Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Seven from around the bend

I'm sorry, but I can't let a festive season approach without making a few predictions. It's all that pausing for thought we do at this time of year (that and the fact I'm often asked to do some long range forecasting for company strategists in December!).

Worth trusting? That's up to you to judge.

So here's a few. Not to be taken to seriously - more to provoke you into a making a few of your own - crowd-sourcing the future if you like. (Image courtesy)

Of course, you can always back your thoughts with something like hubdub (in fact, I just might).

1. Broadband providers will start trying to differentiate themselves by upload speeds.
Inspired by a lunch with JP Rangaswami. It's a pet gripe of his that the internet is built all wrong at the point of use - ie it's a medium for participation yet our download speeds are often 10 times or more faster than our upload speed. So, as we get increasingly creative, and (at least the advertised) download speeds get faster and faster, the key differentiator for ISPs won't be a free laptop or 24mb, it'll be how fast I can upload and share my video collection. Watch for the shift this year.

It's an end to placing value in the ability to broadcast and a start to valueing the network.
2. Expect the same rules to apply for mobile devices. I want my iPhone to upload as fast via 3G and wifi as it can download (actually I want the 3G way faster up and down!!).

3. A daily national newspaper will stop printing (finally). In the UK. The shift to network plus the deepening recession will do for at least one. It'll attempt to live on online.

4. A large broadcast media (print, radio or TV) company will go bust (not be sold, cos no one is buying). Btw, it won't be bauer media.

5. There will be a social media backlash.
I do think 2009 is the year a realisation will dawn that social media is less a cause and more a symptom of a changed world.

Having said that, getting a 'social media strategy' is not only fashionable, it IS all important in taking a business, brand or organisation on its journey to the networked world.

And there aren't enough people who genuinely understand this seeming chaos to go around.

With so many bandwagon jumpers coming into the field, many a customer will get their fingers burned. Quick tip, avoid those who try to sell you exploitation of social media rather than participation in it.

The good guys will have some damage to repair.

6. Twitter will monetize in a ham-fisted way. Aggrieved participants will form an open-source co-operative version with funding based on the wikipedia model.

7. Microbanking will get Government backing in a response to growing loan-sharking in the worst hit parts of the economy. (kiva.org for the uk?)

That's enough from me. What do you think 2009 has in store for us?


The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?