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December 30, 2004

Prediction Time

It's that time of the year when every hack  (or a geek like me who has found an easy publishing tool !)  will serve his bits acting as if he just had a lunch with Nostradamus.

Predicting the near-term technology future is tempting. If you are a careful follower of blogosphere's  echo chamber threads  and know that we all smoke from the same weed (credits to Om Malik for stating this loudly), then predictions are going to be sideways variations of  the known trends.

There will be normal vendor moves in reaction to the broader technology cycles and there will be nuts rolling out applications from their garages not knowing how to make money but surely they will cause lot of heart burns in the top tech 100 and joy in the long tail market. There will be more new memes. (Is this a coincidence that meme is pronounced like dream) .

Though I will need a place to cover from all the blogs which are going to talk about Apple, iPod, Skype, Google, Blogging, RSS,  Podcasting. Not that I dont like reading about all this but too much of the samething makes echo chamber very boring. 

So here is my suggestion for all pundits out there. Go get a copy of Nassim Nicholas's book - Fooled By Randomness.  That will sober down all the trend-chasers as well. My suggestion is do all the chasing after reading this book. You will be doing yourself a big favor.

In the words of one reviewer:

We are built to see patterns, to find causes for things, and to believe in our own rationality. We cannot help doing it. The attraction of Taleb's book is that he is very well aware of this. He knows nothing he says can dispel the illusions created by randomness, and that he is as susceptible to them as anyone. His only advantage is that he is aware of the failing, and can try to play tricks on himself to circumvent it - by denying himself access to junk information, for example. The book's short but excellent final section deals with this Zen-like problem of trying to break oneself out of a mould of thinking that cannot be broken, even though one recognises its shortcomings.

Once you finish that book then you can come back to the fun game :)  of placing bets.  Having put the disclaimer of "game" right there I am free to place my slot machine bets. Here they are :-

  1. Google will buy a big non-technology company for their information assets.
  2. Microsoft will open source their application suite - Navision or Great Plains , causing big shake in the Linux market as well as in enterprise software world.
  3. Big game changing deal will be signed by Chinese communications equipment company (OK this was easy)
  4. Starbucks floor panners will add kinko type services to serve latte-sipping free agents as this market keeps growing. Small meeting room with a presentation screen is a logical addition. Pricing will be bundled with wifi/latte/backup/presentation/music download. There will be podcast DJs hosting coffee parties in those rooms.
  5. 90% of the software startups getting funded will either have hosted offering or will have dual
    licensing (supporting open source from the get go). Other 10% will be serving niche markets.
    Atlast one major Indian SI firm will buck the trend and spin off a product based company, stock market will punish them for taking unnecessary risk and will boot the CEO. But eventually this will start a broader trend of "productized" services companies.
  6. Leading companies will start mining blogs and thus paving the way for eventual replacement of pricey industry analysts. Bloggers wont get a dime from this.  Eventually this dollar will go to the likes of Yahoo and Google.
  7. Microsoft will announce an attractive package to counter Google's adsense offering,  marketing promotion which will make many bloggers jump ship and move to MSN Spaces. Microsoft will subsidize this service to get many more subscribers to their search service and other MSN properties.
  8. There will be more lawsuits involving bloggers
  9. Cisco, Oracle , Intel and other big company's marketing folks will search for an in-house answer to the Scoble phenomena. 

This is like a tired slot machine ritual which can go on and on.  OK I am done here,  I will go and  join my other friends who are probably paying poker in some other casino.

Update:  Will collect all signals and undercurrents which come close to what I predicted.

This one for point 4.  Starbucks definitely need to work on more power outlets.

December 30, 2004 in Random Thoughts | Permalink


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