TRENDS

Talk About Your Strange Bedfellows

Sunday, September 16, 2007

In "Microtrends," super-pollster and Hillary Clinton adviser Mark Penn carves society into niches we never knew existed (See: New Luddites and Ardent Amazons) but he thinks could be influential. But what happens if those niche-dwellers start to hook up? To answer that, we wrote Penn's 75 groups onto note cards, tossed them in a box and blindly pulled them out in pairs.

-- Sridhar Pappu

POWERFUL PETITES + CAFFEINE CRAZIES

This height-challenged, latte-charged group will be ever-present at political events, standing in the front row because they have to. They will be the driving force behind a new brand of super-office chairs equipped with coffee dispensers electronically connected to the Starbucks downstairs. Decaf will be outlawed, and all Randy Newman songs will disappear from elevators. Any "Austin Powers" movies with Mini-Me will become black market material, as will tapes of old NBA games with Manute Bol.

ASPIRING SNIPERS + CAR-BUYING SOCCER MOMS

Yes, they're affluent and make most household decisions. However, if those decisions include buying an AK47 to take out Katie's softball coach for not starting her, candidates better support Title IX. And we mean really, really, really support Title IX.

VEGAN CHILDREN + BLACK TEEN IDOLS

This select group will deeply influence the apparel industry, launching a new- wave of leatherless sneakers. A fundraising force, they can generate hundreds of thousands of dollars over just one dinner with Kanye West and Rihanna. Unfortunately, that dinner consists of veggie burgers, fake bacon and flourless chocolate cake.

OFFICE ROMANCERS + YOUNG KNITTERS

There's probably no more influential group than people who get it on after hours beneath the IT guy's desk and then make sweaters for each other afterward. They'll go on large quilting retreats complete with corporate teleconferencing capabilities, which will finally drive Niagara Falls hotels out of business, thus crushing the Canadian economy. Where's your socialized medicine now, bud?


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