The Business Trendsetter Podcast

The Business Trendsetter Podcast

Ready to create lasting and sustainable business growth? Join our weekly show with hosts Adam Hartung & Manny Teran of Spark Partners. Combined they have created over $3 Billion in customer value and leverage Adam’s deep domain expertise on Disruptive Innovation to teach business leaders how to transform their businesses. Do you want your business to be a market leader or a market laggard? Discover business trends and learn how to leverage them to create lasting business success and become a market disruptor. Join us today to evolve your thinking, create and execute better business growth strategies, and grow!


June 6, 2024 32 mins

We at Spark Partners are constantly asked how to know when to invest in a trend.  We’re asked how to tell a trend from a fad, and how to know that investing in a trend will pay out.  This podcast answers those questions by looking at case examples like Amazon, Apple, Tesla and even making predictions about Nvidia and the future of AI.

The key to identifying trends is learning how to read weak signals.  If you wait until the trend is...

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This podcast explains why so many of us make poor business decisions.  Quite simply, we tend to look backward rather than forward.  We think the future will look like the past, when that is mostly unlikely.  We let biases built up over time, and perceptions of today (which are often wrong) drive decisions - instead of data and trends.

Good leaders hire good coaches to help them understand the marketplace and how it shifts, in order ...

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For small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), intellectual property (IP) can be a hidden goldmine. But how do you capture that value when selling your company? Custom software applications can be a strategic answer.  Many SMBs have unique processes or algorithms that give them a competitive edge. Building a custom app allows you to encode these procedures into the software itself, making it difficult for competitors to replicate. T...

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Lots of talk about AI, but many small and mid-size businesses still aren’t applying AI.  This podcast is a short primer on what’s happening in AI and how to get started.  You can do it wrong, and we explain how easy it is to use the wrong data sets.  And you can apply it wrong, attempting problems that require adaptability between data sets.  Or you can do it right by focusing on activities that are repetitive, and where you have (...

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In the future electricity will be free.  How’s that for a forecast?  Adam made over 200 forecasts for Forbes mag, and when he stopped writing all 200 were proven accurate.  This podcast explains how to do good scenario planning using the electric utility industry as an example.

Demand is going up.  But supply is challenged by the technology transition from fossil fuels to sustainables.  Will the industry be able to meet demand with ...

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In this episode, Manny engages in conversation with Tanner Herbert and Rebecca Crane, both principals of the Signature Group, a longstanding full-service residential real estate company supporting buyers and sellers in Southern Arizona's fast-paced market. Beyond traditional services, their company also engages in wholesale transactions and fix-and-flip projects. Through their insights, we gain a deeper understanding of how the rea...

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May 2, 2024 30 mins

Most people think of strategic planning as a periodic exercise, typically done annually (or every 3 years) and reviewed possibly quarterly (or semi-annually.)  It’s almost an activity that is undertaken “just because” but which has minimal impact on daily decision making. 

But successful innovators do strategic planning very differently. They don’t even think of it as an exercise, but a continual process that guides decisions – and ...

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April 25, 2024 30 mins

For years Adam has been a fan of Tesla.  Tesla innovated the EV market, overcoming multiple obstacles that traditional auto execs felt were unsolvable.  And Tesla’s founder proved to be an innovator of cars, as well as business models.  For over a decade Tesla had limited competition, and it grew very quickly.

Times have changed.  This podcast explains why Tesla’s value has decreased by 65% over the past 3 years, and 50% even in the...

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Today, we're joined by Jeanne Cummings, a turnaround CEO with a specialty in guiding founder-led companies towards manifesting their visions. She delves into her unique approach, an 'inside out engagement,' which begins with grasping the founder's vision and extends through conversations with employees and customers. This process offers invaluable insights into the company's viability, free from the biases of entrenched leadership.


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Today, we had a conversation with Brendan Staib, the latest addition to the SparkPartners team and a sophomore at the University of Arizona's business school. Understanding the distinct buying patterns of each generation can provide valuable insights on how to sell to each of them and grow your market share. In our discussion, Brendan shed light on the evolving trends defining the Gen Z lifestyle, highlighting the significant impac...

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April 10, 2024 36 mins

This podcast reviews 2 innovators launching new businesses.  One we see as very likely to succeed. The other is a lot more questionable.  We explain in detail what distinguishes the difference.


Adam Hartung made over 300 predictions during the decade he wrote for Forbes.  100% of those predictions turned out to be accurate – a record for Forbes writers.  That accuracy was based upon understanding the key elements to success of laun...

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April 2, 2024 was the day General Electric died.  After 132 years, the behemoth founded on invention and innovation by Thomas Edison is no longer.  How could one of the founding members of the Dow Jones Industrial Average suffer such a fate?  After all, just 24 years ago GE – led by Jack Welch – was the most admired company in the USA; and one of the most admired globally.

Simultaneously, Boston Market has disappeared.  Down to just...

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Last week Family Dollar/Dollar Tree revealed it was filing for bankruptcy and closing approximately 1,000 stores.  For most of us, these announcements are so common we don’t even notice any longer.  Last year 4,600 retail locations closed in the USA. CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreens closed 800 stores. 

This podcast explains how the US became so “overstored.” Something that was clear a decade ago. Those who were paying attention were smar...

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In the last couple of weeks the Supreme Court has overturned a lot of precedent.  Similar to other headlines, it’s important business leaders use this input to update future scenarios.

This podcast reviews how the 3 big precedent changes (New York gun law, reproduction rights and school prayer) all indicate a shift in the high court toward personal rights over the rights of society.  This is a substantial change, and can reflect how...

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GE was founded on April 15, 1892.  On April 2, 2024 there will be  no more GE.  This podcast explains that what took 108 years to build, culminating in Jack Welch’s huge growth spurt from 1980 to 2000, was systematically destroyed by CEO Jeff Immelt and his successors.  How?  By focusing on earnings rather than growing revenues.


This week Boeing was put under criminal investigation.  Its reputation is a disaster as we wonder if its...

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This podcast interviews Tom Koulopoulos, Founding Chairman of Delphi Group, Executive Director of the Babson College Center for Business Innovation, past Director of the Dell Innovation Lab and contributor to Inc Magazine as well as many other journals. We overview his latest book (#14) “GIGATRENDS” offering insights to the major trends creating opportunities for entrepreneurs and small businesses globally.

The 6 Gigatrends act as l...

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There is a lot of immigrant bashing in the USA these days. Somewhat ironic, given that almost all Americans have an immigrant background. Nonetheless, there is a perception among a lot of people – business leaders included – that immigrants are bad for the economy.


This podcast sets out to reverse that thinking. Reviewing ample data from the Congressional Budget Office, Department of Labor and regional Federal Reserve offices we ov...

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February 24, 2024 33 mins

Starting next week will replace Walgreens on the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA.)  This 100+ year old index may seem out of date, but it does still have meaning.  Being selected for inclusion means a company is relevant and growing, and being opted out is the opposite.  We discuss in this podcast how changes in the DJIA and the Dow Transport Average (which just opted in Uber to replace Jet Blue) provide insight to ho...

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Fed Chair Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen have both confirmed we will have a commercial real estate debacle on our hands soon.  Great, they finally figured out what Manny and Adam have been saying for over a year!  Better late than remaining ignorant!  So what does this mean for you?

This podcast explains the risks this is creating for CRE owners and banks with loans on these properties.  And those risks will impac...

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February 13, 2024 33 mins

Trends are long-lived customer behavioral changes.  Trends cause customers to develop new needs and allow companies to supply new solutions.  Thus, trends are loaded with opportunity, and the source of obsolescence.  But far too few companies use trends in their planning.

This podcast overviews how we verify trends, identify trend reinforcers, and then use those trends to plan. We dig deep into the 4 trends we identified at the pand...

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