Headphones Market Makers

There it was. I'd stumbled on a truth I knew - was helping new headphones, DAC and high-resolution music and media players gain traction, become known and establish brands. In the Google Trends chart above searches tower above new brands or products being helped by Drew Baird and’s advocacy, passion, and support. Finally and by serendipity evidence is clear.

Market makers are important.

Market filters is another way to think of these special brains. I was married to a market maker in the specialty gift space (Janet McKean of Janet’s Lost and Found) for more than twenty years.

[caption id="attachment_2338" align="alignnone" width="200"]v Market Maker = Strange Alchemy[/caption]

I’m familiar with the strange alchemy of information market makers process. Market makers see synergy and mashups where most stare uncomprehendingly. They see tiny threads connecting a chaotic cauldron of boiling information. Then they weave those threads into sweaters we can all wear, understand and enjoy.

Market Maker Alchemy - Finding Common Threads In Disparate Data such as:

  • Macro trends such as smartphones & Internet of Things.
  • Similar ideas in other businesses (provides sticky metaphors).
  • Technical trends such as wireless and mobile headphones.
  • Brand information about a range of products and services.
  • Cultural zeitgeist taps emotional and psychographic trends.
  • Financial trends to know where is a market’s cost / benefit / value points are.
  • Advice, sentiment and trends from other market gurus and experts.

Janet used to "read" what seemed like hundreds of fashion, style and women's publications every month. I put read in quotes because she was visual first and foremost. She looked for confirming visual clues and then read a few of the articles. She didn't repeat the same pattern either. Each month she used different source material.

Walking and buying at an International Gift Show with Janet is an amazing experience.

Janet sees connections, magic and The Next Big thing long before others. I bet walking the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) with Drew Baird, my friend and founder of Moon-Audio, would be a similar experience of "secret synergy". "Secret synergy" because Drew and Janet see the SAME THINGS but process what those products, brands and clues mean (to and for the consuming public) different than most.

Consumer Electronics Show Crowd & Booths picture

Imagine you are in an impossibly large conference center (the Javits in New York say). Every ten or twenty feet is a booth. There are rows of hundreds of booths. There are thousands of exhibitors.

Each booth contains a handful to hundreds of products (gifts or electronics). The hall is THRONGED with people rushing to buy, discover and find the next big thing for their stores or your ears.

Sound like the third circle of Dante’s Inferno? We concur. The amount of information, people and DATA overwhelms most. A tiny minority THRIVE inside what would be Dante's nightmare for many (including me lol).

Drew Baird and Janet McKean are leaders.

Where you and I see a scrum of unintelligible HAY market makers see a tiny golden needle or two or three. The trick is to remain OPEN. Every lizard brain defense mechanism says run in the other direction. Every warning says CLOSE DOWN.

I helped Janet for a few years after we moved to North Carolina. I attended several International Gift Shows. Janet’s company sold creative gifts developed by artists, craftspeople and entrepreneurs to small, cool and creative gift and museum stores around the world. Janet was a seller when she ran her specialty gift company. Prior to starting her sales company Janet was a buyer for the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.

Buyer Seller Market Maker Rubicon graphic

Buyer, Seller, Market Maker

Buyers are different. Buyers fall into categories such as;

  • 20% Lookie Lous – ladies who lunch who may influence their friend who owns a gift store but rarely buy themselves.
  • 50% Working Merchants – head down, trying to order 90% of what they have ordered before. Open to a TINY number of new things and only if a trusted source verifies the buy.
  • 20% Corporate Buyers – usually with name-tags turned inward and an air of entitlement we aren’t sure anyone deserves any more buyers from Barnes and Noble and other "big box" retailers aren’t open to the Shock of the New either (strangely). Big box retailers worry about losing jobs instead of money / company.
  • 10% Visionary - market makers like Janet McKean and Drew Baird.

Every market is an inverted pyramid. A tiny group influences everyone else. The web speeds up and democratizes (to some extent) the “market maker” process, but the web can't speed up learning the strange alchemy needed to see the next big thing.

Audio Gear Manufacturer? Need Drew's Help? 
Manufacturers seeking Drew's counsel, advice and advocacy may email Drew(at)

Music & Gear Lovers
Love music, headphones and the rapidly evolving gear used to make our music sound amazing? FOLLOW @MoonAudio, Moon Audio on G+ and Moon Audio on Instagram.


Market Maker Chart
The Google Trends chart above shows searches for keywords Moon Audio, high-resolution music and media player manufacturer Astell & Kern, Digital Audio Converter developer Chord Electronics (Chord Hugo) and new Momentum wireless headphones from Sennheiser.  Sennheiser is a sizable brand online, but new entrants such as Astell & Kern and Chord depend on market makers such as Drew Baird and to share hard-earned reputation, traffic, and customers. Market makers are educators, technical mavens, and great communicators. They live to see and share the next big thing.

Marty Smith Moon Audio Ambassador picture

Martin Smith

Marty is a guest blogger, Moon Audio Ambassador, and founder of Curagami, a company Moon-Audio uses to create content, community, and commerce online. He can be reached at Martin(at)

Marty's Moon Audio Ambassador Profile.