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)


Mel said...

You may be right about the future of MySpace, but Rupert Murdoch is 1) A very stubborn man (from what I've read); and 2) A man with very deep pockets. On the other hand, he didn't get to be a billionaire by throwing money away on a lost cause. My bet is that he will not go down easy -- especially when he can plainly see that this whole social networking thing is not just a passing fad.

Co-President Jason Hirschhorn was recently quoted as saying that he wants to take MySpace back to its roots and make it "the place that obsessively catered to creative leaders." We'll see if he can pull a rabbit out of a hat.

Again, your prediction may be right. Maybe Murdoch is just setting up MySpace for someone (Facebook?) to pay his price and take MySpace off his hands. We'll see.

As for the fact that FOX is connected to MySpace, I don't think that's really been a factor in MySpace's current malaise.

I doubt that many of MySpace's audience even know about the corporate sister connection to FOX ... much less care that much. Information consumers are really only interested in whether MySpace (or any other social network for that matter) is giving them what they want. Unless "The Great Leader" Kim Jong iL or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is backing MySpace I don't think most people will care that News Corp owns MySpace. But, I could be wrong.

Mel Cooper

Rich Swier said...


Yep. I was kidding about the Fox comment... its actually owned by a separate corporation. Myspace has been re-invented one too many times, and they will fail this go around as well... and all Google needs to do is throw a big number out, and Murdoch will bite. I am more skeptical of google actually acquiring in this space, than I am about Murdoch selling.