Saturday, January 8, 2011

7 Belated New Year Predictions

Here's my view on what will be important this year. It's all pretty much 'global brain' type stuff, and in no particular order. No doubt most of it will have been said more eloquently by others.

Crowdfunding - (e.g. kickstarter) will really take off. Getting funded without giving up equity is huge. Success to fail rate doesn't matter any more, because the investor gives up so little. All a crowdfunder's investments can fail and they won't even notice. This is no flash-in-the-pan, and has plenty of evolution left in it to give more and better outcomes.

Ubiquity - realising that Tim O'Reilly's small pieces loosely joined upon the DNS, HTTP, HTML/JS/CSS platform needs some help. One Ring to Rule them all is where the network effect takes us - points of control are an emergence of this phenomenon, and we will realise the need to pull this stuff into a standard platform that has a completely different and dynamic governance model. The fabric of the web hasn't finished evolving yet.

Diversity - the realisation that this standard platform will deliver truly thriving diversity and competition - enabling the 'small pieces loosely joined' model. This platform is not the raw web we see today. We will realise that the only way to maintain healthy competition on the web in the face of the network effect is to consume points of control for the common good.

Incumbent business fighting the future - the old chestnut. Points of control being subsumed for the common good, to deliver real competition? Yep, they're gonna like that a lot. Not. The thing is, the future is coming so fast now that the thinking behind these old warhorses will no longer sustain new businesses. The lifecycle of a business will begin to shorten. Google has begun its boring incumbency, and Facebook isn't far away. It's easy to overtake a stationary target. It's already happening, and we'll start to realise it. Agile business models that embrace change will become the new black.

Process is data - the realisation that our obsession with data hasn't done a great job of including process. Gov 2.0 is flailing because inert data is an end, not a means - what about the processes behind that data? That's where government is.

Facebook loses lustre - People will realise Facebook is not so great, and see the benefits of a better model of the social graph. It will only be a whisper during the year, but will be surprising how quickly it becomes a roar. Facebook knows this, but can't change due to the inertia of incumbency and public expectation. Douglas Rushkoff covers it much better and from more angles. I agree with him.

Social reward - using achievements to drive people's behaviour in a social context will really gather steam. Social recognition and reward based feedback loops are the agents of change that the world needs.