It’s been quite a six months, I must say. Personally I took back the reigns at a company I founded in 2005, found a co-author for my book, and hired a CEO for the company I started last year (he starts next week). But I haven’t been writing nearly as much as I’d like here, and that sort of saddens me. However, one of my “half year” resolutions is to change that, and it starts with this review of my Predictions 2013.
This year’s predictions were a bit different in that I wrote about things I *wished* would happen this year, as opposed to those I thought most likely to happen. They were still predictions, but more personal in nature. So let’s see how I did, shall we?
1. We figure out what the hell “Big Data” really is, and realize it’s bigger than we thought (despite its poor name).
Halfway into the year, I think there’s no doubt this conversation has picked up speed dramatically. The PRISM program, in particular, has thrown new light on how “big” big data really is, and what kind of a society we’re becoming as we all become data. I’d say that on this prediction, which was pretty easy to make, we’re well on our way to checking the box as “true.” The bigger point of my prediction had to do with how we, as a society, are coming to grips with the more far reaching implications of all this data. I’ll report back on that at year’s end.
2. Adtech does not capitulate, in fact, it has its best year ever, thanks to … data.
I think so far, I’ve been proven right here. Terry Kawaja, he of the famous Lumascape, has revised his charts to show a more than doubling of the companies in the space this year. While there have been plenty of deals, it doesn’t look like adtech is capitulating at all.
3. Google trumps Apple in mobile
I predicted that Google would come out with an iPhone killer this year, so far, this hasn’t happened (though many do view current Google phones as equal.) There are still six months to go, with the crucial holidays to come.
Also, there are many ways to measure “trumps Apple,” including market share (where Google has already surpassed Apple), profit (where Apple is still killing Google), and the softer “buzz,” which I have to say, Google is winning in my small world. For now, I think the jury is out.
4. The Internet enables frictionless (but accountable) payments, enabling all manner of business models that previously have been unnaturally retarded.
This is a “slow burn” issue, and I think we may look back at 2013 as the year payments got really, really easy. Square, Stripe, and Braintree are leaders here, and I really do sense a breakthrough happening. But I can’t quite prove it at midyear. Many, many startups are using these services as base ingredients for their business models, I can say that.
Related, I also predicted that major consumer-facing online platforms based on “free” – Google and Facebook chief among them, though Twitter is a potential player here as well – will begin to press their customers for real dollars in exchange for premium services. This is undeniably true. Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn have all been asking me for money for premium services this year – for advertising my account, or upgrading to “pro” services. This trend is well underway.
5. Twitter comes of age and recommits itself as an open platform.
I just don’t know about this. Honestly, I don’t know. On the one hand, the company has deprecated RSS to the point of it not being usable. On the other hand, the company stands for free and open speech like no other. What do you all think?
6. Facebook embraces the “rest of the web.”
Well, as I said in the beginning, this was a set of predications based on what I wished would happen. I predicted that Facebook would “make it really easy to export your identity and data.” I’m not really seeing anything that merits a “win” here, but maybe I missed a memo.
7. By the end of the year, Amazon will have an advertising business on a run rate comparable to Microsoft.
I think this has already happened if you take out Microsoft’s search business, but we don’t know it for sure because Amazon won’t break out its ads business. More here and here. Anyone have any more insights?
8. The world will learn what “synthetic biology” is, because of a major breakthrough in the field.
Well, given I’m not steeped in current research, I better ask my friend David Kong if this is true yet. David? Hopefully it will be by year’s end!
All in all, I think the predictions are faring well halfway through the year. What did I miss?