While the independent book store industry has grown by a healthy margin over the last few years, one of our local indies is closing shop. It did all the rights things -- live music and events, beer and wine -- except good servce which in this neighborhood is the definitive market deal breaker no matter how sexy your venue or offerings. Trends are seductive. This is up by this percentage; something else is down by another. Whether we look at national or global trends in any field and interest, there are always local exceptions. There is always a margin of those who aren't trend compliant. This is true whether we're talking about business, economics, medicine, technology, education, sociology, culture, politics and religion.
Knowing macro trends tempts us into local assumptions. Trend data, no matter how valid and compelling, often do not equip us with the ability to better undertand if local conditions fit inside or outside the trend profile.
No matter how much macro data we collect or purchase, it cannot substitute for studying the actual conditions and dynamics of local contexts.