News & Analysis

Travis Bernard of TechCrunch on trends and fads in the startup world

- July 15, 2016 2 MIN READ

Like many industries, the tech scene is a big fan of trends – right now, everyone is jumping on Pokemon Go and declaring that augmented and virtual reality have finally hit the mainstream. Before putting all your resources into developing for VR, however, it’s worth taking a step back to look at whether something is about to go boom or bust.

Travis Bernard, director of audience development at TechCrunch, has seen many a fad take over the startup world. Travelling to Australia to speak at the Interactive Minds Digital Summit in Brisbane and Melbourne later this month, where he will be discussing five important digital trend, Bernard said it’s not just coders and product people, but marketers and content creators that need to be able to spot the trend from the fad.

A few that are here to stay for a while? AI and chatbots, Bernard said.

“I think we’re going to see more iterations of these trends that already exist. With AI, it’s just going to get smarter and smarter as we go along. Another big trend we’ve been seeing, which is almost like the extension of our phones, is these mobile ecosystems in the world of cars,” he said.

“After your office and your home, I would say your car is probably the place where you probably spend the most time, so you’re starting to see a lot of investments from bigger tech companies into that space, Apple in particular, Google obviously with the self-driving cars, so it will be interesting to see what that ecosystem’s going to evolve into.”

For some technologies, however, Bernard said the tech world must acknowledge that often it – and its products – exist in a bubble and will take time to catch on in the mainstream.

“I think we’re a little sheltered here being in Silicon Valley…a great example of that is something like Lyft or Uber. I can’t even imagine getting around in the city without these technologies, but a study of all the taxis and ridesharing services in New York City found that, despite the popularity of Uber and Lyft, the taxi cabs are still generating more than twice the amount of business as these ridesharing services are,” Bernard said.

“While they might be cutting into their business, it still takes a long time to topple that majority. Even things that we think have a tonne of big momentum might take five, ten years down the road to really start hitting a bigger massive option.”

With his experience of local startups largely limited to his work with Canva and New Zealand’s MishGuru, Bernard is keen to learn more about the Australian startup landscape during his visit; as well as Brisbane and Melbourne, he will be visiting Adelaide and Sydney.

Image: Travis Bernard. Source: Supplied.