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Clues to building your future roadmap lie outside the industry

21 “sight bites” to help you find your way

Like you, I am way more interested in 2011 than I am looking back. I want to know what we can expect this year—both the good and the bad. So please, “just give me the facts.” And like you, I need to know if we’re on the right track. Will our customers continue to be focused on the same things like reducing costs; and minimizing the environmental impact of our metal/manufacturing processes? Will there be new expectations we’re not ready for? How will things we cannot control affect our industry?

Since no one is going to to be handing out road maps any time soon, we have to do our best to piece it all together and just trust. So, as much as we all want to be forward focused, we must also be mindful of what’s been set into motion already. Anyway, it’s impossible to connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. And my advice is to look broadly outside the industry. Few disruptions happen due to changes within our own industry. Connect dots by observing seemingly unrelated trends and changes in the world. Ask, How might this be relevant? How do I link this information back to our business? Here are a few sightings that caught my eye. “Sight bites” that could help you expand your outlook:

11 percent

Rise of the Dow Jones Industrial Average in 2010.

Two million

China’s goal for annual patent filings by 2015 representing a change in national strategy from an imitation economy to an innovation economy. Source: Goguu.com (http://tinyurl.com/243kvpa)


Percentage of US consumers who consider being physically fit important to being ‘well.’ “Health is now as important to some consumers as having the biggest, shiniest status symbols.” Source: The Hartman Group, August 2010


Number of iPad owner manuals delivered with each new Hyundai Equus.


December index of PMI manufacturing (purchasing managers index), an increase of 0.4 percentage point compared to month earlier. The 18th consecutive month of growth in the manufacturing industry. Reuters (http://tinyurl.com/3yeyond)


“Word of the Year 2010”—Merriam-Webster. “Admonish” and “Bailout” were 2009/2008’s respectively.
What will be 2011?

500 million

Number of Facebook users at one moment in 2010.


Increase in new-vehicle shoppers that said they avoided Toyota because of the “bad reputation of the manufacturer” —up from 3% in 2009. “… the industrial recovery is stronger than the recovery in the general economy,”—Daniel J. Meckstroth, chief economist for the Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI. “Despite the recent deceleration in the pace of growth ….”


People happier with Microsoft Windows in 2010. More than any previous survey period. Bloomberg.


Fortune magazine places Ratan Tata in its “2010’s Top People in Business” list. Tata’s conglomerate controls more than 24 publically traded companies with interests as diverse as Jaguars, hotels and steel.


Estimated share of email sent in 2010 as spam. Data: Symantac


Number of non-US companies now trading on the NYSE. Fortune

Ones to Zeros

Start-up, Lyric Semiconductor changes the language of binary 1s and 0s—as we knew it for almost 60 years—to include values “in between.” The new chips will process information using probabilities, considering many possible answers to find the best fit.

+10% and +$1,000

Amount of pay raise and bonus Google is giving all 23,000 employees in January 2011 in an effort to curb escalating defection. Business Insider (http://tinyurl.com/32b5g8x)


Approximate number of Cuban cigars seized over a two-week period (November 2010) by officials at Chicago O’Hare International airport. Source: Associated Press.


Commuters in Beijing who have experienced traffic gridlocks so bad they have turned around and gone home. Bloomberg.


“Marketing in the future is like sex. Only the losers will have to pay for it.” Jon Bond, in Fast Company


Reports first quarterly profit in 3 years.


Record price for a pound of copper, a 33.4 percent increase in 2010.

$2.8 billion

Amount Chinese companies invested in U.S. projects or acquisitions—January thru September 2010. Their government is “encouraging” westward expansion. Bloomberg.


The concept of “unlimited” computing resources gained all-wheel traction in 2010. The cloud has the potential to create a cascade of disruptions transforming many industries. Source: Deloitte (research) Center for the Edge.

HIT Solutions believes the more your business keeps up with important trends, the more you will improve your product, and improve your bottom line.

Leave me your comments below; share some observations.