Crystal ball-gazing: 2011 how did I do?

On December 5, last year I made a potential ass of myself by making predictions about what would happen over the subsequent year. This is the time when I see how I did:

I thought that 2011 would be Facebook’s best ever year

With the 100 billion dollar market valuation, and pundits coming out saying there is no point investing in social networks because that problem is already solved; I guess I nailed that one. What is more interesting is where Facebook is heading and that is where I think that things are starting to become interesting. I think that there are signs of the wheels coming off the wagon. I’ve talked about these things before on this blog. But over the past 12 months new things have cropped up:

  • Frictionless sharing that Facebook introduced is a way of getting around declining engagement and creating inventory that advertising can be put against. The problem with a newsfeed based on frictionless sharing is that it becomes  noise
  • The rise of Facebook on mobile has meant a paradoxical reduction in engagement

2011 will be make-or-break for Twitter. 2011 should start to see the fruits of Dick Costolo’s efforts to provide a clear long-term vision for Twitter

Twitter feels like a bit of a soap opera with all the management changes I guess 2012 will show whether Twitter is finally on its way from a commercial point-of-view.

Couponsthe economic condition means that coupons aren’t likely to go away though there will be a thinning out of competition in this field.

GroupOn going for IPO is about critical mass. What is more instructive is that there has been a reduction in the amount of coupon start-ups looking for PR respresentation and GroupOn has consolidated in markets where it hasn’t done well – China being a prime example.

Depressing though the thought is Carol Bartz will still be employed by Yahoo!.

What can I say, right assumptions – wrong conclusion. Who would have guessed that Yahoo!’s board would have grown a set of cojones (at least temporarily)?

My assumptions that led me to the wrong conclusion were:

  • Yahoo! is non-performing (people now realise that the Microsoft deal stinks, but then there is the Yahoo! talent drain, the lack of meaningful cost savings and the sales team rotating door)
  • There was no viable CEO replacement (which is why things are where they are)
  • The Asian Gordian Knot with Alibaba and Softbank
  • No easy answers on Europe
  • Yahoo! has phenomenal traffic inspite of itself otherwise this would be taking a trajectory that would be mirroring Stephen Elop’s leadership at Nokia

Gadget sales will have peaked in 2010.

Looking at global semiconductor sales as a proxy for gadget sales there is a year on year rise of just 2.1 per cent projected with a sharp drop over the last quarter. Some of the new categories like tablets are disrupting others like the PC market. The TV market is a state of large scale structural change as the Japanese brands struggle to compete as prices have plunged. Add into the mix the economic pressures and I think we’ll see a continued flattening of gadget sales unless the mobile legal troubles disrupt market options or Apple blows us out of the water with a brace of game-changing new products.

Generation-y will have to suck it up.

The Occupy movement gets headlines but looks impotent. Meanwhile in the UK data suggests that about a quarter of graduates are at best underemployed in tasks that doesn’t match their skills sets. In China these people are called ants, at the bottom of the tree things are hyper-competitive. It will be a while before things get easier due to the rolling train wreck that is the economy of the developed world.

More information

Rough Type: Nicholas Carr’s Blog: About Facebook

Thoughts on Facebook’s apparent decline in the developed world

Why Facebook is a dead man walking part 2.5? | 技术品牌的情绪

Facebook, privacy and consumer behaviour | 网路消费者行为

Facebook’s last battle?

Why Facebook is a dead man walking part II?

Facebook Fatigue

Why Facebook is a dead man walking

October global chip sales fell back, says WSTS

Thomas Friedman on America and China at The Asia Society

Interesting interview with New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman on the rise of China and contrasts this with the state of the US.

It says much about the state of the American mind and asks why western territories have a period of stuckness as their countries don’t have the same commitment to progress and economic progress as their Chinese counterparts.

The video is on Tudou, so you may need to be patient.

Key take-outs

  • The Chinese government is a learning organisation
  • It generally promotes on merit
  • It has a regular rotation of power

Links of the day | 在网上找到

Former Bing Product Lead: Why Personalized Social Search Is Unrealistic (For Now) | Fast Company

Europe turns to private label goods: – due to economic decline

Facebook Users Expect Privacy but Don’t Know How to Get It

Why Firefox Isn’t Doomed

SAP Invades Radian6 Territory with Social Media Drill-down Tool – ReadWriteCloud

Biting At Nokia’s Heels, Samsung’s Device Sales In 2011 Pass 300 Million | mocoNews

Google’s Motorola Mobility acquisition halted by EU regulators | VentureBeat

Asia-Pacific consumers confident, but cautious: Nielsen – Campaign Asia-Pacific

HAXLR8R Is the Accelerator Program for Hardware Startups | TechNode – based in Bay Area and Shenzhen

Exclusive: Microsoft Replaces Head of Windows Phone Unit – AllThingsD

Usenix: Google deploys IPv6 for internal network | ITworld

The pirates of YouTube | – I thought that this is called fraud?

Slides & Video: Climb the Social Business Hierarchy of Needs (LeWeb Keynote, 2011) « Web Strategy by Jeremiah Owyang – complete package

Furor surrounds Amazon’s comparison-shopping app Price Check – – a handy way to compete with real world businesses, but also a way of gaining competitor intelligence by implication

Hu promises to end giant trade gap | – China is looking to move to increased US demand

Ten years in the WTO sees turnaround in philosophy | – interesting analysis of ten years of China being a signatory of the WTO. It looks like the US is more protectist oriented in many respects than China

深圳香港城市建筑双城双年展 – Shenshen Biennial – great architectural and contemporary art exhibition

Men, women – and machines – – interesting commentary on M2M (machine to machine) interactions being a separate economy in its own right(pay wall)

Consumer Reports, Going Strong at 75 — – makes more money from digital than print (because it is selling specialist trusted information)

Jason Scott on text adventure games

Before immersive graphic computer games there was text adventures that ran on early home computers. Jason Scott presented his documentary Get Lamp about the storytelling of early computer games.

Looking at the games, PROs can learn a lot about building stories for audiences and media to engage with.

The video is on YouTube, so may not be available to all readers.

Networked Society: On the Brink

Networked Society: On the Brink is a short documentary film commissioned by Ericsson which talks about how the internet has changed. I really liked it because it had perspectives of the post burst from the likes of Caterina Fake. Well worth the 21 minutes of your time that it takes up.

The video is on YouTube so may not be available to all readers.