Predictions for 2020 and the decade ahead


I have always loved prediction posts, but shied away from them myself, probably out of fear and imposter syndrome. Seeing the the posts of years past from others finally got me over the line and I wanted to share my thoughts here. Since it’s a new decade, it also allows me to go deeper into the future and make even farther out predictions for the future.

I am excited for the decade ahead. I am welcoming the 20’s with an enthusiasm I haven’t felt in awhile and more bullish than ever on technology and investing in general. I was asked over the winter holidays “what is left to invent?” and it was an amazing moment to remind me that while there are some that see the past and existing apps as all there can be, others (like myself) see the future and all that can be done. Looking at the world in 2010 I could see the same question being asked.

Just think back to 10 years ago to see what was invented. To this question/prompt I got motivated and now ask the world “what is left to invent?” and hope that I meet the folks who are answering this question, get to invest in some, help others, and generally be a part of building the next 10 years.

I know I will get most wrong, but hopefully I get a few right. Lets dive right in.

1/ Personal security as a service will emerge as a hot topic/app/service people pay for. Similar to LifeLock, a personal digital security system will be both a painkiller and a vitamin – before or after an attack that includes a killer combo of VPN + Antivirus + Antiphishing and more. Closest thing today is what Eeero + offers bundling services

2/ NFTs (non-fungible-tokens) will emerge as a killer use case inside an incredibly fun game at a scale. Nobody will know they are using crypto under the hood, or care. This could include a game that exists already, but could be a game that is brand new. The first cross platform audience wars will start with interoperability being at the center. The best game will get the biggest audience, and all the time/energy/attention of getting “stuff” in a game can be transferred over.

3/ A new consulting/freelancing category will emerge. This doesn’t fit the constraints of LinkedIn and will become a true “job” path for workers. The need for software and services to accommodate this group looks nothing like the bank accounts, benefits, and tax software we use today. We will see new services and the TAM here becomes huge – which today looks too small.

4/ Taboos become more normal. There are many things people are not comfortable talking about. By the end of the year we will have multiple emerging brands/companies tackling topics that are typically not discussed; end of life planning, menopause, fertility, mental health, etc…

5/ Alternate use case for a withered technology. Constraints are a virtue – someone will use “old” technology to make something “new” (see the emergence of Nintendo) – interesting thinking for older tech that introduces constraints that end up being benefits. This one directly pulled from Range and the original Game Boy that has the infamous spinach colored screen and still dominated against full color competition due to these constraints. 

6/ The macro economic environment turns. The 13 year bull run ends, and we go into a decline/recession scenario. For the first time, all roboadvisor strategies are tested and some experience a run on funds under management

7/ Microsoft buys Slack. With the stock price off since IPO and the need to “rollup” enterprise chat + video MSFT takes a swing at solving a huge b2b problem with a startup friendly platform. If this doesn’t happen, I don’t expect video/chat/remote to be solved anytime soon.

8/ Deep Fakes become a huge problem for the 2020 elections. Multiple video and audio clips are proved “fake” days later after they have been seen by millions. This one feels like an easy prediction but I had to include it.

9/ MR (mixed reality) finds a killer use case. Whether its Magic Leap, or another hardware maker, MR finds a use case that blows peoples minds. This may serve as a precursor to starring down at our phones, or a entertainment use case at home. Seeing the world, augmented by tech, becomes a reality.

10/ Community is a moat. Lifted right from first rounds findings and my bias at Company Ventures, I believe that a vertically integrated tech campus is a strong nucleus for founders and corporations seeking an environment of innovation. Remote work increases, but gathering places and headquarters become more important than ever.

I don’t have more than 10 right now and wanted to start with a shorter list. I also think this will be easier to review/summarize next year when I take a look. Of course the other side is also true – more predictions means more of a chance of getting something right. In the interest of also wanting to have a theme of writing more in 2020 I will get this post up and see how I do in 12 months or so.

Happy 2020!

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