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Phantom Inflation - Analyze Trends Accurately to Avoid Big Mistakes

Adam Hartung, Manny Teran
trends, inflation, behavior, data, economy

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Recent reports of runaway inflation in the USA are fabricated. By comparing a single quarter to another single quarter, compared to a single quarter a year ago, popular media said that inflation was the greatest in 30 years. And that simply wasn't true.  First, one quarter does not make a trend. Second, 6% inflation is not "runaway."A year ago, that quarter prices were deflated by the pandemic. Third, this year the single quarter was impacted by supply chain problems - again caused by the pandemic.

Reacting to short-term data points can whipsaw you into very bad decisions.  Trends are based on long-term trends that are consistent and demonstrate changes in behavior. Our plans should be based upon long-term trends.  The pandemic created datapoints that will whipsaw your decision making if you don't understand that the pandemic actually accelerated long-term trends that will remain intact.  The big trends toward mobility, asynchronous communications, artificial intelligence and the gig economy -- driven by the much bigger, and even more powerful, long-term trends toward an aging demographic in the USA, China, Japan and Germany, and the heightened attention to environmental awareness.

Be sure you are actually monitoring trend data over long timelines.  Focus on trends that will make a difference in 5+ years. Then overcome your lock-in to your historical business model and plan based on future scenarios.

Thinking points:
- Are you reacting to short-term media datapoints - rather than interpreting those datapoints through a trends filter?
- Are you aware of the biggest trends, and interpreting their impact on how your customers will change their behavior?
- Are you tracking important trend data?
- Are you developing new business opportunities based on trends?