I was recently asked to comment via email on what I saw as big new trends to watch for during the next 12 months. Here is what I dashed off and wanted to share with you all:
1. I expect to see a few big breakout international web businesses come over to North America and gain traction. We have seen this play out in traditional media: American Idol, The Office and X Factor come to mind. I expect to see this same phenomenon on the web, as there are more web users by far outside of the U.S.than are here. We seem to be the great exporter of services, and I think we will see importing of web businesses soon. I would also expect a few China-based companies to come on over to North Americato find new growth.
2. I believe that many traditional big media companies will spin out some of their selected web businesses that they had acquired over the last five years. Many of these businesses got lost in a big corporate structure and have also lost talent and the ability to recruit great engineers because of lack of founders’ equity to be offered to key employees. I think big companies will spin out little companies and try to capitalize on Internet multiples.
3. B to B spending will be hot – there is so much cash on the balance sheets of big companies that they will soon become big-time spenders again. Also, profits at many industry leaders are skyrocketing, and I expect investment spending to start in a big way soon. This may seem counter-intuitive, but it is time for leaders to step on the gas pedal now to increase their market leads. Spending trends are positive with industry leaders. I also think B to B marketplaces will be hot.
4. Curation – by humans – will become important. We have over indexed on machines and algorithms doing all of our recommendations. I believe that real life experts will now become more and more important. People that we trust will help us find our way in an over-communicated world – a web with too many choices, too much noise and not enough signal. Humans will rule again!
5. Hyper local will be in. Local is so 2011 – hyper local is what matters – what is happening on my street, to my neighbors, in the news right here and right now. D.C. doesn’t matter to me right now, Penn Quarter doesn’t matter right now, F Street and 7th is what matters to me right now. Development work on presence – identity – commerce on a real time and hyper local level will be hot!
6. Video streaming, at any time, anywhere and to any device. Interactive TV, sharing of video, adding value around the streaming with interactivity in HD… Watch as cable companies morph totally into communications companies and as computer companies become television manufacturers – with Apple as the proxy for excellence in this space. The video Instagram is emerging, a next generation YouTube is about to be born, a way to share video and comment and create and edit by a large audience is almost here. This will be a great new area of innovation!
7. Verticals will rule. While Facebook is broad based, Pinterest caters to a female demographic. We will see the launch of several new and important vertically based communities of interest: woman, children, teens, African Americans, Latinos, Sandwich Generation members, military, gays and lesbians, expats, retirees and on and on – all wrapped in content and community with targeted commerce. You can sense this is a huge new opportunity with lots of investment dollars available to fund great teams and great ideas and new twists on execution.
8. Sharing economy – we all want to be founders of our own local businesses and open up our homes, our cars, our second homes, our stuff, our talents and share and barter and trade and try to generate dollars. The sharing economy is real and I expect some new break-through ideas and companies to be started in next 12 months. A next generation eBay is looking to be born. Zipcar is hot. Home Away is public. There will be more to come here I am sure.
9. Crowdsourcing and funding initiatives – being able to donate and use other currencies such as points, miles or virtual dollars to help a shared mission or cause based enterprise will boom. New currencies – virtual and toggling back to real world will be a huge growth business. I like this opportunity and space very much. Where is the new Paypal? Where is the next Zynga? Another Kickstarter? They are out there. And I bet they become vertical in nature and specialists as well.
10. Big data to make lives easier – whoever can integrate and use big data to help improve the quality of life will build huge value. Health care, education, day-to-day life planning and navigating web usage is all still waiting to be reinvented by use of real time and real life big data. Data scientists rule. Data is reinventing how we act and anticipate and plan. He or she who has the most data is winning, but those who know how to get that data to users to interpret on a personal basis will be kings!
That was the verbatim of my email; written off the top of my head. I hope you find it interesting. Thank you.