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Economic Development is . . . (increasing the flow) of capital through the community and reducing its leakage.

Trending Yogurt

Once there were four business men. They were sitting on a bench in a hospital waiting room because their wives were having babies.

A nurse comes over and says to the first businessman, “Congratulations! Your wife had a baby.”  The man says, “What a coincidence! I’m the president of the shoe company And1!” The nurse goes away.

Then the nurse comes back and says to the second businessman, “Congratulations! Your wife had twins!” The man says, “What a coincidence! I’m the owner of the Minnesota Twins!”

The nurse goes away. The nurse comes back and says to the third businessman, “Congratulations! Your wife had triplets!” The man says, “What a coincidence! I work for Triple Crown Records!”

The nurse goes away. The nurse comes back and sees the fourth businessman alone on the bench crying. She asks, “Why are you crying”? The man replies, “I work for Seven Up.”

The fourth businessman’s assumption that his wife would have septuplets makes sense, as most business savvy people can always spot the trends around them. Have you ever stopped and thought about trends. Why do people follow trends? Who sets the trends?

Listen to Jonah Berger from his book “Contagious: Why Things Catch On.”: “Walk by the dairy section of any grocery store, and you’ll notice a half a wall devoted to Greek yogurt, that extra thick and creamy, strained yogurt that has erupted in popularity in recent years. There is Chobani and Fage and Oikos. And to think that most of these did not exist five years ago.

We have been eating yogurt in the U.S. for a long time and the Greeks have been making yogurt in Greece for a long time. So why did the yogurt suddenly catch on? Why do any trends — be it food, clothes or music — catch on?

“Greek yogurt, is really a great example of the power of social influence and word of mouth. They did spend some money on advertising, but it was really people trying the product and telling people how fabulous it was.”

The reasons people pass on information and, thereby, induce trends, are numerous. For some, it is about keeping up with the Joneses — people want to appear to be “in the know rather than behind the times,” said Berger.

I want everyone reading this to stop and think about what is trending in Tama County. Is it positive or negative? Are things going well or poorly? Who are the people you are listening to?

I will leave you with this- it was American novelist and poet Jack Kerouac that said “Great things are not accomplished by those who yield to trends and fads and popular opinion.”

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