Saturday, December 11, 2010

My (Crazy) Predictions for 2011

I like to think I can predict the future.... I guess if you believe in early meta-physics or in an estranged religion you can argue that you make your future through each subtle action, thus by definition (unconsciously) you are predicting the future.... but for this blog I am going to stick to voodoo and a little ole' fashioned guessin'.

So, here are my (tech) predictions for 2011

1. Google will buy MySpace. This seems like a weird move... but I have a feeling in my gut, that MySpace is a GOOD buy for them... it's losing value rapidly under its current ownership, and at some point they will wake up and figure out nobody wants to be part of a social network that is run by FOX... and I think they could get a nice premium by putting on auction block. Google needs to make a serious commitment in the space, and their "home grown" stuff won't get traction - because they need everyone to "opt-in" to their network - whereas, MySpace already has the opt-in userbase, and a good footprint that is salvageable by someone like Google. It also makes sense to get Google into the Music space as well (where they need to compete with ITunes/Ping).

2.  Open-Source 2.0.  Remember when Open-source was king? The rise of Linux, Firefox, etc.... and then it kind of faded away back into it's sub-culture cave... why? My opinion - it's because it never reached out to the masses. Open Source is a brilliant idea, but it needs to enable the masses to participate. It can't just be for hackers who dive into the code - it needs to include the "user" community (for example - Wordpress). So - my prediction - is that Open Source makes a major comeback this year, but with a new twist. Instead of focusing on Operating Systems and Browsers - it will focus on social aspects of the web. In fact, I will make a "pre"-prediction - The company that will overtake Facebook - will be an Open Source network where users (and developers) can have control and input over the entire social-web experience. (Diaspora is a nice step in that direction, but they need to engage the Users and empower them to participate in the creation of the next social network)

3. Facebook will raise 1B and buy every Social Network in the World. Sounds like a World-Domination plan doesn't it? Well guess what - that's their business plan. Bill Gates wanted a computer on every desk - and Facebook wants every single human being to have a profile. BUT, one problem - it's becoming harder and harder to convert people onto Facebook in other countries. (It's kind of like having a party where all your friends are, and you try to get one person to leave - but they won't leave unless ALL their friends leave). In the early days, it was easy. Now, they need to look to acquisitions. There are about 10 social networks that have dominance in their respective countries. Look for Facebook to start buying them up.

4. Yahoo (or Microsoft or Oracle or SAP or...) will buy LinkedIn. Here comes another bidding war. LinkedIn is one of those interesting social networks that seems to grow and continue to be a useful tool on the web but because it's not "social" in content - it doesn't have the explosive growth and use like a Facebook. However, what it does have is a Professional user base that makes buying decisions for businesses they own or work for. The pressure will be on them to find liquidity soon. They have been talking about going public, but nobody believes the revenue scale is there. Also, it just makes sense to sell for a couple billion and call it a day. Any massive company looking to move quickly into the SAAS world and inherit a nice network of users should buy LinkedIn now.

So there you have it.... now we just sit back and watch it all happen :)

Happy New Year. (Try not to spend so much time on Facebook next year.... there are other websites you know)