention or the Vivre near our home in Kyoto.
Either way, the cross section of humanity I see helps me recognize patterns that, in turn, represent opportunities others don’t yet see or recognize.
T here are all kinds of ways to spot the next big thing. No one data point is going to present the single “aha” you need, but together they may form a massive blinking sign.
I hope I’m smart enough to “see” it.