Part 4 Trends: Sometimes You gotta Step Back and LOOK

So, this has been a big week.  My brain is turning toward international work, I’ve updated the style of the web sites, and, as always, I’m keeping an eye out for the next BIG thing.  How will photography look in 5 years?  How will US Event Photos look in 5 years?  Will it even be CALLED US Event Photos?

Let’s pull it in by 4.5 years.  How will January look?  Will I be juggling a new international series of events with my current projects?  Or, will some of my current projects wrap up?
Will I get another email from someone like Melanie, who will become an important part of the growth of the business?  Or will someone else slip a card in my pocket as I shoot, giving me an “A HA!” moment that changes how everything is done?  What will an iPad 9 look like?  Will I travel to Europe as easily as I travel to Nashville?
What will my role be?  Will I continue to shoot events, or manage the setups, infrastructure and team, scurrying from one setup to the next, getting them going, turning them over, and moving on?  Or, like this year, will it be a bit of  both?
How will Internet be?  Will today’s 4G be replaced by 5G? 6G?  What about my portable satellite dish?  Is there a better, faster, cheaper alternative?  Or, is this little bit of technology in my back pocket the best solution?
Keeping an open mind about all parts of the business seems to be the key.  If I can examine how things are done today — and then constantly ask: is there a better way?  Look at other companies that do things well — even in other industries — what ideas can I steal?  And, most important of all, listen to what clients want.  It’s that call that starts out with, “Hi, Mike.  Here’s what we want to do, but we’re not sure how to do it…” that drives innovation.  What is a brand new solution for one client, becomes standard offering a short distance down the road.
Looking around at my favorite industries, I know whats trending.  In hotels, it’s the 3.5 star that is the growth market.  Pricepoint:  About $99 / night.  How many hotels have I booked this year at between $100 and $150 / night?  30?  40?   For airlines, just look at how Southwest has revolutionized air travel, world wide.  Even if you’ve never flown a Southwest flight, other airlines have stolen their ideas — everything from boarding process to turnover of airplanes at the gates has Southwest’s finger prints all over it.  What ideas about efficiency can I steal from them?  Restaurants?  Local, healthy, farm to market food is a trend right now.  Even Denny’s offers a healthier choice menu, and gives a nod to chef inspired entrees.  They may not taste like that $30 steak, but they are close for a pricepoint of $15.  Is there a place for photographer-executed photo events at a lower pricepoint and a more basic service?  Or, is lux my niche?  In other words, should I fear Denny’s if I’m Chef Rick Mooney? Or should I pull a Target, and offer designer inspired choices at a cheaper price point?  Or, screw the discount arena — SAKS seems to do pretty well.  So does Trump Towers Chicago. 
“You know, honey, I think next year we should look at doing ___________ for Honda.  Our cost would be minimal, and think what a brand impression it would be for the races.”
Matt’s reaction to giving away ____________ a few years ago would have been immediate push back.
His reaction last night?  
“Honey, that’s a great idea.”
“Do you ever stop?”
No.  Not until I’m dead.  And then I want a Dolce and Gabanna urn for my ashes.  Make it happen.