We have arrived at that season where the list of predictions for 2013 will start to pile up. I find them interesting reading, but I have not felt that I have much to add to the pile, so mostly I just read instead of making a list of my own.
This year however, I will be taking note of a handful of trends that seem to capture my interest. I see tend to read articles about these things and I just might have some thoughts congealing into a theory that brings them together.
For now though, just the trends:
- Education: One of our greatest exports to the rest of the world is educated people from our university system. Why do we get that right and K-12 is seeming to fall farther and farther behind?
- Big Data: Technically big data is just a lot of data. Specifically, it is the ability for systems to capture and save everything. Before big data we used to keep track of the closing price of a stock, then we stored the closing price and the high and low price for the day, big data is storing every single trade, who made the trades, their sequence…
- Internet of Things: There are between one and two billion people connected to the Internet. Devices and sensors are being added to the network by the billions and probably already outnumber the people. Soon the number of connected machines will dwarf people and the Internet will change significantly.
- Vendor Relationship Management: The relationship between the makers of things and their customers has been mostly one way and managed by the manufacturer, with CRM systems. This relationship dynamic has been evolving through 1:1 marketing to an inversion of CRM where the customer is in charge and the vendor is managed. The Berkman Center at Harvard is defining a new industry called Vendor Relationship Management (VRM).
- Digital Divide: The people at the top of the economic ladder will advance ahead of the rest in earning capacity, lifespan, leisure time, and as a result will desire many new services. Those not at the top will have to serve the others or live off of charity or government assistance. The gulf between the haves and the have nots is getting bigger in our country and around the world. Right now the unemployment rate for white college graduates in the US is 4%. Other social classes or ethnicities are much worse -- some over 25%. It is hard to think about things getting even worse.
Of course the current year always feels like the one that is moving faster than ever before and 2013 will certainly feel the speediest ever. In this context, and considering this list, it will be an interesting exercise to do the Gretsky thing and skate to where the puck is going to be. It will be even more interesting to take a shot -- because the other famous Gretsky quote is: "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take."