Hybrid hospices,xenobots and fandoms

Welcome to this 9th issue of our newsletter “Weak Signals and other Trends”. Each week, I sift through hundreds of sources of inspiration to track where we’re heading. We discuss those trends and signals every Saturday at 9am EST on Clubhouse.

This is what I noticed this week, thank you for reading and sharing this newsletter to those who look at the future.


Competitive Intelligence

We are focusing this week on a series of tools that competitive intelligence teams are using:

Hexowatch , a powerful site surveillance tool to monitor any website for visual, content, source code, technology, availability, or price changes. Ricochet helps you complement the information you have about prospective B2B prospects. A reverse image searchFindings has been discontinued, it used to allow you to combine all your research in one place. Cars Have Your Location. This Spy Firm Wants to Sell It to the U.S. Military. Brave acquires search engine to offer the first private alternative to Google Search. The UK is secretly testing a controversial web snooping tool. The 450 pages report by The National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence. GCHQ releases ‘most difficult puzzle ever‘ in honour of Alan Turing .


Blindspots

Looking at the familiar with “alien eyes” allows you to unlock new opportunities and avoid missing emerging risks

Does your social media presence create a news’ blindspot? How to Run a Business in 2020. Amazon Live is becoming a destination for big product launches. The World’s First Programmable Organism. America’s Top Farmland Owner. The World’s Most Searched Consumer Brands. Billions in secretive derivatives ($). Whistleblower: Ubiquiti Breach “Catastrophic”. Morningstar unleashes robots to write fund research100 billions for chips.


Our future

AI Can Now Debate with Humans and Sometimes Convince Them, Too. Hybrid hospices: Could hotel, home and office soon be one space? Customer advisory boards. America’s long-ailing manufacturers are fired up. This noggin-reading gadget plays songs based on your brain waves. Chilean city installs cabins in park as offices for small businesses. Evidence of brand new physics at Cern. This AI Uses Your Brain Activity to Create Fake Faces It Knows You’ll Find Attractive. How the rise of ‘digital nomad’ visas will drive the global battle for talent. The rise of cyborg art dealers.


Weak signals

Weak signals are indicators of a change, a trend or an emerging risk that might become significant for the future. They allow us to run an hypothesis, expand our thinking, and challenge assumptions. How will you interpret those in your industry or field of expertise?

Sotheby’s Rakes in $176 Million in a Global, Five-Hour Franken-Sale. We are all that boat now. The Dark Web Is Teeming With Vaccine Listings Right Now. Coded Bias is the ‘Inconvenient Truth for Algorithms.’ and it’s coming to Netflix on Apr 15. Unfolding the math of origami. A new fashion trend: tops you can get vaccinated in. Shake Shack trials cutlery and straws made by microbes out of greenhouse gases. How you signal you’re single. Ex-Gap CEO Art Peck launches $200M SPAC, Cayman island located. Burger Restaurant Poses Food As Office Supplies So You Can Expense Your Lunch. Lil Nas X’s ‘Satan Shoe’ — made with one drop of human blood — sold out in under a minute. Stanford Scientists Reverse Engineer Moderna Vaccine, Post Code on Github. When bicycles and fryers meet ( in French)


On our radar

In this section, I will share some of the content I come across as I work on specific mandates for our clients. This is what I worked on this week:

Governance in 2021 and beyond: I am finalizing a training curriculum for the large institutional shareholder for their nominee directors, and reviewed what will be on board’s agendas in 2021-2025: Solarwind creates a new cybersecurity-specific committee in the boardroom. The state of Enterprise Risk Management in Canada. Principles for Board Governance of Cyber Risk by the World Economic Forum.

Social media awakensI am updating our course “Social Media for Competitive Intelligence” and have tracked this week many new announcement and new functionalities: Dickie Bush unveils hidden Twitter functionalities. LinkedIn adds “a Creator Mode. Slack is getting new audio features. LinkedIn confirms it’s working on a Clubhouse rival, too. So is Discord.


Hodgepodge discovery

Articles for the curious mind which likes to cross over to new fields:

The Royal Charter Gale and the world’s first National Forecasting Service. The largest collection of passion economy resources . The Strange Reason You’ll Always Weigh Less in Canada Than Anywhere Else. Microsoft PowerPoint can now coach you – and help you practice presentations almost anywhere — no humans required. What happens to our cognition in the darkest depths of winter? Listen to Wikipedia. Mapping World Literature with Mapbox.

I like new words. I read this week about fandoms.

Feeling good

Is that ship still stuck?Welsh rabbits serve up prehistoric finds on tiny Skokholm Island. The infinite drum machine. Addicted to clickclickclick. Build poemas from the NYT timeline. Where is that boat?

Distance-less, learning of cohorts, and hearing colors

Welcome to this 6th issue of our newsletter “Weak Signals and other Trends”. Each week, I sift through hundreds of sources of inspiration to track where we’re heading. We discuss those trends and signals every Saturday at 9am EST on Clubhouse.

Je souhaite la bienvenue à tous nos abonnés francophones qui nous ont rejoint en grand nombre cette semaine… je vais sans doute ajouter dans les prochains numéros une section francophone!

You can subscribe to this newsletter here to get it directly by mail:Subscribe

This is what I noticed this week, thank you for reading and sharing the word.


Business disrupted

Illustrations and examples that show our industries and business models are changing…

Musk is about to disrupt completely yet another industry: launching satellites into orbit, and promising to deliver high-speed broadband internet to as many users as possible. A global blindspot unfolds as the world ran out of a critical technology that powers our cars, phones, and more. Walmart’s Fintech Ambition: A Super App, Not The ‘Bank Of Walmart’.


We keep you informed as we spot other disruptive trends on Twitter.

Our Future

Illustrations and examples that show our industries are changing…some trends are tech related, others not so much.

What you need to know about Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC). The New Era of Social Media Isn’t About Feeds and products like Clubhouse and Twitter’s “Super Follows” offer a new kind of engagement. The invisible warning signs that predict your future health. China’s ‘Sharp Eyes’ Program Aims to Surveil 100% of Public SpaceCommunal living for urban communities. Algorythm auditing. The distance-less future, and you. You are what you sweat. The ‘megascale’ structures that humans could one day build. Where might autonomous trucking be available first, and how would it proliferate? Shops return to rural Sweden but are now staff-free.


Competitive Intelligence

Military Unit That Conducts Drone Strikes Bought Location Data From Ordinary Apps. A new ad-free, private search engine, Neeva. Beneath the Surface: Monitoring the Deep and Dark Web. An AI-Powered Competitive Intelligence tool for the automotive industry. A masterclass to understand how to test new ideas. 20+ SWOT Analysis Templates, Examples & Best Practices.

Our next course on Advanced Search Techniques for Customer Insight and Competitive Intelligence is here. Our next program will take place on April 26-27 and 28, 2021 (10am-12pm EST).

Weak signals

Weak signals are indicators of a change, a trend or an emerging risk that might become significant for the future. They allow us to run hypothesis, expand our thinking, and challenge assumptions. How will you interpret those in your industry?

view of how creators will run their business. Qoves is a “facial aesthetics consultancy” that promises to look at images of your face to tell you how beautiful you are—or aren’t—and then tell you what you can do about it. We miss touch so much, that an artist Transforms Famous Paintings Into Realistic 3D Furry Artworks . Google has invented a tool which allows you to hear colour. Chipotle Partners E.L.F. Cosmetics To Launch Vegan Makeup Collection. Unilever drops word ‘normal’ from beauty products.

Challenging assumptions: World’s first circular tennis ball hits courts this month. New Zealand growers create new brand for apples damaged by hailstorm. A ship hovering high above sea off Cornwall or how our senses can fail us.

Join us on Clubhouse at 9AM EST tomorrow to discuss how to interpret some of those weak signals.For those who missed it, we will have this 60mns morning discussion each Saturday at 9am EST ( look for @competia or follow our club “Trends! And weak signals”). Here is a summary of last week’s conversation.

On our radar

In this section, I will share some of the content I come across as I work on specific mandates for our clients. This week:

Post-covid leadershipa number of our clients are trying to figure our how management will change with a remote workforce and in a post-pandemia environmentThe role of experimentation. The career optimism index. The Future of Team Leadership Is Multimodal. The covid-19 leadership guide. The future of work after COVID-19 .

Lawtech: professional firms, and particularly law firms, are finally realizing that digital transformation will be key to their growth, if not survival. For a client this week, I dove into #lawtech: Comparing the Performance of Artificial Intelligence to Human Lawyers in the Review of Standard Business Contracts. Changing the lawyer-client relationship. Using machine learning to predict decisions of the European Court of Human Rights ($).


Hodgepodge discovery

IKEA launched Live Lagom, and ‘lagom’ is a Swedish way of living that revolves around only taking what you need. Persuading the Unpersuadable . Burger King social media crisis around Women’s Day. A fantastic curation of francophone newsletters. Hyper-accurate positioning is rolling out worldwide. Gentryfying: burning man is planning a sustainable, permanent space called fly ranch. Virginia’s privacy law is an insight into the future. Science is studying conversations. Social media: Twitter is testing an ‘undo send’ feature for paid users.


Feeling good

Create your own jazz. Bucketlist: a map of world heritage sites by Mapstr ( we use that app to log places to visit on our retail discovery tours). Flow chart fun. I knew it: Observing nature in your backyard is not dull but radically significant. Magical Photos of Fireflies Lighting Up a Forest in Japan. Search images in films.

Did you learn something today? Share your favorite issues of the newsletter, or send friends – or random strangers:

Share Weak signals and other trends

Spinach cyborgs, Clubhouse and leaked smartphone data

Business disrupted

Illustrations and examples that show our industries and business models are changing…

The iconic motorcycle maker Harley Davidson announced this week that it would issue stock to 4,500 workers, including all of its hourly factory laborers – not far from the recent “retailization” of stock ownership we witnessed with the Gamestop fiasco. Ark Disruptive Report 2021 is listing new technological breakthroughs (pdf). Supply chains are breaking up everywhere, from chips to containers. Musk’s next disruption: accounting for crypto. The impact of robot taxi disruption, from insurance to energy. A house redivided: how the pandemic changed our homes. Nidec chief predicts a $3,000-car era with the spread of EVs.


Our Future

Unbundling 2021 by Benedict Evans. A summary of the future of packaging by Trendhunter. The future of work is through workforce ecosystems. The future of Asset management and the upside of disruption ( this is Twitterization 2.0). Nomophobia is the new phobia. Generation Z, You’re Adorkable. Scientists taught birds to sing songs by implanting false memoriesAutonomous Drone to launch satellites from airport runways and drone network being developed to transport organs, blood and meds in Scotland. Business cards are going online in Asia. The Cassandra of the Internet age. Nanotechnology allows chemical signals from spinach to send emails – DARPA already was engaging nature’s silent sentinels to detect security threats. Why Editorial Brands Will Dominate Retail’s ‘Long Tale’ . Authenticity, escapism, and imperfection are the design trends for 2021, as curated by Shutterstock. This is how we lost control of our faces. “Grocerant” , a growing trend illustrating the future of groceries and supermarkets.


Competitive Intelligence

Sources: Explore, select and download data on past reconstructions and future projections of the global population by age, sex and education. Advan provides data that localizes 1 out of 4 cell phones in the US: you can use it to see the number of employees seen at Amazon warehouses ( and deduct company revenue), or monitor factory traffic at Tesla ( measuring production…). A good example of orthogonal data: The Gray Market: How Public-Health Data Can Help Us Predict the Future of Art-Market Recovery (and Other Insights). Spoonbill lets you see profile changes from the people you follow on Twitter or other social networks and Fadeke analyzes it so well here.

New tools we explored: PimEyes is an advanced face recognition search engine, a reverse image search tool, and a photo search mechanism used to find out where your face appears. They Stormed the Capitol. Their Apps Tracked Them, and the NYT identified the individuals from a trove of leaked smartphone location data.

We keep you updated on those news tools and sources on Twitter.

Weak signals

Weak signals are indicators of a change, a trend or an emerging risk that might become significant for the future. They allow us to run hypothesis, expand our thinking, and challenge assumptions. How will you interpret those in your industry and connect the dots?

The Pandemic Has Erased Entire Categories of Friendship: what will this do to our ability to learn? The global fungi (mushroom) industry is forecast to double in the next five years to a staggering $86B and M&Aabound. Solarpunks and its movement. A selfie museum in Kuala Lumpur. Why are first editions prices skyrocketing? Blue check homes. A database of influencers’ mansions. We like to explore the Showerthoughts discussion group on Reddit to pick-up a different way to look at the familiar ( the latest conversation was about Apple juice and why it had only one flavor). The networking goats. The new urban rowers. The absurd logic of Internet recipe hacks. Teens are using these shopping apps to get rich.

We are launching in April a two-day training class on strategic blindspots where we explore weak signals analysis spotting techniques. Details here.

On our radar

Clubhouse: I have spent the week diving into Clubhouse , the drop-in audio chat, and I don’t think I have be as excited about a social media networks since I discovered Twitter 13 years ago at Davos. Many have tried before ( see Twitter spaces) but I believe that Clubhouse will disrupt the world of conferences for good, has huge potential in education, will be central to brand building, and will change Art and culture forever. Much debate so we’ll see how it unfolds.

“Clubhouse has some of the appeal of early Twitter”

Family businesses: as I contemplate joining another family business board, I dive again into the role: The surprising role of family feuds in German business ( 90% of German companies are family businesses). Asia’s Family-Owned Business Founders Seek Private Equity Exit. Only 27% of family businesses in Montreal have a succession plan, according to HEC (pdf).

Cybersecurity, an ongoing interest: Google says it’s too easy for hackers to find new security flaws. How Neurodiversity Can Strengthen Cybersecurity Defense. I also immensely enjoyed having access to cyber experts at the room on Solar Winds Cybersecurity, part of the discussion of Defense and International Security Club Clubhouse (it’s been going on for +30 hours… )

Future of banking: as I prepare the training curriculum for the board of a financial institution next March on digital transformation, I read: The future of Asset management and the upside of disruption ( this is Twitterization 2.0). Investors Value News Analytics. Equifax Acquires Open Banking and Transaction Data Analytics Company AccountScore . How European banks can adapt their operating models for open banking. Inside The Billion-Dollar Plan To Kill Credit Cards. Nasdaq Decodes: Tech Trends 2021. BNY Mellon Announces Crypto Custody and Spies Integrated Services.


Hodgepodge discovery

It’s all a matter of angle: earth at a cute angle. Since we are talking about maps, look at Data Visualization and the Modern Imagination by Stanfort University. Mozilla’s 2020 Internet Health reportMarchetti’s Motorcycles or the analysis of urban transportation. How Amazon writes memos. Candles Became the Lockdown’s De Facto Interior Status Symbol. Ever heard of Kuaishou? This TikTok rival hits $160bn valuation as shares surge after IPO.


Feeling good

Pixel Vermeer. Spotify offers the soothing sound of lego bricks. A visualization of how we grieved, found solace and moved forward during the pandemic. The best travel photos of 2020. The cat and the lawyer. An excavator ballet from Quebec.

Did you learn sometime today? If so, do share this newsletter with your colleagues and peers. Thank you for reading.

Conlang, farcical situations and derisking digital

Welcome to this first issue of our newsletter “Weak Signals and other Trends”. I am still fidgeting with the format and the content scope, so your comments are welcome, here, or on our site www.competia.com.

This is what we noticed this week – some new, some old ( who says an article written a few weeks ago is out of date?). Thank you for reading.

Business disrupted

Illustrations and examples that show our industries and business models are changing…

Leica, the 107 German camera company, survives. 11 sources of disruption. Furniture start-up Outer uses customer homes as showrooms. Amazon’s fitted T-shirts: it’s not about the T-shirt, it’s about your data. Marketing agencies are launching their own brands. Cooks are turning Instagram into the world’s takeout menuEquity financing for influencers. Hiring without resumes… or interviews. Technology is finally telling farmers things they did not already know. Nike taps into the “touchless” trend and launches a hands-free sneaker. Sotheby’s brought to you by Bulgari—product placement at auction has arrived, with limitless potential. Shopping On YouTube Will Soon Be Possible. How DTC brands will approach physical retail in 2021


Competitive Intelligence

Lots on privacy this week: Those apps that spy on your pasteboard. Facebook Ad Service lets anyone target military personnel. Kapersky’s cyberthreat real-time map.

Sources to test: Twitter opens it full tweet archive to academic researchers for free. The new social mediaPatent drop scans patents filed by big Tech and it’s giving you a head-start on the future. Search Elephind for the world’s historical newspapers. Asia’s largest database of B2B contacts and company data. Never say you’re restating anything, the machines will hold it against you. Hedge funds rush to get to grips with retail message boards ( it’s about time we pay attention to social media intelligence!)

New tools we explored: Roamresearch, a note taking tool for networked thought. Notability, to combine hand written notes with sketching. Obsidian, to mindmap your knowledge. Eventregistry organizes news and world events to analyze their impact, we like their news summary search engineAhmia opens the backdoor to the deep web, and in particular hidden services on the Tor network. Littlesis maps networks of power. A promising search engine for corporate data: time will tell how Iris will do. Oh, and if you want in the future to be the first when Reddit mentions pop up, install the app for Hootsuite.

Our next course on Competitive Intelligence research techniques is here. We have a cohort starting in February ( 10am-12pm on Feb 15-16 and 19).

Our Future

Robotic police officers. A collaborative flying taxi port. Automotive sanctuaries. The problem with prediction. Getting a fresh start from the press. How nothingness became everything we wanted. How Covid made car culture cool again. Dystopian Future Securities Fraud ($). Among many trends reports published each year, the 2021 Fjord Trends is worth your time. The dictionary of science-fiction: did you know what a conlang was? The healthy building surge. Liquid machine-learning systems adapt to changing conditions. Lab-grown plants. Are you using future intelligenceUnbundling 2021 by Benedict Evans. And you can download the latest 228 page 2021 trends report by Trendhunter. Zoom Launches Tools Focused on Post-Lockdown Health, Safety – such as remote receptionist – smart move.

We also shared a list of 30 trends reports for 2021 on our Twitter feed earlier this month.

Weak signals

Weak signals are indicators of a change, a trend or an emerging risk that might become significant for the future. They allow us to run hypothesis, expand our thinking, and challenge assumptions. How will you interpret those in your industry?

The wild world of trust funds for pets. The consolatory pleasure of jigsaws when the world is in bits. Ratatouille, the Tik-Tok Musical to become actual show. Farcical situations and culture clashes; when Japan met with modern Europe in 1862.  Meet Flipper, the Tamagotchi you feed by hacking stuff. Social media whistleblowing takes off and boards should pay attention. Wework and SPAC, what could go wrong? Walmart’s media business. Microsoft turned its sustainability report into a Minecraft mapCovid tourism is booming. TikTok is obsessed with rating NYC’s sinks.

Resources: since our favorite news scanner, Google Newsmap, does not exist any more as Flash support has been discontinued, you can new scan weak signals here, by reading the small boxesExploding topics shares the rapidly growing topics, a great glimpse at emerging trends and signals.

Join us on Clubhouse to discuss how to interpret some of those weak signals next Friday, Feb 12 at 9am EST.

In our radar

In this section, I will share some of the content I come across as I work on specific mandates for our clients. This week:

Silver Economy – as I work at how we take care of an aging population, I read: Seniors are the wealthiest age cohort in the world . Boomer creating a silver surge in the economy ($). Menotech ditches stereotypes for the menopaused generation. Thinkerbell, an Australia-based creative agency, launched Thrive@55: an internship program exclusively available to applicants over 55 years old. We ordered the book Prospective Longevity. Silver to Gold: The Business of Aging.

Future of the Arts – as I prepare for a series of webcasts in March for the Manitoba Arts Council that include a review of the future of arts and culture and the related blindspots, I read: the art of mixing images. Supreme and Nike are cracking the auction market. Venice Innovation Labs creates an app to read sentiment analysis before a song is released. Immersive arts centers take off. The bankerization of the Art Market. The use of artificial intelligence in the cultural and creative sectors. How the Invite-Only Social-Media App Clubhouse Is Making the Art World Fun Again. The resilience and innovation of the screen industry in a moment of profound change , an annual analysis by the Canada Media Fund.

Digital transformation – as I am finalizing this week my notes for a keynote panel taking place in Calgary on Feb 12 on digital transformation oversight for boards, I read: Derisking digital and analytics transformations. How’s your Data Factory? A guide for corporate directors to understand digital transformation oversight.