Case Study 1: Alcohol’s falling trend

The Griff is tracking alcohol. Actually it’s following beer, aperitif, spirits, wine, and mixology because alcohol is a bundle of things. But if we take alcohol as a category, we see decline. In an interesting metric, Pinterest says that searches for “sober” are up 746%. The WSJ says that Americans drank less wine for theContinue reading “Case Study 1: Alcohol’s falling trend”

Storytime 1: fast culture and slow culture on Oprah

One of our fundamental principles on M-T-F is that the future is not just for cool-hunters. It’s not just about the latest fads. That’s fine for the fashionable futurist. But real futurists are interested in the whole of the future. We’re interested in both fast and slow culture Here’s a little story from my ethnographer’sContinue reading “Storytime 1: fast culture and slow culture on Oprah”

Case Study 2: Steampunk is flat

The contents of Steampunk tile tell a story. The first tile introduces the term. And then through the next six tiles, we show IBM’s noble effort to study Steampunk and then declare it the big trend for 2013. As it turned out, IBM was wrong. The trend had in fact peaked. And that’s what makesContinue reading “Case Study 2: Steampunk is flat”

Case Study 3: GHE20G0TH1K is going nowhere fast

GHE20G0TH1K is a tiny trend. It’s not the future. It’s not even a future. It is a community of enthusiasm that started small and will stay small. I came across it by accident. What, I wondered, is this? How did someone make “ghetto” and “gothic” go together. It was one of the favorite conceits ofContinue reading “Case Study 3: GHE20G0TH1K is going nowhere fast”

Case Study 4: Celebrity fatigue

Until quite recently we were unapologetically in love with our celebrities. They were the last elite standing. Experts, academics, social elites, politicians, civil servants, artists, authors, intellectuals, all of these had fallen. Celebrities seemed to rise inexorably, taking over TV journalism, magazines like Vanity Fair, the best seller list, marketing and even innovation. And thenContinue reading “Case Study 4: Celebrity fatigue”

Case Study 5: the eclipse of the cool hunter?

In late 2019 I had a meeting with Jodi Harris in NYC. She looked at me across her desk, and smiled, and said, “Look, we don’t need to hear about the latest thing. We don’t only care about cool. We want a bigger picture than that.” I looked at her with astonishment. Actually what IContinue reading “Case Study 5: the eclipse of the cool hunter?”

Mapping the future versus flying blind

This is an excerpt from an essay I wrote a couple of years ago for The Antioch Review. (You can find the entire essay under the title Remaking the Museum for the 21st Century in Volume 16, Number 2, Spring 2016, 324-332.) We are all confronted by organizations that are “flying blind.” Ten years ago,Continue reading “Mapping the future versus flying blind”

Case Study 6: the Griff spots youth weaponizing youth?

While walking on Sunday, it occured to me that two parts of the Griff might be connected in ways I hadn’t seen. Thus did “Failure to Launch” seem to connect to “Incel.” Part 1: Failure to Launch The Griff has been tracking the Failure to Launch problem for some time. This is the phenomenon thatContinue reading “Case Study 6: the Griff spots youth weaponizing youth?”

Richard Hakluyt, master mapper

Richard Hakluyt (1552-1616)Hakluyt (pronounced “hak-loot” and “hak-light”) was an Elizabethan chaplain, private secretary, and deeply curious man who applied himself to a particular task: knowing everything one could know about the new world and how to get there. By our standards, Elizabethan explorers could be spectacularly casual about what they felt they needed to knowContinue reading “Richard Hakluyt, master mapper”