I’m an advocate of scouring the real world for information. I call it my “Cabbie Index.” When I’m in a new area, I like to ask cab drivers how things are going. They always know where the construction is happening… who’s getting laid off… and how the business at local spots seems to be. (Though I suppose I might have to rename it the “Uber Index.”)
For example, when I stay at a Hampton Inn in Madison, Wisconsin, I mingle in the morning with folks enjoying the great breakfast foods. (I love the self-made waffles.) I might hear about a new pipe or valve company from a couple of engineers or hear thoughts on electronic medical record (EMR) systems from some visiting nurses.