Saturday, 26 March 2016

Bricks and Vogue

My new book is going to be released on June 16th, 2016. It's called Signals: How Everyday Signs Can Help Us Navigate the World's Turbulent Economy. It will help you get a better grip on your economic future. Nobody can predict the future but we sure can prepare for it better. How? Look for signals. They are everywhere! Here are some examples….
Bricks, Trash and Cattle Rustling
People are stealing antique bricks in the East end of London because house prices are rising so much that no one can afford to buy. Instead, they expand upward or down into the basement. That means finding bricks that match the existing bricks. What does this signal? It tell us that we will probably have to pay more rent and higher house prices in future. It tells us that property price inflation is becoming an ever more powerful force in our lives. Perhaps then it's no surprise to find that young people are moving in with parents or moving out to secondary cities or into micro-apartments and even temporary housing like tents. Yes, tents! This is true in NYC, San Francisco, Hong Kong, Sydney – in fact, just about everywhere.
Speaking of stealing, in NYC scavengers are stealing the most valuable recycling products, like plastic containers, because the price has gone up so much. In Texas, we see the return of cattle rustling because the price of beef has skyrocketed to an all time high for some years now.
So, maybe we are seeing some signs of inflation. Even Stanley Fischer, the much trusted, Deputy Chairman of the US central bank recently said, we are seeing the "early stirrings of inflation". If all this is true, you need to think about a world where your cost of living is going up.
There are ways to prepare for this, like making the most important investment you will ever make, as Warren Buffet says - in yourself.

Fashion Signals

I used this Vogue Magazine cover to explain a signal I saw in the fashion industry a few years ago in 2009.  
Thank you to Conde Nast for giving me permission to use this image in my book.
It presaged a huge shift in the fashion industry from making very cheap, disposable fashion for young people who had been receiving unsolicited credit cards in the mail. Now fashion is made for a much broader range of people and with a better value for money proposition. The shift away from "heroin chic" models to the mother of three on this cover was a signal of that change. Also, she's nude. Think about it. It's a fashion magazine showing absolutely no fashion! It signals that the fashion industry is not at all sure who the customer really is any more. What is their income? Their age? Their needs? Notice how there is no agreement about hemlines these days – they are all over the place. Think about clothing sizes. What used to be called a size 14 is a 10 these days? Why? Because older consumers have more wealth today given the high level of youth unemployment. The fashion industry is flattering them to win their business.
Signals are everywhere and they tell you a​​lot.
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Just open your eyes!
You can pre-order Signals on


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